Social protection and other forms of social security and welfare support have seen a large and rapid expansion across the globe to help people cope with the socio-economic consequences of Covid-19. This unprecedented rollout of schemes and interventions has shed light on gaps in existing social protection systems, such as lack of coverage of informal workers and those in urban areas. It also raises questions about the sustainability of these interventions and the finances needed to continue provision of support into the future. One thing is certain: the narrative around social protection is changing.
This episode considers the role of social protection in helping people around the world weather the storm of Covid-19. We hear from Ugo Gentilini, senior economist with the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank, and from Francesca Bastagli, director of the Equity and Social Policy programme at the Overseas Development Institute. They share their views on the expansion of social protection in response to the pandemic and what can be learned for the future.
If you would like to find out more, a wealth of information is now available about social protection in response to Covid-19 with more studies and reports being published every day. The ‘living paper’ by Ugo Gentilini and colleagues tracks initiatives from across the globe, and informs the figures that are discussed at the beginning of the episode. The knowledge-sharing platform socialprotection.org contains many resources, including short briefs as part of the Social Protection Approaches to COVID-19 – Expert Advice Helpline, SPACE and webinars, discussions and sessions from an online conference by the Social protection responses to COVID19 task force. In the episode, we also refer to research undertaken by the Centre for Social Protection (CSP) at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) on scenario planning for social protection in the wake of Covid-19.