Webinar presentation: COVID-19 and Social Protection in rural areas: Lessons to build back better

Slide presentation from the webinar held on November 11, 2021.

In LAC, the COVID-19 pandemic represented a health, economic and social crisis that exposed and aggravated inequalities and tested the resilience and responsiveness of food and social protection systems. As a social sector traditionally marginalized, rural populations are among the most exposed groups to some of the risks imposed by the pandemic. They face aggravated vulnerabilities caused by the lack of access to public services and social protection, especially contributory schemes; high level of informal, casual and seasonal employment mostly in the agricultural sector; and constraints to diversify livelihoods; among others.

Responding to the socio-economic backlashes caused by the pandemic, governments around the world adopted social protection responses, including social assistance, social insurance, and labor market policies. Some of the measures implemented/adapted during the pandemic were successful in protecting food security and production, protecting and promoting employment in the agricultural sector, and incentivizing digitalization in rural areas. They provide interesting lessons for other countries in LAC on how to build back better their social protection systems and the rural territories, enabling socio-economic inclusion and strengthening rural households’ resilience in the face of future emergencies or disasters.

This webinar provided an overview of the best practices of the social protection responses to COVID-19 in the rural areas of the LAC region and aims at disseminating the lessons learned from their experiences, as well as engaging other stakeholders to discuss rural social protection in the region. Its main objectives were to provide reflections on the following questions:

  1. How did the social protection response to the COVID-19 crisis in the LAC region manage to deal with the vulnerabilities that are specific to the rural areas, protecting the rural population during the crisis?
  2. What were the lessons learned about the role of the social protection policies in promoting: food security and production protection; employment in the agri-food sector; and digitalization in rural areas?
  3. How can social protection help to build back better the rural territories after the COVID-19 crisis?