Time of event

13:00–14:50 Tokyo time


In June 2020, ADBI held a policy dialogue series to identify real-time recommendations for government officials as they rapidly expanded safety nets and mobilized cash transfer programs for vulnerable groups during the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis. One year later, this virtual policy dialogue reconnected with policy makers, academics, and development institution experts to examine Asian lessons in safety net expansion and cash transfer mobilization. It also discussed the future of safety nets in the region after the pandemic.

Session I: From Emergency to Recovery – Social Safety Nets Beyond the COVID-19 Crisis

This session highlighted significant obstacles and breakthroughs in the design and implementation of emergency safety nets. Among them included the importance of biometric data and identification cards for efficiently reaching the poor; innovative ways of identifying the vulnerable, such as proxy means testing and affluence exclusion; financial literacy as a driver of household resilience; and the value of a whole of government approach that bridges political divides and departmental silos.

Session II: Strategic Foresight for Agile Safety Nets

This session explored future safety net development scenarios that could arise due to health, natural disasters, or financial crises and the unique challenges they pose to vulnerable groups. Key questions addressed included whether better foresight can help identify policies for ensuring viable safety nets as well as how to design them effectively in post-COVID-19 conditions.

  • Promote policy dialogue on the future of safety nets and social protection in Asia
  • Examine country experiences to support the development of viable safety nets
  • Adapt strategic foresight methodology to prepare for future crises
  • Exchange of ideas on systems and technologies for boosting safety net preparedness
  • Greater impetus for knowledge sharing and collaboration among government agencies, international organizations, and academic institutions for promoting effective safety nets, beyond COVID-19
  • ADBI policy brief based on the key outcomes of the policy dialogue

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