Key principles for social protection in the context of climate change

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For social protection to support climate adaptation and move beyond shock response, policy makers should consider the following principles on their assessments, planning and design:

Recognise uncertainty. Consider the changing nature of the shocks and stressors and future vulnerability due to climate change.

Prioritise food security and nutrition considerations. To be most effective, nutrition and social protection programmes should adopt a comprehensive approach that tackles both immediate and longer term needs

Support households’ long term adaptation strategies rather than simply reinforcing shock response. Through support of livelihood opportunities arising from climate change.

Avoid maladaptation. Understood as the household and livelihood strategies that foster coping capacity in the short-term but insidiously affect long-term vulnerability or the adaptative capacity of households.

Understand trade-offs. Policy makers should consider trade-offs between the different resilience capacities supported by social protection.

Define resilience objectives. Integrating resilience objectives into the theory of change of programmes can increase the contributions of social protection to climate change adaptation.

Improve the environment. Social protection planning and implementation should take into consideration any unintended spillover effect on the environment and aim for more environmentally friendly actions.

Adjust programmes to contexts. There is no onesize-fits-all social protection strategy that will meet the adaptation needs of all households and communities.

Acknowledge even small contributions. Small impacts on adaptation from individual interventions are considered relevant as long as they follow these principles.

Work across disciplines. Linking social protection with climate change activities and tools is crucial for a stronger impact on resilience