Save the Children study shows need for shock-responsive social protection

“Social protection systems do not offer any flexibility to scale up and scale out the interventions in response to disasters amidst rising impacts of climate change or economic shocks.”

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Social protection systems in Nepal are not shock responsive and are not enough to protect the poorest and most vulnerable during climate crises, according to a study.

A study conducted by Save the Children and other development partners states that the current social protection policies and programs are designed to address the poverty of the most vulnerable and marginalized households throughout their lifecycle and do not address shocks a family may face and are unprepared for.

“They do not offer any flexibility to scale up and scale out the interventions in response to disasters amidst rising impacts of climate change or economic shocks brought on by Covid-19, to name a few,” Save the Children said in a press release.

Thus, any response to shocks runs the risk of being ad-hoc, inadequate, and without a connection to the existing social protection programs, according to the report. The report hence highlights the importance of Shock Responsive Social Protection (SRSP) to strengthen people’s resilience during disasters.

The report also highlights some gaps in the existing Social Protection System. The social protection programs are at risk of disruption in the event of certain shocks and lack adequate coordination and integration with Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM).

A gap also exists in linking social protection programs with due recognition of their contribution to reducing poverty and building resilience, states the report.

Owing to an absence of a standard shock responsive social protection policy framework, the gaps abound in sectoral policies harmonization, program duplication, exclusion errors and inadequacy of support both in development and humanitarian settings, Save the Children added.

To make the social protection system shock responsive, there should be an Integrated and Inclusive National Social Protection Framework with a single registry, the report suggested. Similarly, high coverage social protection programs, such as Social Security Allowance, Prime Minister Employment Program, and Child Grant Schemes, among others, should be designed to be scalable with the provision of disaster financing mechanisms in place, it added.

Save the Children said that as the dataset in the Single Registry will provide a gateway for the inclusion of the intended population at greatest risk of disasters and into appropriate social protection programs as needed, a single integrated Social Registry accessible to all three tiers of government with robust database infrastructure, incorporating both poverty and vulnerability indicators, should be established.

The government has recently provisioned Grievance Handling Mechanism at Ward and Municipality levels for social protection which should be further strengthened for SRSP purposes, it added.

Capacity strengthening of local governments to improve social registry and robust monitoring and reporting practice are some of the key factors for a Shock Responsive Social Protection System in Nepal, the report mentioned.