Zoominar VIII: Innovation in social protection in response to COVID-19 in the NENA region: Building on best practices cases


Zoominar VIII: Innovation in social protection in response to COVID-19 in the NENA region: Building on best practices cases


The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread throughout the Near East and North Africa (NENA) - Arab States region. The pandemic will have huge impacts on public health and represents already an unprecedented shock to economies, food systems and labour markets globally and in the NENA region, affecting rural poverty and resilience. It is estimated that an additional 8.3 million people in the region could fall into poverty. 

Given this broader impact, the consequences of COVID-19 pandemic require responses that go far beyond the health sector; including measures to assist people and protect them against falling into poverty due to the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, highlighting the crucial importance of inclusive, comprehensive and stable social protection systems.

Systems that respond to differentiated needs across population and income groups, are flexible to be scaled up quickly in times of crisis and contribute to the resilience of food systems. FAO highlights the importance of using innovation and digital applications in social protection as a way to ensure that people can maintain their livelihoods and sustain themselves in times of emergencies and beyond, especially in rural areas.

This Zoominar will set the stage by looking at some of the promising digital and innovative solutions in social protection in order to limit the negative impacts of this crisis on rural poverty, resilience and food systems, including on food security and nutrition.

The Zoominar will address the following questions:

  1. How the NENA region has been affected by the crisis? (Socio-economic impacts)
  2. What social protection initiatives have been implemented to support rural areas that can be scaled up and replicated? (Selected success country-cases from NENA, and other examples)
  3. How can governments and partners foster innovation and digital technology applications in social protection to build the basis for a more comprehensive and inclusive social protection system in the long-term?  

 Opening remarks:

  • Abdessalam Ould Ahmed, Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa – FAO
  • Rabah Arezki, Chief Economist for NENA Region – World Bank  


  • Fabio Veras, Communications, Publication and Research Coordinator – IPC-IG, Overview of the social protection response to COVID-19 around the world and in the region for FSN. 
  • Samman Thapa, Regional Social Policy Advisor for the MENA region – UNICEF, Overview of the child-sensitive social protection response to COVID-19 around the world and in the region. 
  • Rodrigo Assumpçã, Social protection Management Information Systems specialist – ILO, Overview of the horizontal expansion of social protection to the informal and rural economy in Egypt or Tunisia.
  • Chakib Abouzaid, Secretary General – General Arab Insurance Federation, Overview of the role of agriculture insurance as a response to COVID-19 in the region.
  • Salma Zaky, Social Protection Officer & Marta Dabbas, Regional Digital Assistance Services Officer – WFP, Overview of digital technology applications in social protection in response to COVID-19 in the region. 
  • Omar Benammour, Social Protection Officer – FAO ESP, Overview of FAO’s work on social protection in the region and the response to COVID-19: Example of Kenya, Tunisia, Sudan and Morocco. 

Facilitated by:

Omar Benammour, Social protection Officer – FAO 


  • Only registered participants will attend, please find the
  • Registration Link here
  • Please note that the session will start on time on 09 July 2020 at 14:00 – 15:30 (GMT +2)
  • We invite all participants to kindly login 10 minutes before.
  • We suggest using Google Chrome or the Zoom App, in order to join the session
  • We suggest trying the Zoom before https://fao.zoom.us/test
  • We also recommend you to check your time zone here
  1. For more information please visit http://www.fao.org/neareast/events/view/en/c/1296227/
  2. For further inquiries please feel free to contact: [email protected] 

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