Building Shock-Responsive National Social Protection Systems in the Middle East and North Africa Region
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is confronted by significant challenges resulting from multiple shocks and complex emergencies: countries in the region face various risks in terms of natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods and drought; violent conflicts, such as in Syria, pose unprecedented challenges related to the scale of human displacement; and the breakdown of service provision caused by conflict is leading to the increasing prevalence of malnutrition and communicable diseases in Yemen.
Furthermore, recent social assistance reforms are shifting the provision of social protection, from being largely based on subsidies to new programmes that have not yet necessarily matched them in terms of coverage. More specifically, non-contributory social protection in the region has been shown to have limited coverage of poor and vulnerable working families with children, with significant gaps in specific groups such as children of pre-school age.
Considering these significant challenges, and in light of recent reforms, this study aims to provide an initial general assessment of opportunities and challenges for shock-responsive social protection in the MENA region. It centres on the following research questions: 1) What are the key considerations in building the resilience and shock responsiveness of national social protection systems in MENA?; 2) Are child-sensitive and equitable social protection mechanisms sufficiently equipped to face shocks?; and 3) How can national social protection systems be better equipped to implement a humanitarian response to covariate shocks?
The principle of equality and non-discrimination requires States to ensure that social protection programmes meet the standards of accessibility, adaptability, acceptability and adequacy for all rights holders. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) has recommended these standards through several General Comments including 13, 14 and 19. Accessibility means making the social protection […]