At a time when conventional humanitarian responses are struggling to address a mounting number of deep and seemingly interminable crises across the globe, the Commission is hosting the "International Conference on Social Protection in Contexts of Fragility and Forced Displacement" on 28/29 September 2017 in Brussels.
The conference brings together practitioners from humanitarian and development institutions, including representatives from host governments, academia and civil society organisations. It will examine ways in which social protection systems can contribute to effective crisis response in fragile and forced displacement contexts. To help put into operation the humanitarian-development nexus, it will also highlight opportunities for humanitarian assistance either to build on existing social protection systems or to help create them, without compromising humanitarian principles.
Fresh and practical solutions that can meet the short and long-term needs of people caught up in the world’s current protracted crises will be at the centre of the debate. Ahead of the conference, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides said "Humanitarian needs today outpace anything we have seen before, stretching our response capacity to its limit. We cannot continue to think only short-term; tackling humanitarian basic survival needs is essential but not enough. We have to act together to deliver on the promise of leaving no one behind. Social protection has the potential to achieve this. It can put the humanitarian-development nexus into practice. By working hand in hand, humanitarian and development actors can offer the most vulnerable people everywhere a perspective of hope, and a dignified future."
Social protection may be broadly defined as a set of policies and actions that enhance the capacity of all people, but especially poor and vulnerable groups, to escape from poverty (or avoid falling into poverty), and better manage risks and shocks.
In recent years there have been many examples of complementarity between social protection interventions and the Commission's humanitarian response in countries like Ethiopia, with the creation of a scalable rural safety net for food-insecure people; the Philippines in response to the Typhoon Haiyan; or Turkey with the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), a single-card social assistance scheme designed empower up to 1.3 million refugees to cover their basic needs.