Not only is social protection a tool to prevent social tensions and conflicts, it is first and foremost a tool to shield people from the loss of income and livelihood opportunities due to conflict. In a region deeply afflicted by conflicts, the humanitarianization, NGOization, politicization, and securitization of social protection are preventing the realization of minimum income security guarantees and social safety.

In addition to the baseline of weak and fragmented social protection systems in the Arab region, social protection policies and programs in response to conflicts are limited to transient, inadequate, narrow-scale, and non-integrated humanitarian assistance. At most, they are taking the form of small social safety nets and tangential labor market activation interventions, which are equally non-inclusive, ineffective, and non-sustainable. Not only are these responses reactive and short-sighted, they are also often reliant on foreign funds that often come in the form of debt.

The international donor community has recently acknowledged the failure of their “do no harm” policy and the need to shift to a social protection-oriented approach that does not prevent the transition to rather state-led universal social security systems. Ever since this shift in the discourse, the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) has been producing research and engaging in discussions on social protection in times of conflict. A research paper on the Iraqi context and a shorter one on the current Sudani context have been already published, and two more research papers on the cases of Yemen and Syria will be released shortly.

This webinar builds on these efforts and aims to answer the following questions:

  • How did social protection systems evolve with conflict in Arab conflict-afflicted settings and how did they manifest during conflicts? Did they contribute to igniting or exacerbating conflicts?
  • How are the humanitarianization, NGOization, politicization, and securitization of social protection preventing the realization of minimum income security guarantees and social safety during conflicts?
  • What solutions are there and what do they require to be feasible?

To watch the webinar: click here

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