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World Bank backs safety nets to build climate resilience

SOCIAL protection measures like cash support programs are needed to build climate resilience, especially in at-risk countries like the Philippines, the World Bank said in a blog post.

“Adapting cash support programs after a disaster requires careful targeting and understanding of disaster-affected population needs. Making social protection programs more flexible while incorporating reliable mechanisms for identifying and targeting vulnerable populations contributes to an inclusive recovery,” it said.

“Natural hazards, health and climate-related shocks, are increasingly and disproportionately affecting the poor and the most vulnerable populations. Interventions are required to strengthen resilience and protect these populations against disaster impacts,” it added.

The World Bank cited the Philippines, one of the countries most affected by natural and climate-related disasters.

“The experiences of ad hoc emergency cash support programs in the Philippines have shown that the needs of disaster-affected families include food and nonfood items, including urgent requirements for medicines and healthcare not delivered as part of government-provided relief,” it added.

The bank noted the “unusual number of natural hazards (earthquakes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions)” in late 2019 and early 2020.

The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery provided grants for training and technical assistance to aid the Department of Social Welfare and Development in designing an emergency cash transfer program to deliver the World Bank’s $500-million policy loan to the Philippines.

“The design of the emergency cash transfer program built on these experiences to empower disaster-affected populations to determine how to address their needs using local resources,” it said.

The World Bank said that the program “built household resilience and recovery to quickly resume day-to-day activities after disasters.”

“By reforming the cash support available in case of an emergency, the project ensured that cash assistance reached disaster-affected households immediately after disasters to facilitate their recovery,” it added.

The World Bank said that social protection systems can make vulnerable households more resilient; however, they must be enhanced and adapted to respond to disaster shocks.

“Incorporating risk data into social protection information systems is critical to design programs, inform contingency planning, and scale-up interventions to adapt systems to respond to disasters more efficiently,” the bank added.

It also cited the need to adjust existing social protection programs to support disaster-affected populations and promote financial protection and inclusion for resilience to disaster risks. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

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