The portfolio on integrated social protection for ‘leaving no one behind’ was established in January 2020 with the launch Joint Programmes (JP) in 35 countries and the investment of $US 70 million. JPs established the foundations, organized stakeholder meetings, detailed the workplans, and began implementation of core activities – and, as the first activities were launched, the COVID-19 pandemic started. The portfolio was strategically positioned as the JPs were already in the space of social protection for the most vulnerable, which became essential for addressing COVID-19 – and it will continue to be on top of the policy agenda for a foreseeable future.
The Joint SDG Fund rapidly provided an opportunity for re-purposing of up to 20% of JP budgets to address COVID-19 impact. Third of the portfolio used this opportunity, while other JPs decided to update the approach when the original approach already focused on addressing impact on the most vulnerable, not unlike the one produced by the pandemic. Re-purposing remained aligned with the broader Theory of Change of the JPs in order to integrate the immediate response with the overall transformational strategy. Main highlights from re-purposing for COVID-19 are presented below.