Food security: extending social insurance to persons in non-standard forms of work - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
4 November 2022
15:30–16:30

Beirut time

Expert Group Meeting

Food security: extending social insurance to persons in non-standard forms of work

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  • Online
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In the context of the “Peer exchange meeting on extending social insurance to persons in non-standard forms of work”, the group of experts on social protection reform is meeting for the seventh time, discussing the issue of socioeconomic inequality in terms of food security. Inequality exists in the four dimensions of food security; availability, access, utilization and stability. 

The group considers that it is important to identify the social groups that are most affected by inequality, including food inequality. Most work or interventions must be done in remote and rural areas where multidimensional poverty should be tested rather than monetary poverty.

Increasing self-sufficiency through food production and enhancing agricultural outputs are the optimal solutions while food subsidies and food-related cash transfers, already adopted in some Arab countries, are proving to be short-term measures that do not lead to food security in the long run.    

 

Outcome document

  1. It is important to identify the categories that are most affected by food inequality
  2. Most work or interventions must be done in remote and rural areas where multidimensional poverty should be tested rather than monetary poverty.
  3. Inequality exists in the four dimensions of food security; availability, access, utilization, and stability.
  4. poor and vulnerable groups are finding it difficult to obtain adequate food due to the decrease in their purchasing power
  5. For those living in political and security-challenged countries, governments are not capable of providing food subsidies or secure adequate food supply. However, food security issues are handed out through food aid programs provided by the humanitarian international organization
  6. the possible actions or remedies considered by the members of the GESPR was increasing self-sufficiency through food production and enhancing agricultural outputs are the optimal solutions
  7. food subsidies and food-related cash transfers, already adopted in some Arab countries, proved to be short-term measures and do not secure food security at the long run.    

 

In its 7th Meeting on 4 November 2022, held in the context of the “Peer Exchange Meeting on Extending social insurance to persons in non-standard forms of work”, the Group of Experts on Social Protection Reform (GESPR) discussed the issue of socioeconomic inequality in terms of food security.

The members of the GESPR confirmed that inequality exists at a large scale in Arab countries. They consider that it is important to identify the categories that are most affected by inequality, including food inequality. Most work or interventions must be done in remote and rural areas where multidimensional poverty should be tested rather than monetary poverty.

On food security, most of the GESPR members related the challenge of achieving food security to the 2008 financial and food crisis. Inequality exists in the four dimensions of food security; availability, access, utilization, and stability. Unfortunately, no effective strategies or measures were taken to achieve food security in most Arab countries, even though many Arab countries have developed food security strategies in the past few years. The Covid-19 crisis’s economic repercussions, mainly unemployment, caused additional pressure since 2020, while the recent war in Ukraine obstructed one of the most strategic food supply chains in the region, and triggered sharp economic distress and acute increase in food prices. Consequently, poor and vulnerable groups are finding it difficult to obtain adequate food due to the decrease in their purchasing power. For those living in political and security-challenged countries, governments are not capable of providing food subsidies or secure adequate food supply. However, food security issues are handed out through food aid programs provided by the humanitarian international organization. When asked about the possible actions or remedies, the members of the GESPR considered that increasing self-sufficiency through food production and enhancing agricultural outputs are the optimal solutions while food subsidies and food-related cash transfers, already adopted in some Arab countries, proved to be short-term measures and do not secure food security at the long run. 

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