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Shock-Responsive Social Protection in the Caribbean - Literature Review (November 2019)

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1. Introduction

Globally, the number, duration, and size of disasters and crises are on the rise. At the same time, the cost of emergency responses has been increasing, thus exerting further pressure on already limited resources. Concurrently, there is growing global recognition of the need to leverage existing resources to respond to shocks – as reflected in Grand Bargain commitments. This has led governments and international actors to explore opportunities for social protection systems and programmes to play a bigger role in responding to shocks, given their objectives of providing support to affected households and building resilience. Given the small size, high exposure, and low resources that characterise most Caribbean countries, assessing the role for social protection in preparing for, responding to, and mitigating the impact of shocks in the region is of crucial importance. Further, given the pivotal role of disaster risk management (DRM) systems in addressing shocks in the region, understanding synergies between DRM and social protection is equally important. Against this backdrop, this literature review seeks to answer the following questions:

• How are DRM systems organised in the region? To what extent are social protection principles already embedded in DRM systems?

• How are social protection systems structured and implemented in the region?

• What design and implementation features of the social protection system have elements of flexibility and adaptability to facilitate rapid and adequate shock response?

• What recent regional experiences and good practices have there been in regard to responding to shocks via social protection?

This literature review has been commissioned by the World Food Programme (WFP), in collaboration with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). The countries under consideration for this literature review are the CDEMA-Participating States:
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize,
Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Republic of Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Virgin Islands. The review forms a part of the wider ‘Study on Shock-Responsive Social Protection in the Caribbean’ and is complemented by six case studies: Dominica, Belize, Jamaica, Guyana, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.

The methodology adopted for the study combines a narrative review of published and grey literature, and primary research via key informant interviews and questionnaires.3 Research on this topic in the region is still emerging, and documented examples are limited to a handful of countries. Consequently, the fact that this literature review covers primarily electronically documented material remains an important limitation. The remainder of this report is structured as follows:

• Section 2 defines key concepts and presents a framework for analysis.

• Section 3 frames the context in terms of exposure to shocks, poverty, and vulnerability.

• Section 4 examines the preparedness of DRM systems in the region.

• Section 5 examines the preparedness of social protection systems in the region.

• Section 6 describes regional experiences in responding to shocks via social protection systems.

• Section 7 presents conclusions.