For decades, Arab countries have faced significant socioeconomic challenges resulting from poor development planning and implementation and misguided economic choices, compounded by years of political instability leading to chronic economic stagnation, subpar State services and poor citizen engagement.
In this context, Arab countries face multiple challenges, including high population growth, low social protection coverage, high unemployment, increasing poverty and inequality, various forms of discrimination, conflict and forced displacement.
These issues combined have driven popular demands for social justice to the forefront of policy debates, strongly demonstrating the need for profound institutional, political and socioeconomic reforms and a new social contract. This popular call for reinstating basic rights and providing access to fair redistribution systems has motivated a review of the regional development paradigm, placing social justice, equality and participation at the heart of development thinking. For ESCWA, social justice rests on the four pillars of equality, equity, rights and participation.
Against this backdrop, ESCWA supports its member States to address social justice deficits, and mainstream the concept in relevant policies to promote more inclusive, cohesive and just societies.
ESCWA promotes the broader concept of social justice through a wide array of policy solutions and dimensions that ultimately serve the SDGs. To this end, ESCWA provides innovative research, policy analysis and guidance; proposes policy recommendations; prepares tools that increase knowledge and enhance technical capacity and skills; holds, leads and facilitates constructive dialogue among Arab Governments, and between Government and civil society; builds consensus among all stakeholders on policy matters; facilitates the exchange of practices, experiences and lessons learned; and cultivates partnerships to address regional development challenges.
Arab NGO Network for Development; Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs; Carnegie Middle East Center; Beyond Reform and Development; League of Arab States; Arab Gulf Programme for Development; Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Lebanon; Ministries of Social Affairs in ESCWA member countries.