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SPACE Preparing for Future Shocks: Priority Actions for Social Protection Practitioners in the Wake of COVID-19

30 September 2020 — By Valentina Barca, with Edward Archibald, Rodolfo Beazley, Simon Little, and input from experts on the Social Protection Approaches to COVID-19: Expert Advice Helpline (SPACE)

The purpose of this brief is to help social protection actors think through potential options/strategies to strengthen the preparedness of social protection systems to respond to future shocks. The responses to COVID-19 have highlighted the stark limitations of many social protection systems, particularly with regard to the three core tenets of universal social protection: ‘coverage’, ‘adequacy’, and ‘comprehensiveness’, as well as the fourth dimension of ‘timeliness’. For example, expanding coverage to those in need has been both complex and slow in many countries (partly due to low coverage before the crisis and weak administrative systems), while the adequacy of benefits has often been limited due to trade-offs against coverage and a lack of sufficient (and swift) funding.