United Nations development assistance framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19: Contextualization in Senegal

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The COVID-19 pandemic has led to several crises of a health, economic and social nature. To face this crisis, the Government of Senegal has taken various measures to limit the disastrous consequences on the economy and the different social sectors.
Thus, a first series of measures fall under a state of health emergency. These were related to the establishment of a curfew at night, the prohibition of inter-city travel, closure of mosques, etc. At the same time, to mitigate the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Government developed and began implementing an Economic and Social Resilience Plan (PRES) with a fund called FORCE-COVID-19 amounting to FCFA 1,000 billion, or 7% of GDP. This amount was used to support the health sector, the diaspora and vulnerable households, to pay water and electricity bills, to partially remission of the tax debt, etc. Nearly 80% of the resources were specifically allocated to businesses in order to preserve jobs and maintain the productive capacities of the Senegalese economy. In addition to the PRES, other sectoral measures have been taken in particular in the areas of health and education as a national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, the State of Senegal revised the second priority action plan of the Senegal Emergent Plan (PAP 2/PSE) to integrate the entire government’s recovery plan. This adjusted and accelerated PAP 2 (PAP 2A), to win the bet to revive the economy, backs its vision on the priority of “endogenous development oriented towards a favorable and more competitive productive sector with the involvement of a strong national private sector as well as on the principles of ethics, local preference and solidarity. The PAP 2A is committed to promoting an economy based on “reducing dependence on the outside through sustainable and inclusive industrialization”; “accelerating food, health and pharmaceutical sovereignty”; “strengthening of social protection for better resilience” as well as “greater capacity for private sector intervention in the economy”. The following sectors are therefore the subject of particular attention: intensive, abundant and resilient agriculture, an inclusive health system, an efficient education system, a strong national private sector and the strengthening of social protection, industrial transformation and the digital economy.
In addition, in May 2020, the United Nations COVID-19 Readiness Plan and Response in Senegal was launched on the basis of the UNDAF, the cooperation framework between the United Nations and Senegal. The document detailed the actions of the different UN entities to complement national efforts undertaken in the fight against the virus and its spread. It also outlined immediate interventions to address the economic and social consequences of the pandemic in Senegal, aligned with the Economic and Social Resilience Program launched by the Government of Senegal in April. Following a review conducted in July 2020, it was assessed that approximately US$234 million would have been required for the urgent implementation of activities to support the Government’s efforts until the end of 2020. An amount of approximately US$73 million was foreseen in the form of a loan.
Thanks to the reallocation of already existing resources, about US$ 161 million was made available by the various UN agencies in Senegal.
Donor contributions helped to make up the remaining balance. With the launch of this new socio-economic framework, the COVID-19 Readiness and Response Plan is coming to an end. All the activities that were not completed have been transferred to the socio-economic framework while remaining included in the COVID-19 Readiness Plan and Response Plan presented to the Government as well as in the UNDAF.The United Nations system, with a view to preparing for a post-Covid era, offers a framework to support countries to emerge from this crisis and create economies and societies that are more resilient to shocks of such magnitude. This framework is based on the paradigm of “Building Back Better” and more specifically it is about using the of recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction phases after a disaster to increase the resilience of nations and communities by integrating disaster risk reduction measures into the restoration of physical infrastructure and societal systems, and into the revitalization of livelihoods, economies and the environment.
Thus, in the case of Senegal, this framework of the United Nations system is structured around the five pillars. • Guarantee essential health services and protect health systems;

• Help people cope with adversity through social protection and basic services;

• Protect jobs, support small and medium enterprises and workers in the informal sector through sustainable economic recovery programs;

• Strengthen and focus fiscal and financial stimulus measures so that macroeconomic policies benefit the most vulnerable, a green recovery and the strengthening of multilateral and regional responses;

• Promote social cohesion and invest in community resilience and response systems;
Each pillar requires a certain number of actions that should focus on the main axes of structural policies to be implemented to ensure the achievement of the SDGs via a resilient economy and an equitable society.
The first pillar is to guarantee essential health services and protect health systems.
To this end, it is recommended to formulate structural policies for the health system that will guarantee the capacity to absorb shocks while continuing to provide ambulatory and specific care. More specifically, the following measures should be operationalized: • Implementing health security based on health system reform;

• Ensuring sovereignty in the production and supply of medicines.
The 3 products of pillar 1 are: PSI.1. Rapid analytical and policy support and technical advice is provided; PSI2: Secure delivery of efficient essential services is supported; and PSI3. Monitoring for the continuity of services and reaching vulnerable populations is supported.
The second pillar focuses a set of measures aimed at helping people cope with adversity, through social protection and basic services.
From a “Building Back Better” perspective, it is therefore crucial to implement policies in order to have a protection system that will make it possible to: • Breaking the vicious circle of poverty by expanding cash transfer mechanisms to the poorest and allowing them to have access to basic social services such as decent housing, a healthy living environment, health care, infrastructure (roads), water, sanitation, etc.

• Institutionalizing the Single National Register to make it the reference database with the most vulnerable households • Promoting quality nutrition and food for children, in particular through a food and nutritional distribution system for pregnant women and children.

• Supporting the continuity of quality water and sanitation services • Inclusion of workers in the informal economy, by extending the simplified regime for the small taxpayer to all ranges of the social protection system.

• Preventing and protecting against the increased risks of violence and abuse against women and children.

The six pillar products are: PS2.1: Social protection systems are strengthened to make them more resilient and pro-poor; PS2.2:
Maintenance of essential food and nutritional services is supported; PS2.3: Continuity of quality water and sanitation services delivery is supported; PS2.4: Learning for all children and adolescents, preferably in schools, is supported; PS2.5: Specialized protection for particularly vulnerable groups is strengthened and PS2.6: Mechanisms for preventing and responding to violence against women and children, especially gender-based violence, are strengthened The third pillar will focus on protecting jobs, supporting small and medium enterprises and workers in the informal sector through sustainable economic recovery programs. To this end, it is necessary to implement: • Job creation policies that should be centered around sectors capable of propelling structural transformation;

• SME development policies in sectors that are engines of growth; in order to be more resilient, to meet internal demand, on the one hand, and to give priority to local raw materials in their industrial transformation processes, on the other hand;

• Policies for the reintegration of young people and women into the labor market to reduce their vulnerability and ensure the resilience of the economy;

• Mechanisms to promote the green and circular economy through the development of sectors driving growth, SMEs and decent jobs;
The three products of the pillar are: PS3.1: the most affected productive sectors, employment and workers, especially women and youth are protected; PS3.2: productive sectors are strengthened to promoting sustainable decent jobs and PS3.3: the transition to a healthier and more efficient green and circular economy is supported The fourth pillar will focus on strengthening and guiding fiscal and financial stimulus measures so that macroeconomic policies benefit the most vulnerable, green recovery and strengthening multilateral and regional responses. The major actions to be implemented will relate specifically to: • The orientation of the macroeconomic policies objectives towards those that guarantee the inclusion of vulnerable populations and consideration of the environment;

• The use of budgetary instruments in favor of young people, women and workers in the informal economy.
Roughly speaking, the aim is to make public investment a key driver for the inclusion of vulnerable groups in macroeconomic policies.

• Taking the environment into account in budgetary measures by integrating the constraint of preserving the environment, biodiversity, etc. into the classic objectives of macroeconomic policies.

• The promotion of an economy with short circuits, i.e. one that is oriented, as a priority, towards domestic and regional markets.
The three products of the pillar are: PS4.1:
Assessments of the impact of COVID-19 at the macroeconomic and sectoral levels are conducted to help design an immediate economic and financial response to the crisis, as well as more sustainable recovery policies;

PS4.2: The improvement of the evidence base for policymaking, including in emergency response is supported and PS4.3: Guidance for increased mobilization and monitoring of sustainable development financing and for the efficiency of spending is provided.
The fifth and final pillar aims to promote social cohesion and invest in community resilience and response systems. In this perspective, it is necessary to carry out the following actions: • Invest in sustainable resilience systems, involving the participation of all stakeholders, and especially the community, and thus promote an inclusive social dialogue;

• Set up mechanisms that ensure the continuity of public services, even in crisis situations, with an emphasis on the use of digital technology;

• Consolidate the important processes of social dialogue and democratic engagement currently underway;

• Strengthen governance, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law in order to ensure the proper functioning of democracy even in times of crisis and the reduction of inequalities and violence;

• Build on urban communities to strengthen social cohesion, through mobilizing the participation of women, youth, vulnerable and marginalized populations, particularly in poor and densely populated informal urban areas and slums.
The three products of the pillar are: PS5.1:
Inclusive social dialogue, advocacy and political commitment are encouraged; PS5.2:
Resilience through equitable service delivery and community participation are strengthened and PS5.3: Governance, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law are strengthened.
Thus, the various actions that fall within the framework of “Building Back Better” respond to an immediate emergency which is to fight against the spread of COVID-19 and to limit its consequences on human lives and the economy, in general. However, the long term idea is to build a resilient system which is a central objective for structural measures. The implementation of these actions is broken down into products and each of them requires the support of the agencies of the United Nations system and the various ministerial institutions of the Government.
To operationalize the products of the various actions of each pillar, the resource mobilization and partnership strategy will focus on supporting the UNS country team and the Government in the financing and adequate implementation of the socio-economic response to COVID-19. In this sense, the option will be made for a combination of traditional, non-traditional and/or mixed partnerships and funding sources. The use of various and varied mechanisms within the UNS will also make it possible to strengthen the sustainability of the financing of the various projects.
With regard to monitoring and evaluation, the Country Team will continue to report against the results indicators of the Cooperation Framework Plan for Sustainable Development which integrates and maintains the alignment of the results framework with the targets of the various SDGs. In addition, the Country Team will continue to work with the Government to continue its alignment with the monitoring framework of the 2nd Priority Action Plan of the Senegal Emergent Plan (PAP2) and contribute to the preparation of the national report on the 2030 Agenda. The monitoring framework of the Socioeconomic Framework will be integrated into the UNINFO platform, which is an online tool that allows planning, monitoring and communication of the results of the United Nations System intervention.
With regard to communication, coordination in relation to the United Nations technical communication group, will ensure the visibility of the interventions of the Socio-economic framework in favor of changes in the results achieved in each of the five pillars.