Climate change is causing frequent and severe shocks to people and ecosystems worldwide. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2023 Climate Change Report warns that climate impacts on people and ecosystems are already more widespread and severe than expected, and future risks are expected to quickly escalate as warming continues. Governments are considering whether social protection programmes could offer a valuable means for anticipatory action against climate shocks. Social protection programmes can help to alleviate poverty, reduce inequality, and provide a vital safety net to people hit by crises. Evidence shows that social protection can improve health and education, increase access to basic services and reduce vulnerability. Social protection programmes can be a pathway to building climate resilience. Building resilience before a crisis hits is more cost-effective than post-disaster responses, but there are barriers and challenges to aligning anticipatory action and social protection systems.

The ASPIRE tool, developed by the IIED’s Climate Change Group, is a diagnostic tool for assessing social protection programmes and identifying gaps and opportunities for improving risk-responsive planning and delivery. The tool provides a framework for assessing a country’s social protection policy and systems and their implementation. Whilst the tool was developed to support Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), it is transferable to any development context.

The IIED Working paper Delivering Anticipatory Social Protection: Country Readiness Assessment has been tested in eight countries: Malawi, Ghana, Senegal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Uganda, Ethiopia, and India. In each country, three social protection programs were assessed, representing various delivery mechanisms like public works, food and in-kind assistance, and cash transfers. The study provides valuable insights into tailoring social protection programs to meet diverse climate risks and vulnerabilities. The intent is to enhance a country’s readiness, fill policy and system gaps, and facilitate the successful incorporation of insurance-linked anticipatory payout mechanisms to strengthen them against climate risks. The research provides actionable recommendations for enhancing these systems to respond and also adapt to climate-related risks proactively, and to foster resilience among vulnerable populations.


Share this story