Pilot Workshop on the Toolkit for Enhancing Participation and Engagement in Social Protection Policy Processes
Despite positive strides in recent decades, social protection policy in the ESCWA region is still short of realizing two important objectives: First, social protection policy should be linked to citizenship rights and integrated into the wider social, economic and political frameworks in which it operates. Second, the success of social protection policies and programmes thrives on transparent, accountable and participatory approaches. In other words, improving and sustaining social protection programmes is best achieved through social dialogue and the participation of various stakeholders including beneficiaries and civil society institutions in the different social policy processes. Moreover, forging social partnerships lends national social protection policies legitimacy and support.
Recognizing this dual relationship, the Participation and Social Justice Section (PSJS) of the Social Development Division organized a regional workshop to introduce and test a new “Toolkit for Enhancing Participation and Engagement in Social Protection Policy Processes”. The workshop was held in Beirut from 27 to 30 July 2015 and brought together government officials from Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Morocco and Tunisia in addition to a regional expert from Yemen. The 4-day workshop was facilitated by experts from Beyond Reform and Development –a consulting and social enterprise- as well as staff members from PSJS and the Economic Development and Poverty Section in ESCWA.
During the workshop, participants were able to test and validate the different modules of the toolkit and provide feedback on its applicability and relevance to their needs. In addition, the workshop provided the participants with an opportunity to enhance their knowledge of social protection concepts and approaches; exchange national experiences and lessons learned in the design and implementation of social protection programmes; and learn about the various participatory methods that can be used in social policy processes using examples from the region and beyond (for further information please refer to the attached information note in Arabic).
Ultimately, ESCWA aims at endorsing the toolkit at regional and national levels, and at organizing future capacity-building activities on this new training programme in presence of government officials and representatives from civil society institutions.