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Online Workshop on Targeted Social Protection in Arab Countries during the Covid-19 Pandemic

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Social protection systems, their design and their coverage are shaping social cohesion, social justice, the structure of the labour market, the prevention and the alleviation of poverty as well as the resilience to economic shocks in any given society.

The importance of social protection increases manifold during crises. The Covid-19 pandemic, that engulfed the world in early 2020, has already resulted in soaring unemployment, poverty, and food insecurity in many countries around the globe. The overwhelming brunt of this crisis in the Arab region will fall on the shoulders of vulnerable population groups: women, youth, and informal workers with limited access to social protection.

To mitigate the consequences of this crisis for population, governments around the world are expanding their social protection systems, with cash-based transfers being one of the most frequently used social protection response measures worldwide.

When providing targeted social protection response, Arab governments, to a large extent, relied on the existing social assistance infrastructure, and, for instance, on the programmes in place, related registries and management information systems. This way, the Covid-19 crisis amounts to a stress test of existing social protection systems that were quickly expanded by reaching out to additional vulnerable population groups.

The aim of the workshop is to discuss lessons learnt from the Covid-19 crisis. This includes to (i) assessing readiness of targeted social protection systems to crises, (ii) identifying possible gaps revealed by the pandemic and (iii) considering medium and longer term changes that should be made to social protection systems as a result of lessons leant from the Covid-crisis.



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