Strengthening the capacity of ASEAN Member States to design and implement risk-informed and shock responsive social protection systems for resilience – Regional Synthesis Report

Executive summary

The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises 10 Member States (AMS) with very diverse economies: two are high income (Brunei Darussalam and Singapore), two are upper-middle income (Malaysia and Thailand), and the remaining six are lower-middle income (Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, and Viet Nam).

ASEAN is the most disaster-prone region of the world. More than 200 million people in AMS have been affected by disasters from 2000 to 2015 and there have been US$8 trillion total economic losses in the region in those 15 years.

Addressing the root cause of disaster vulnerability in the ASEAN region and building long-term resilience to climate extremes is vital to breaking the cycle of recurrent humanitarian crises and the remaining high levels of poverty in the region. However, climate change is causing an increase in the frequency and severity of hazards and will lead to more disasters.

The complementarity of social protection and disaster risk management (DRM) is increasingly acknowledged by ASEAN. Accordingly, this study, the overarching research question of which is:

• What factors enable social protection systems and programmes in ASEAN countries to be responsive to shocks and to deliver an effective response?

This research defines social protection as the set of public actions that address both the absolute deprivation and vulnerabilities of the poorest, as well as the need of the currently non-poor for security in the face of shocks and lifecycle events. The rationale for shock-responsive social protection being given a front-line role in disaster response include efficiency gains from faster responses, pooling of financial and programmatic resources, and speeding up decision making. Shock-responsive social protection also implies better preparedness for disaster response by improving the resilience of households facing shocks.

Source: World Food Programme