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PRESS RELEASE February 18, 2018

High-Level Forum Highlights Role of Adaptive Social Protection in Coping with Crisis and Building Resilience

FRANKFURT, GERMANY, February 19, 2018—Close to 250 government ministers and policymakers from 70 countries will gather in Frankfurt this week to discuss the role social safety nets can play in responding to shocks, while protecting human capital by building household resilience.

Titled “Building Household Resilience to Shocks through Adaptive Social Protection,” the forum provides a valuable platform for policymakers and practitioners to exchange ideas and experiences with adaptive social protection to better understand how to design and implement scalable social protection systems to prevent long-term harm to human capital investments from natural and man-made crisis. With natural disasters, economic shocks, pandemics and conflicts on the rise, it is increasingly difficult for governments to build household resilience and respond to these crises effectively.

Over the past 30 years, the world has lost more than 2.5 million people and almost $4 trillion to natural disasters. In 2017 alone, adverse natural events resulted in global losses of about $330 billion, making last year the costliest ever in terms of global weather-related disasters.

Evidence shows that governments that respond to crisis through social protection systems often deliver help to those in need more quickly than humanitarian assistance. By investing in adaptive social protection, governments develop a set of tools that can be used to address a variety of needs from emergency situations to basic service delivery. Hence, the programs can build household resilience before a shock occurs, and to respond quickly in times of crises, ultimately investing in human capital and a path out of poverty.

“Governments are increasingly adapting their institutions, programs, financing, and information systems to help them scale up and out in response to shocks, while still being able to provide regular and timely support in non-crises times” said Michal Rutkowski, Senior Director of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank. “Ultimately, such initiatives seek to enable households to better manage risks and build their resilience for the future.

This year’s event is co-hosted by the Government of Senegal, the Government of Germany, and the World Bank. Senegal, which is affected by droughts on a regular basis, is working with its development partners, including the World Bank, to build on its impressive national safety net system, and on the National Unique Registry, to respond to climate related shocks more efficiently and provide support to those affected in a timely manner.

In response to the 2017 food insecurity in some areas of the country, the Government of Senegal tested the use of the national social system’s tools safety nets, namely, the Single National Registry and the Cash Transfer Program. This innovative approach has generated tangible results in terms of speed and efficiency. Thus, this should be exploited to improve the response to shocks that affect the vulnerable populations”, said Dr. Anta Diacko, Délégué Général Délégation Générale à la Protection Sociale et à la Solidarité Nationale, Government of Senegal.

During the forum, participants will learn about issues central to adaptive social protection from plenary presentations, interactive sessions, as well as engage and build networks for continued collaboration beyond the forum. There will also be a half-day field visit to several job centers and a refugee welcome center to learn from Germany’s integrated social protection system, and how it facilitates access to a variety of services, including employment support.

Worldwide, more and more crises – be they famines or hurricanes – are occurring. Adaptable social protection systems can help provide swift and cost-effective assistance. That is why we are promoting exchanges of experience and efforts to scale up social protection systems globally,” said Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

The South-South Learning Forum is a bi-annual flagship event of the World Bank’s Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice. Its purpose is to facilitate government-to-government knowledge sharing and exchange, and focuses on a cutting-edge topic each time.    

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In Washington D.C./ Frankfurt
Lillian Foo