Enhancing shock responsive and nutrition sensitive approaches to social protection in Asia Pacific – Findings from WFP’s regional scoping exercise


Many countries in Asia continue to struggle with high levels of food insecurity, poor nutrition, and multidimensional poverty and inequality, aggravated by various shocks, such as climate and weather induced disasters, conflict, economic and health crises. The COVID-19 pandemic and related measures attempting to reduce infection have exacerbated existing food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty trends, and driven economic downturns and the sharp drops in labour demand and income.

Social protection systems have witnessed a substantial expansion in most countries in the Asia-Pacific region (accelerated due to COVID-19), representing an important contribution to the region’s social development and economic growth, as well as contributing directly and indirectly to addressing food security and nutrition. WFP has been increasing its focus on capacity strengthening of governments and working as an enabler of national hunger and nutrition solutions through social protection. WFP’s new Strategy for Support to Social Protection (2021) outlines the ways in which WFP and partners aim to contribute to this objective.

As part of this initiative, WFP’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific (RBB) commissioned the University of Wolverhampton to conduct a regional synthesis report and country scoping studies looking at how social protection can enhance food security and nutrition and help manage risks and shocks in four countries – Cambodia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Samoa. The objective was to gain a better understanding of existing national social protection policies, programmes and related instruments with a focus on food security, nutrition and shocks.

This webinar provided an overview of the principal findings from the scoping studies before their release, delving into more detail through country speakers looking at how national social protection systems can become more shock responsive and nutrition sensitive. The webinar featured a summary presentation of the work by Rachel Slater (University of Wolverhampton) and then a discussion with two country representatives on how to support government-led social protection systems as well as engage with social protection actors, followed by a facilitated floor discussion.

Rachel Slater, Professor of International Development, University of Wolverhampton, Centre of International Development and Training

Sreng Sophornreaksmey, Director of Social Assistance Department, General Secretariat for National Social Protection Council

Yasir Ihtesham, Senior Nutritionist, WFP Pakistan Country Office


Moderator: Daniel Longhurst, Social Protection and Cash Based Transfers Adviser, WFP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific