AfDB: covering the impact of climate change in social protection

SOCIAL safeguards must be extended to all Asian countries to include the impact of climate change, according to an expert from the Asian Development Bank (AfDB).

In a blog on Asian development, social sector specialist in the AfDB’s Southeast Asia department, Amir Jilani, said this was crucial for the region since six of the world’s 10 countries most affected by climate change are found in Asia.

On average, more than 40,000 people in the region are killed each year by storms, floods and other natural disasters. Women and girls are also 14 times more likely to die in climate-related disasters than men.

“Social protection measures are a necessary tool to build resilience and protect the most vulnerable following climate, health and socio-economic shocks,” said Jilani.

“They can also play an important role in mitigating climate change, including through vocational training and public works that promote the sustainable use of natural resources,” he added.

The use of “climate-smart” social protection systems will improve the resilience of countries. These social protection measures include indexed insurance schemes based on hocks and weather conditions.

In addition, environmentally friendly public works programs that provide payments to communities for ecosystem services would also be helpful.

These services include reforestation which could also be a good tool for environmental conservation, climate mitigation and poverty reduction.

“In the Philippines, an AfDB-supported pilot of the graduation approach has strengthened household resilience to the pandemic across a range of dimensions, including financial security, food security and mental health,” according to Jilani.

Strengthening social protection, Jilani said, must include efforts to protect those hardest hit by shocks, including climate change. This means covering children, women, the elderly, people with disabilities and people in the informal sector.

Jilani acknowledged, however, that this extension of the coverage of social protection programs involves trade-offs and tax considerations. But, he said, there was “enough evidence” that it will lead to multiplier effects that can benefit the economy.

One such impact would be to enable the poor to recover quickly from shocks and prevent them from turning to “adverse coping behaviors”.

“Social protection programs have recently demonstrated their critical importance during one of the most unprecedented crises in history. It is time to expand their use to address the impact of climate change on the most vulnerable in society,” said Jilani.

Other efforts to strengthen social protection include the use of digital ID systems and social registries to provide social protection as well as efforts to undertake poverty, risk and vulnerability assessments needed to target poverty. ‘assistance.

Jilani also highlighted the need to strengthen policy coherence, coordination and collaboration between actors in social protection, climate change, disaster risk management and humanitarian response.

Joel C. Hicks