ISSA Technical Seminar on Continuity and Resilience in Social Security Services and Systems in Southern Africa

1–3 March 2023 | Cape TownSouth Africa

ISSA Technical Seminar on Continuity and Resilience in Social Security Services and Systems in Southern Africa

1–3 March 2023 | Cape TownSouth Africa

The ISSA Technical Seminar on Continuity and Resilience in Social Security Services and Systems in Southern Africa will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, 1−3 March 2023. This seminar is organized in English by the ISSA Liaison Office for Southern Africa and hosted by the Department of Social Development (DSD) of South Africa.

Unforeseen shocks and extreme events can significantly stress and overwhelm the capabilities of social security institutions, which can lead to serious disruptions in providing benefits and services and, ultimately, loss of public trust. The pandemic has been an unequivocal reminder that the public counts on social security administrators to keep the promise of promptly delivering social security even under adverse conditions, and to enable and support national responses aimed at reducing the social and economic impact of crisis situations.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a lot of processes including digitalization and the rapid development of new strategies to restore normality in all functions and processes quickly and smoothly.

The ISSA has recently developed the ISSA Guidelines on Continuity and Resilience of Social Security Services and Systems. These Guidelines address and provide options and a reference point for service continuity and the deployment of quick responses in periods of disruption caused by crises and extreme events. The Guidelines also present approaches to improve and enhance an institution’s readiness, responsiveness, and resilience to implement within a defined time frame new programmes based on new policy responses.

All social security institutions in Southern Africa face the question of how to develop and implement strategic approaches to effectively implement their mandates during crises. In doing so, there is a need to go beyond the limitations of existing systems and consider integrated and organization-wide approaches as well as emerging technologies.

Regardless of an institution’s stage of development, the last few years have underlined the importance of including business continuity and resilience as a key governance element in social security administration. Should an adverse event materialize with no contingency plans in place, reactive measures could be proven to be too little or too late, comprising costlier last-minute and stop-gap solutions.

To be resilient, it is imperative that institutions establish business continuity plans that anticipate unforeseen crises. Such plans will enable the institution’s systems and resources to be part of the solution instead of compounding the challenge to be solved and allow the institution to be agile in managing a crisis and be proactive in protecting beneficiaries and the covered population.

The Technical Seminar will discuss these issues and present practical experiences of social security institutions in defining and implementing organization-wide strategies.

In line with the ISSA Guidelines, the seminar seeks to respond to some crucial questions:

  • What are the main challenges and risks that social security institutions in the Southern Africa region face in the continuity and resilience area?
  • What lessons can be gained from the COVID-19 pandemic and how are institutions working towards strengthening resilience and continuity in view of the different types of risks?
  • What should be the way forward and how can Southern African social security institutions coordinate the implementation of measures for continuity?

The aim of the Technical Seminar is to debate and exchange knowledge and experiences on effective and efficient approaches to ensure continuity and improve resilience in social security services and systems.

This Technical Seminar is open to delegates of ISSA member organizations from English-speaking countries in Africa and invited institutions. There is no registration fee for ISSA members. Representatives of non-member institutions are requested to contact the ISSA General Secretariat for the terms and conditions of participation.