The Better Assistance in Crises (BASIC) research program seeks to better understand how to strengthen routine social assistance in the most difficult protracted crises – places where compounding shocks such as climate change, conflict and displacement complicate the program delivery, sustainability and results. This article reviews the contours of global and national debates, and the concepts that are essential to informing research on social assistance in protracted crisis contexts. It focuses on three areas: social protection, humanitarian assistance, and adaptation and response to climate change. It then outlines the specific policy and programming areas and countries on which BASIC research will focus, based on the identification of knowledge gaps in the research inception phase. The paper then develops a research framework for BASIC research, identifying priority research questions and thematic areas. In line with the aspiration of global donors that all social assistance – including that provided by humanitarian actors – must build longer-term policies and systems that are increasingly integrated into government-led and government-funded delivery. State, BASIC Research: will examine the complementarities, tensions and linkages between the social assistance that various actors provide to address the multiple and intersecting challenges of climate shocks, conflict and displacement; assess existing capacities, systems and approaches to provide social assistance; and explore how social assistance is intertwined with politics and economics.
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