New issue of the Policy in Focus magazine reflects on the future challenges of social protection in the face of COVID-19

Women in Ethiop


The second of a two-part special edition of the Policy in Focus magazine, presenting the key discussions of the global e-conference “Turning the Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity: What’s next for social protection?”, has just been released. 

What’s next for social protection in light of COVID-19: challenges ahead” provides a thematic view of the conference, delving into the main topics discussed during the round tables, such as financing, universal basic income, linkages to food security and employment, as well as programmes that are sensitive to minorities, among others. All articles were written by panellists and/or organisers of the conference. 


The issue is divided into three sections: life-cycle groups, specific types of social protection responses, and cross-cutting issues of design and implementation. The first section approaches the life-cycle subject from five different perspectives: universal child benefits; gender-responsive social protection; disability-sensitive programmes; elderly vulnerability; and unemployment protection. It discusses the need for social protection systems to safeguard against risks across the whole life cycle—including working-age benefits such as insurance against unemployment, ill health and old age.


The four articles in the second section discuss specific types of social protection responses, such as food security and nutrition; health protection and sickness benefits; migrant-responsive social protection; and the transition from emergency transfers to universal basic income. 


Deepening this discussion, the articles in the issue’s third and last section analyse the future of social protection, covering programme design and implementation challenges. There has been an unprecedented focus on the potential of social protection to respond to the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and to build resilience during and after shocks. The pandemic has shown the importance of strengthening national systems, as they play a key role in people’s resilience until economies and health systems are fully restored.


The e-conference “Turning the Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity: What’s next for social protection?” was held in October 2020 by the platform and partners. To further disseminate the discussions held at the event, the IPC-IG and the have developed two special issues of the Policy in Focus magazine. 


The first issue, “What’s next for social protection in light of COVID-19: country responses”, was released in March 2021. It focused on experiences from countries in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the overall lessons for the future, including shock-responsive and universal social protection.  


Photo: UNICEF Ethiopia