This report consolidates the findings from the scoping study and provides a set of recommendations for defining and improving WFP’s role, engagement, and strategic partnerships in support of national social protection.
I. Introduction, aim, and methodology
For decades, the Republic of the Philippines (the Philippines) has grappled with two persistent policy challenges: malnutrition among children under 5 and pregnant women in the poorest income quintiles, and recurrent climatic shocks and conflict, which pose a serious risk to the socioeconomic development gains that have been made. In line with global trends, social protection has witnessed a substantial expansion in the Philippines over the past decade and made an important contribution to the country’s social development and poverty reduction.
As envisaged in the WFP Strategic Plan 2017- 20211, WFP has increased the attention it devotes to building the capacity of Government agencies globally and has been focusing on strengthening its role as an enabler of food security and nutrition solutions. Similarly, WFP in the Philippines has gradually shifted its focus from direct implementation to capacity strengthening of the Government of the Philippines (GOP). Indeed, the WFP Country Strategic Plan (CSP, 2018-2023) for the Philippines focuses on informing national policies, facilitating knowledge transfer, and providing technical support to the GOP, also in social protection. Since 2018, WFP supported social protection delivery through a range of technical assistance, digital advisory services and solutions. In 2020, WFP also played a key role in supporting the social protection emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In line with the recent WFP Strategy for Support to Social Protection (WFP Social Protection Strategy- WFP, 2021), WFP in the Philippines views the strengthening of national social protection systems as an important avenue for improving food security, addressing the root causes of malnutrition, and helping people to deal with risks and shocks. WFP in the Philippines requested support from WFP Regional Bureau Bangkok to conduct this scoping study to gain a better understanding of the key national and international social protection actors, their policies, plans, and initiatives, with a view to improving WFP’s strategic role, niche and value added in this space, as well as to gain insights into the key challenges and opportunities for support to social protection in the Philippines.
This report consolidates the findings from the scoping study and provides a set of recommendations for defining and improving WFP’s role, engagement, and strategic partnerships in support of national social protection. The report is structured as follows: Section II) describes the country context by outlining the challenges of persistent malnutrition and recurrent risks and shocks; Section III) outlines the social protection system architecture - specifically the main national policies, legislation, priorities and trends; Section IV) provides an overview of the key national social protection actors and programmes; Section V) discusses the main challenges and opportunities to advancing Zero Hunger and shock response through social protection in the country; Section VI) presents the key initiatives of international actors in support of the social protection system in the Philippines; Section VII) concludes with a set of recommendations.