#MyCOVIDStory - Dr Pamela Solano | @UN Women/Louie Pacardo
Published on May 14, 2020

COVID-19 and Social Protection: Ecuador’s Joint SDG Program has become a key instrument to develop social protection strategies

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for a coordinated response. In this sense, the Government’s National Social cabinet invited UN Ecuador to join its newly created advisory team, tasked with developing a social protection strategy to mitigate the crisis and propose recovery solutions. In this context, the Joint SDG Program, which is being implemented in Ecuador by the ILO, UNDP and UN Women has become highly relevant in the generation of strategies and is playing a key role in high-level dialogue with Ministries, members of the cabinet and other stakeholders, such as the World Bank and the private sector.

Furthermore, taking advantage of the 20% repurposing of Joint Programs for crisis-related activities, some specific deliverables of the Social Protection JP will be adapted to contribute to the emergency response. Particularly, the project will support the strengthening of the government’s data registration systems to better identify the vulnerable population. This will allow the government to target social assistant more accurately.

Additionally, the JP will support the Government in the development of alternative payment methods to increase financial inclusion, especially for those households that are most vulnerable. This will speed up the economic recovery of such households and will reduce the need of Government assistant recipients to cash their checks at a bank.

The involvement of the JP’s participating agencies in the advisory team has boosted the project visibility and has highlighted the importance of its core objectives towards the rebuilding of the social protection system in Ecuador. Despite the physical distancing measures currently in effect, we continue to work hand in hand with key central and local governments and actors and strive to find innovative and lasting solutions that can contribute to the country’s fast recovery.

The SDG Project Expanding the social protection system for young men and women in the informal economy aims at improving the access to decent work and living conditions of young people between 18 and 29 years of age—who are part of the informal sector—through their inclusion in the Ecuadorian social protection system. Likewise, the initiative has a special focus on gender equality.

The Project is being implemented by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and UN Women, in close coordination with the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute (IESS), the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility and the Vice Presidency of the Republic, and has a duration of 20 months.