Governments in regions around the world, have turned to social protection systems to respond to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Responses to the pandemic, many unprecedented in their scale and speed, have led to significant operating innovations, especially regarding the use of digital technologies for the identification and registration of the recipients of social protection systems. The crisis laid bare the exclusion of many population sectors from social protection systems and the need to invest in universal, comprehensive, sustainable, and resilient systems. It also presents an opportunity to build back better and advance social protection in the future.
In an effort to learn about the pandemic response and promote the exchange about the role of digital mechanisms in social protection, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), organized a virtual workshop series entitled Towards a shared understanding of digital social protection: What are the lessons from the COVID-19 crisis and the implications for the future? The workshop series was implemented jointly with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the World Bank (WB).
The workshops spread across two months and by connecting policy makers, practitioners and experts working in social protection in Asia, Latin America & the Caribbean and Africa, it provided a unique opportunity to feed into continental, regional and global debates and action, while reflecting on country-specific challenges and opportunities in the delivery of social protection during the pandemic and beyond.
The workshop series was devised to:
- Reflect on the many creative and innovative digital solutions that governments deployed over the past two years in their COVID-19 response – focused on improving social protection service delivery, particularly in relation to the areas of outreach, registration and enrolment;
- Discuss how these innovations can be adapted and incorporated into the delivery of routine social protection programming and future shock response; and
- Generate a shared understanding of digital social protection and the need to invest in foundational systems and instruments – sometimes referred to as ‘digital backbones’ – in different country contexts.
Below you will find information and resources about the regional workshops including summaries, the framing and reflection videos, and more information on the speakers and agendas.