SPACE Social protection responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Pacific: A tipping point for the sector?

This paper studies the social protection responses to the COVID-19 crisis in the Pacific. It focuses primarily on social assistance and cash responses by governments, although it also includes some analysis of social insurance and active labour market programs and major responses by non-government actors. Where relevant and appropriate, the paper discusses how the response to COVID-19 in the Pacific region aligns or differs from the broader global response trends and the experiences of other regions. The paper is structured into 7 sections, including this introduction. Section 2 presents the conceptual framework used for the assessments of social protection responses and the methodology. Section 3 briefly describes the effects of the pandemic in the region. Section 4 provides an overview of how countries in the Pacific used social protection to respond to COVID-19. Section 5 presents key operational insights of the social assistance responses. Section 6 assesses the main social assistance responses in terms of their coverage, timeliness, and adequacy. Finally, Section 7 presents the conclusion and some policy implications for the future of social protection in the region.