Meet on protection systems that help mitigate disaster, climate risk

First regional conference saw experts from 17 countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific regions

By Priyanka Singh
Published: Wednesday 05 November 2014

Representational image (Photo: GFDRR)

Experts and policy makers from 17 countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia and the Pacific regions, who gathered for a regional conference in the Philippines, said linking social protection to disaster and climate risk management makes for sound public policy.  The regional conference, organised by the World Bank group and government of the Philippines, was meant to capture lessons on how countries could respond to natural disasters through robust social protection systems, said a World Bank press release.

“Countries in Asia and the Pacific region are amongst the most prone to disaster and climate risks - and these natural calamities have devastating impact on lives and livelihoods, especially for the poorest and the most vulnerable. However, worldwide experience shows that post-disaster recovery and resilience can be greatly helped if there are robust social protection systems in place," said Arup Banerji, the World Bank group’s senior director and head of Global Practice, Social Protection and Labor.

The World Bank Group co-hosted the conference with the Philippines’ lead social protection agency, the Department of Social Welfare and Development this week.

“We learned how the existing Pantawid Conditional Cash Transfer Program, which has become an integral part of the Philippines’ social protection systems, helped the government respond to victims of last year’s Typhoon Yolanda. With a delivery mechanism already in place, countries can target their post-disaster humanitarian efforts better and channel them faster,” Banerji added.

Typhoon Yolanda was among the strongest in history with over 8,000 casualties and close to 200 severely affected municipalities in the Philippines.  About 3 million households with almost 13.5 million family members were affected directly. Over a million houses were damaged or destroyed. The total damage has been estimated at almost $13 billion. 

“Before Typhoon Yolanda struck, the Philippine government had already put in place various social protection programmes aimed at empowering the poor. But the typhoon was a game changer; it tested the resiliency of our people and stretched government disaster response system and social protection structures to the limit,” said Corazon ‘Dinky’ Soliman, the Philippine secretary of social welfare and development, according to the press release.

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