Mainstreaming Shock Responsiveness into the National Social Protection System in Mongolia

On 8 April, the Joint SDG Fund Secretariat convened the fifth informal meet-up for Joint Programmes (JPs) on Shock Responsive Social Protection. Participants included JP teams from Mongolia, Barbados and Indonesia, and officers of relevant organizations working in this area were present: WFP, ILO, FAO and UNICEF. Mongolian JP aims to extend social protection to herders with enhanced shock responsiveness with an emphasis on reducing child and household poverty and promoting well-being.

Peer advisory session
The meeting proceeded with the Joint SDG Fund welcoming all participants and with a round of introductions. The Joint SDG Fund reminded everyone of the objectives of the peer-review learning meet-ups, which is to offer a learning opportunity among peers by sharing experiential and practitioners’ feedback of the issues discussed at hand. The peer-reviewed case and their team have an opportunity to share a white paper in advance summarizing their approach and presenting 1-2 questions for the session.

Mongolia’s JP proceeded to present their case on Mainstreaming Shock Responsiveness into the National Social Protection System. More specifically, the JP looks to extend social protection to herders with enhanced shock responsiveness with an emphasis on reducing child and household poverty and promoting well-being.

Fifth informal meet-up for Joint Programmes on Shock Responsive Social Protection
The presentation concluded with two key questions outlining the JP’s most pressing challenges and with colleagues’ feedback, sharing of experiences and posing more questions. The discussion revolved around ensuring continuity of programmes in the face of the extended expected negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of herders, and on how they could secure the financing of these programmes after the finalization of the JP. The conversation also highlighted one of the main transformative results in Mongolia: to add shock responsive social assistance to the legal framework regulating the social protection provision in the country, and thus contributing to a better coordination of contributory and non-contributory programmes.

The meeting concluded with the Secretariat encouraging further active engagement on Yammer to continue the discussion and sharing of experiences.

Streamlining SRSP into national social protection system: SRSP tools of child-focused shock-responsive social protection pilot programme and RIMA

Our Peer Advisory on Streamlining SRSP tools focused on the issue how to effectively institutionalize the SRSP tools into national social protection system. How are other countries planning to scale back the shock-responsive social assistance programmes and what UN agencies are advising/supporting to ensure that people’s livelihood is less affected, knowing that the pandemic has long-term impact and the recovery will require several years. Moreover the JP Mongolia addressed their interest to learn the “tool(s)/practice(s)” to improve the success of shock responsive models, methodology and financing approaches that mainstreamed into SP system. A summary of the discussion as follows.

SRSP pilot for children

The CMP pilot was to national social protection system can be used to respond to shocks faster and more cost-effectively than traditional humanitarian approaches and existing government social welfare programs/systems (targeting via CMP database, payment via banks) should be leveraged & adjusted to respond to shocks.

SRSP measures were piloted in Zavkhan province by topping-up the CMP covering 2730 children aged 0-5 year old in Dec 2019 and about 6800 children monthly aged 0-5 year old in Feb, March and Apr, 2020 as early response to dzud. Delivery of cash transfer through the existing system was less costly directly reaching the beneficiaries and meeting their needs. Nearly 80% of households used the cash for their children, thanks to messaging to households about purpose of cash.

Tranformative change: The Government has scaled up the CMP in response to economic shock caused by COVID 19 using the SRSP pilot model.

SRSP measure by the Government in response to COVID-19 pandemic
  • The Government has scaled up the CMP in response to economic shock caused by COVID 19 using the SRSP pilot model
  • Government provided sizable fiscal relief package which supported household consumption during the pandemic:
  • Government’s flagship social protection programme for children (CMP) was topped up: 5 times increase in benefit size for 15 months
  • Poverty targeted food stamp programme was topped up: The size of the benefit was doubled from May through September 2020 and then for adult members of households from October through December 2020.
  • Benefits of social welfare pensions was topped up with MNT100,000 (about USD 35) from May 2020 till July 2021.
Other measures include subsidies for SSC, PIT, energy, cashmere, petrol etc.

Evidences and lessons learned

If compare benefit percentage of top 3 Government stimulus packages, 98 per cent households with children benefitted from CMP top-up while 30 per cent from Waiver of SSC and 22 per cent from Waiver of PIT. CMP top up helped 41% household with children compensated up to 25 per cent of household income loss; 55 per cent of households of with children compensated up to 25-100% of their income loss; 78 of households with children used CMP to cope with the pandemic. According to spending categories, 63.7% of households with children spent the child money for food, 31.5% for children’s clothes and shoes, 13.2% for child education.


The JP has started introducing the Resilience Index Measurement and Analysis (RIMA-II) in Mongolia to define to analyze herder household resilience capacity to climate-related risks such as dzud and other types of shocks in the programme pilot soums. The data collection on 10 thousand herder households (10,027) completed, effectively using a mobile app. involving more than 1000 local civil servants from all 336 districts of 21 provinces and municipal. RIMA SRSP tool will be used by the Government to define shock responsive assistances to the people that are in need.

Fiscal space analysis to extend social protection

Celine Julia Felix, Social Policy Manager, UNICEF Trinidad and Tobago:
Thank you for the very informative presentation. With COVID-19, you increased the Child Money by five times. The work in many other countries including Eastern Caribbean one of the issue is that without the crisis the monthly support provided through this program is very limited and does not allow reaching the impacts that we would want. Decreasing and scaling back the shock responsive social assistance, it would likely to become very low level, which definitely would not be enough in the current context.

Eastern Caribbean UNICEF is trying to do is to link our work in social protection with the work on public finance for children because it easy to advocate. It is difficult to say, “You should not scale back and it would not be enough” but in the end, the question is “who is going to pay for it?” Thus, we are trying to put together the work on social protection, we are actually working on budget briefs and fiscal space analysis to try to see what is feasible. In terms of fiscal space it is not a lot but what we are trying to do through sectorial budget price on social protection is to show that the potentially the way the money spends is not most efficient so we are trying to make the most of the budget allocated to this program. It is not “be the miracle solution” but we feel that advocating for scaled up support is not feasible given very limited fiscal space; in our region, debt level is very high. However, this is something we are trying to provide financial evidence on what could be done and what could be the options.

Strengthening existing tools

Lilia Debrah Ramjeawan Malaykhan:
In terms of limited fiscal space in Caribbean countries, what we are trying to do through the joint program is to support the already existing program by strengthening through various tools that the government is already using and to integrate the various services. For example we are supporting the expansion of COVID assistance program, although it is temporary on the joint program but it strengthens the government ability to increase the number of people supported on public assistance. Additionally we are trying to link a disaster risk management to social protection system. Recognizing that fiscal space is limited, we need to strengthen the government ability to use tool that they have available to strengthen social protection system. We are focusing this priority in Eastern Caribbean.