The current global financial crisis will have adverse effects on poor people in developing countries in the short-run and across longer time-scales. While the complexity of this crisis makes its path difficult to predict, recent advances in social protection thinking and practice provides an important body of experience for developing countries and development agencies to draw upon in responding to the crisis.
Recognising that the crisis will produce pressures on national budgets and could lead to social and political unrest, the paper argues that the ways that policy makers think about and design social protection responses require careful consideration at this time.
The paper proposes a framework for prioritising responses and also argues for an approach to designing social protection measures that take account of immediate needs for protection but does not lose sight of the wider developmental role of social protection schemes. Social protection measures have the potential to be an important element in reconstructing a social contract that builds more effective future governance for development.