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Accepted Paper:

Social protection responses in the Arab region to address the Covid-19 crisis: implications for future social policy reform  

Authors:

Rana Jawad (University of Bath)
Stephen Devereux (Institute of Development Studies)
Zahraa Barakat

Paper short abstract:

This paper critically examines the major social protection responses that Arab countries have implemented since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic to address poverty and inequality, which were exacerbated by the crisis. It then identifies implications for future social policy reforms.

Paper long abstract:

This paper critically examines the major social protection responses that Arab countries have implemented since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic to address multidimensional poverty and inequality, as well as the increased social and economic needs resulting from the crisis. Combining social policy and international development conceptual frameworks, the paper first employs the life-cycle approach that is dominant in the global social policy literature to map the range of social protection Covid-19 interventions. Second, the paper undertakes an institutional and political analysis of the interventions with a view to offering insights on future reform of social policy systems in the Arab countries. To this end, we question to what extent the current interventions form the basis for a move towards more comprehensive, potentially universal systems of social policy and social protection. The paper is based on on-going research for a report to be presented to the UN-ESCWA which benefited from a comprehensive literature search of relevant national and international policy documents as well new data on the coverage and expenditure invested in Covid-19 responses by the Arab governments. A decade after the Arab Spring, the paper assesses what new lessons emerge from the current crisis about the readiness of Arab governments to deal with inequality and deprivation using more comprehensive and redistributive social protection means.

Panel P19b
COVID-19 and global development challenges: 'unsettling' multidimensional poverty? II