Food Coalition

Building resilience to multiple-shocks through inclusive social protection

The pandemic has led to unprecedented shocks to economies, food systems and labour markets globally and in the Near East and North Africa region, threatening the income and food security of millions of workers. It is estimated that an additional 8.3 million people in the region could fall into poverty. Therefore 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 and food insecurity. More than ever there is a crucial need for inclusive, comprehensive and stable social protection systems that respond to differentiated needs across population and income groups, and are flexible to be scaled up quickly in times of crisis.

Rural poor, especially women, are faced with added and specific vulnerabilities and risks that hamper their sustained economic inclusion including lower access to services, infrastructure and high dependence on increasingly scarce and degraded land and water resources. The COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed smallholders access to markets and inputs, creating a liquidity challenge and disrupting productive capacity. With significantly less access to assets, income and employment rural women are even more likely to fall into extreme poverty as a result of shocks like COVID-19.

Despite the use of geographical targeting  and proxy means testing methods, social protection and insurance coverage remains lower in rural areas. In particular, agriculture producers and informal workers are excluded from national pension and insurance schemes despite the high exposure of their income to climatic and price shocks. Expanding the coverage and efficacy of social protection measures - including with shock responsive mechanisms and promoting a stronger coherence with different sub-agricultural sectors - is key to reducing poverty and building resilience to multiple shocks including conflict, climate change and ensuring more sustainable and inclusive recovery from COVID-19. COVID-19 has highlighted critical gaps of coverage but is also an opportunity for renewing again the social contract in a region affected by multiple crises by expanding social protection to all and optimizing the role of social protection for transforming food systems.

Priority Areas of work: Economic Inclusion and Social Protection to Reduce Poverty
SDG: 1. No Poverty, 2. Zero Hunger, 5. Gender Equality, 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth, 10. Reduced Inequality, 13. Climate Action, 16. Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Level: Regional
Region: Near East and North Africa
Country: Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Yemen
Budget: USD 5 million


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