12th Session of the ESCWA Committee on Social Development; New report on Social Protection Reform in Arab countries - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
Press release

9 Oct 2019

Beirut, Lebanon

12th Session of the ESCWA Committee on Social Development; New report on Social Protection Reform in Arab countries


Beirut, 9 October 2019 (ESCWA)--ESCWA today concluded the twelfth session of its Committee on Social Development, which discussed how best to support member States in achieving a more inclusive and equitable development in the Arab region.
Representatives of ESCWA member States, as well as observers from regional and international organizations, examined regional priorities in the social development field, such as social protection reform, the inclusion of older persons and persons with disabilities in the development process, and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a focus on equality, inclusion and justice.
“I hope that your session will generate concrete suggestions for maximizing the impact of the activities implemented by ESCWA in 2020,” said Director of the ESCWA Social Development Division, Federico Neto, in his opening remarks on Tuesday.
Participants agreed on the need to develop integrated and sustainable social protection systems, and link them to fiscal and macroeconomic policies. They also stressed the importance of looking into the efficiency and effectiveness of social assistance to guarantee that it targets those who need it most. They urged that special attention be given to countries suffering from conflict in the work of ESCWA.
Daoud Al Deek, Deputy Minister of Social Development in the State of Palestine, was elected Chair of the 12th session of the Committee. In his remarks, he urged countries to adopt social protection systems that ensure coherence, transparency and accountability. He further stressed that the most significant challenge facing the Arab region was the lack of equality and social justice. “All other problems, including poverty and marginalization are manifestations of lacking social justice,” he added.
Social Protection Reform in Arab Countries
To launch its new report on “Social Protection Reform in Arab Countries,” ESCWA held a round-table discussion within the Committee session. Panellists discussed the key findings of the report, agreed on the significant value it brings to mapping the situation of social protection in the Arab region, and highlighted the need for countries to implement social protection systems that help to build trust in government, increase social cohesion, and enhance social justice and social solidarity.
About the Committee
The Committee on Social Development was established in 1994 with the aim of enhancing regional cooperation through effective participation of Member States in planning and implementing the ESCWA programme of work in the field of social development. It provides an intergovernmental forum that fosters discussion on achievements, opportunities and challenges, promotes the exchange of information and good practices, and proposes recommendations that guide the implementation of the work programme of ESCWA.

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For more information:
-Ms Rania Harb, Public Information Assistant, +961-70-008-879; email: harb1@un.org

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