Increasing people’s resilience through social protection

Research reports and studies
May 2016
Martina Ulrichs

This paper draws from existing evidence to highlight how social protection programmes and systems can contribute to building the anticipatory, adaptive and absorptive capacity of vulnerable people who are exposed to climate shocks and disasters.

Key messages: 

  • The increasing prevalence of climate-related extreme events is becoming an additional factor that exacerbates vulnerability and undermines efforts to reduce poverty. Social protection is a key policy tool to help people manage a range of risks to their livelihoods and wellbeing, including climate shocks.
  • Social protection can build anticipatory capacity by linking social safety nets with mechanisms to prepare and plan for climate extremes and disasters. It provides beneficiaries with the capacity to absorb shocks and meet their basic needs in times of hardship. If future risks are accounted for and adequate support is provided, social protection can play a role in building adaptive capacity in the long-term through sustainable livelihood promotion.
  • To ensure programmes can effectively reduce vulnerability to climate risks several factors need to be considers to make it ‘adaptive’ or ‘shock-responsive’. These relate to designing flexible and scalable programmes, ensuring the support provided reduces current as well as future vulnerability, and putting in place targeting, financing and coordination mechanisms that facilitate cross-sector responses to different types of risks.

This paper is now available in French.