Tackling the COVID-19 economic crisis in Sri Lanka: Providing universal, lifecycle social protection

UNICEF Sri Lanka Working Paper, June 2020

 Dinushi with her teachers
UNICEF Sri Lanka/ Earl Jayasuriya


This paper summarises findings from a series of UNICEF Policy Briefs that aim to provide evidence to support the Government of Sri Lanka in its social protection response to the economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This summary paper examines the impact of the crisis on Sri Lanka, assesses the effectiveness of the Government’s initial response and proposes introducing a package of social protection transfers for children, people with disabilities and older people as an even more effective solution. The paper shows that the package of benefits – which would cost 1.5 per cent of GDP – would significantly reduce the recession that Sri Lanka is facing and enhance wellbeing among direct and indirect recipients, who will comprise 86 per cent of the population. If Sri Lanka uses the proposed schemes as the basis of establishing  a modern national social protection system and invests at a similar level annually, this will promote much strong economic growth, thereby enabling Sri Lanka to fully recover economically from the crisis.

Stephen Kidd, Louise Moreira Daniels, Diloá Athias, Antonio Bubbico, Anh Tran and Anja Peebles-Brown
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