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Towards shock-responsive social protection: lessons from the COVID-19 response in Pakistan

8 March 2021 — By Tanya Lone, Maheen Shakeel, Jana Bischler

The stringent lockdown measures and global economic slowdown, due to COVID-19, are likely to increase the poverty rate in Pakistan by 35 percentage points in urban areas and 32 percentage points in rural areas. The report documents the Government of Pakistan’s social protection response to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations. It also analyses the factors that enabled and constrained the effectiveness of the response, at the policy and operational levels. The report finds that the response achieved impressive coverage in a timely and effective manner, enabled by government ownership and coordination. At the same time, the response’s impact on poverty is estimated to be marginal due to an inadequate benefit value driven by financing constraints. Finally, the report also provides an assessment of the response in terms of comprehensiveness and gender and social inclusion considerations.