This paper aims to improve understanding of how disaster risk financing (DRF) enables social protection (SP) systems to respond to and mitigate the impacts of climatic and potentially other shocks. As the relationship between poverty and disasters becomes clearer, many poor and chronically disaster-affected countries are now examining how SP systems can be designed to provide an effective shock response mechanism when disasters hit. In poor countries with limited resources, social assistance interventions such as food aid and cash transfers - often described as safety nets - have formed the primary government SP intervention for vulnerable groups.
As disasters become more severe and frequent, more governments are establishing shock-responsive or adaptive SP (ASP) programs to channel temporary assistance in response to crisis. The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis is accelerating this trend, with almost every country or territory having planned, introduced, or used ASP measures in response to the pandemic. This paper is structured as follows: section one introduction. Section two explains and defines the key terms discussed in this paper, namely DRF and ASP (or shock-responsive social protection). Section three is divided into three subsections that respectively address three key emerging lessons in using DRF for ASP. Section four considers how the emerging lessons explored in section three can support and further strengthen the current COVID-19 response.