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What has the COVID-19 crisis taught us about social protection?

April 2020 / Stephanie Guha, Policy Adviser Poverty/LNOBQuality Assurance and Poverty Reduction Section, ​SDC​

In its latest Pathways' Perspectives on social policy in international development two experts on social protection reflect on some of the key lessons they have learned about social protection in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

The paper argues strongly for a universal coverage approach against the mainstream social protection concept of only reaching out and targeting the poor and the marginalized. The global pandemic is teaching us that we are all vulnerable and at risk of being affected by the virus and its socio-economic consequences.

The authors recommend that countries should establish universal, lifecycle social security systems. In order to reach everyone and ensuring that the poorest and most vulnerable members of the society are also adequately protected, a universal approach is the better strategy: a universal crisis requires a universal approach to social security.

The uncertain time we are living therefore offers an opportunity to rethink social protection systems.

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