ids.ac.uk (16.10.2023) This article examines the challenges and opportunities that exist for the production of knowledge and the design of evidence-based policies which aim at achieving more equitable and inclusive social protection systems in the Arab region. The article builds on the experiences of researchers and activists following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and considers the challenges they faced.
Arab Reform Initiative (June 2023) Most Arab countries are currently experiencing a critical juncture in their history, encompassing not only political, social, and economic aspects but also legal dimensions. In contrast to many other regions, Arab societies are undergoing significant transformations, influenced by two fundamental factors: the digital revolution and economic globalization, and their wide-ranging social implications.
ILO (June 2023) An analysis of existing barriers and good practices in light of international social security standards. This research paper aims to examine barriers to the social security of migrant workers in the Arab region, identify current practices and chart possible avenue for progressive reform.
euromed-economists.org (July 2023) This policy paper delves into the importance of robust social protection systems in promoting dignity and security for all individuals. Focusing on Egypt, Tunisia, and Lebanon, the paper examines the current landscape of formal and informal social protection mechanisms. It identifies challenges and presents policy recommendations, with a particular emphasis on the development of Micro-social Protection Programme schemes (MSPP).
worldbank.org (June 2023) Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, limited work opportunities and low-productivity informal work have played a significant role in increasing poverty and vulnerability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
worldbank.org (July 2022) Reports that one of the most persistent patterns of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s labor market remains the large share of healthy and capable working-age populations excluded from the labor force and employment, particularly among women and youth aged 15 to 24 years not in employment, education, or training (NEET). The lack of inclusivity proves most apparent in the lost potential of women, whose labor force participation, averaging about 20 percent, remains the world’s lowest.
ESCWA (April 2022) Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, social protection systems in the Arab region were weak, fragmented, not inclusive, and non-transparent. They were also costly and unsustainable. Underinvestment in these systems and exclusion of vulnerable populations were key challenges. The COVID-19 crisis spotlighted the problems and presented a historic opportunity to address some of the challenges facing social protection systems. Lessons learned in various countries were identified as useful examples for change, in addition to certain innovations.
arabstates.undp.org (28.12.2021) The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting societies and economies at their core. In the Arab Region, the pandemic has exacerbated existing structural weaknesses in economies as well as unresolved social challenges, making the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) even more urgent. Governments in the region are facing two challenges: to effectively address the health crisis and to respond to the economic and social fallout from the crisis.
UNSDG (July 2020) The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed serious fault lines and vulnerabilities in societies, institutions and economies all around the world. The Arab region, home to 436 million people, initially kept transmission and mortality rates lower than the global average but more recent trends are cause for concern, especially in light of fragmented health care and insufficient primary care in many countries. The pandemic has also magnified many decades-long challenges.
This issue of Policy in Focus gathers articles from leading scholars, researchers and practitioners to discuss these challenges from different perspectives. They examine the current state of non-contributory social protection in the MENA region as a whole and in specific countries and explore how these countries have been coping with and learning from the recent economic and humanitarian crises.