Next Practices — Innovations in the COVID-19 social protection responses and beyond

October 2021



The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated large-scale, rapid responses from
governments to ensure that the negative effects of the crisis on people’s
livelihoods are mitigated. Countries with more well-established social protection
(SP) systems in place prior to the crisis (e.g. through the use of social registries)
were able to respond faster, but almost all countries required innovative practices
to quickly deliver SP to those usually excluded from benefits, such as informal sector
workers, refugees and migrants.

This paper aims to systematise the SP innovations implemented in response
to the COVID-19 crisis, which can be leveraged to build more inclusive and
sustainable SP systems in the medium and long term. It highlights the factors that
enable ‘inclusive innovation,’ focusing on the levers of success, and the lessons
learned from the process for the future—i.e., the ‘next practices.’ The paper also
calls attention to innovative lessons from countries in the Global South on how
to include traditionally excluded groups in SP responses, especially in times of
crisis. It also shows how innovations can inform the sustainable expansion of SP
systems to help countries achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target
1.3: “Implement nationally appropriate SP systems and measures for all, including
floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable.”

Innovations in the context of the COVID-19 crisis specifically should be
understood as changes and practices that rapidly and effectively enhance the
inclusion of those in need into SP systems. Throughout this report, ‘innovation’ is
understood as a multidimensional concept, including technologically-focused
innovations, governance innovations and process innovations. The last two
include institutional changes to decision-making processes and hierarchical
structures that enhance citizen engagement, and changes to the planning
and implementation of a service/programme, including its structure and/or
administrative processes, to ensure the most vulnerable populations can be
reached. Thus, this report looks at inclusive innovative measures in beneficiary
identification and registration, payment mechanisms, communication, case
management and grievance redressal mechanisms (GRMs).

Please find the Executive Summary here and the full publication here. Stay tuned for more information on the launch webinar in early November 2021.

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