Adapting social protection systems to contexts of forced displacement


In recent years, regions around the world have been facing challenges in dealing with protracted crisis and subsequent forced displacement: 76 per cent of forcibly displaced people find themselves in protracted crisis situations with repeated cycles of flight and displacement. Most of them (85 per cent) are hosted by developing countries where they experience obstacles in accessing much needed social protection. 

In line with global commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals (‘leave no one behind’) and the Global Compact on Refugees, closer attention has been paid to the inclusion of forcibly displaced people into national social protection systems. Designing those systems in an adaptable way, enables them to react flexibly to the influx of people after conflicts, climate shocks or economic crisis in neighbouring countries, and foster the alignment with the humanitarian system. However, challenges are manifold: e.g. many forcibly displaced people lack an ID and can therefore not be included in social registries as a prerequisite to be eligible for national social protection programmes. Also, inter-ministerial cooperation is a challenge as the responsibility for the multidimensional needs of forcibly displaced people extends over several fragmented branches. 

During the heat of the pandemic, forcibly displaced people have been supported by innumerable cash or voucher interventions implemented by international humanitarian and development actors, but only a minority have explicitly been integrated into government social protection responses. Looking into a future of protracted crises, this approach bears the risk of compromising the overall long-term vision of “adaptive social protection” that refers to the ability of systems to be flexible in order to foster the resilience of all people, which includes forcibly displaced people in situation of vulnerability as well as their host communities. Also, it misses the opportunity to further bridge the humanitarian-development divide. 

The event was devised to:  

  • Provide a background of the situation of refugees, asylum seekers, and other forcibly displaced people and their integration into national social protection systems 
  • Discuss how national social protection systems can be designed in a more adaptive and flexible way so these population groups can be integrated  
  • Explore ways in which humanitarian aid can be linked with long-term social protection systems in the context of forcibly displace persons. 


This was the 7th session of the ASPects Practice Exchange on Adaptive Social Protection Webinar Series and within this framework is particularly related to the ASP Building Block “Programs” of the WB’s Adaptive Social Protection framework



Karin Seyfert, Country Director of OPM Europe, OPM

Andrew Mitchell, Senior Social Protection Officer, UNHCR 

Tania Niño, Social Protection officer, WFP Colombia  


Moderator: Maren Suchta-Platzmann, social protection advisor, GIZ




This was the seventh webinar in the "ASPects – Practice Exchange on ASP" series. These webinars are dedicated to bringing together practitioners, leading experts, and policy makers to share and exchange perspectives on Adaptive Social Protection (ASP). Each webinar within the series will focus on specific practically relevant aspects of one related ASP Building Block (Institutional arrangements and partnerships - Programs - Data and information - Finance). The series, organised by the GIZ Global Program Social Protection Innovation and Learning (SPIL) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in cooperation with and other partners, aims at informing the global public policy dialogue on building back better systems and better preparedness for future shocks.