Why does Food Security and Nutrition Matter in Social Protection Responses to Systemic Shocks in the Southern African Region?

The past two decades have demonstrated the manifold pathways through which comprehensive and integrated social protection systems can enable and ensure food security and nutrition in Southern Africa. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the importance of these systems and illustrated the kinds of crises for which social protection must strengthen more effective responses. COVID-19 is not the worst or last crisis that social protection must tackle, but it provides the world with a clear example of how a global shock compounds the structural challenges of previous crises and interacts with climate risks and the legacy of chronic malnutrition complicated by co-infections and co-morbidities. Building a resilient society requires a comprehensive approach that integrates multi-sectoral initiatives. Social protection provides a tool for harmonising these initiatives to create developmental synergies to promote food security and nutrition as the foundation for long-term regional prosperity.