The people of the Middle East and North Africa have been hard at work to improve their livelihoods and social and economic security. Despite progress, most of the region’s economies struggle to create employment with benefits such as health care and pensions. In a region where the majority of people are under 35, this lack of social protections is felt heavily by the young as well as by historically excluded populations, such as women, informal workers, the self-employed, people with disabilities and refugees.
Governments have formally committed to social and economic rights in their constitutions and in their plans to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The region’s inequality, however, has continued to deepen, and the majority of people are still living without adequate social protection. As governments, in partnership with economic and development agencies, work to find solutions, we see an opportunity for civil society to become part of the conversation to ensure the region’s most vulnerable receive the security they deserve.
We work to bolster rigorous evidence on social protection, increase the diversity of perspectives on the issue, and build the capacity and resilience of civil society to engage in conversations and partnerships that focus on expanding and improving adequate coverage for all. Our aim is to inform the larger narratives on social protections and contracts across the region.