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ISSPF host regular webinars to launch or highlight ISSPF publications and/or to debate relevant publications, developments or events occurring in the region. It is also an important space to enhance the dialogue across the region through low-cost means.

Persons with disabilities in the Arab region remain one of the most marginalized and excluded population groups. They are often not visible in public life, as the social and physical environments remain inaccessible, and they are disproportionally affected by crises and disasters.

Marginalization is intensified for those who experience intersecting forms of discrimination due to their age, gender, class, or refugee status. Inequity is worsened by the lack of accurate data concerning the prevalence of disabilities in Arab countries. Adequate social protection systems are critical to providing for the economic and social inclusion of persons with disabilities, their income security and independent living.

The webinar provides a critical analysis of social protection systems for persons with disabilities from the perspective of civil society and social actors in Jordan, Tunisia, and Lebanon in order to answer several fundamental questions:

  • What are the current challenges hampering the right to social protection for persons with disabilities in MENA?
  • What are key elements that need to be addressed to activate the right to social protection for persons with disabilities in MENA?
  • What steps should civil society in MENA take to activate an agenda for social inclusion from the perspective of the right to social protection?

Hala Darwish (Social Policy Officer, UNICEF Syria), Farah Al Shami (Senior Fellow, Arab Reform Initiative), Luca Pellerano (Senior Social Protection Specialist, International Labour Organization), Maria del Mar Logrono-Narbona (Senior Advisor, Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development), and Rachel Forrester-Jones (Professor and Director School of Health Studies, Western University) discuss this issue in this panel. 

This webinar took place on 14 June 2023.

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To explore context-specific alternatives for reform in the MENA region, it is crucial to analyse the role that IFIs play in reforming social security systems and their actual and potential impact on fundamental rights. 

This webinar primarily focuses on three countries in the region: Tunisia, Egypt, and Lebanon. Although the contexts have their specificities, the socio-economic crises that the three countries are experiencing highlight the urgent need for universal social protection schemes.

Webinar objectives:

1. Interpret and explain the IFI reforms on non-contributory social security systems, providing a comprehensive understanding of their underlying principles and implications.

2. Analyze their impact from a macro-economic point of view, but above all their impact on rights, and in particular on social security rights and assess the potential benefits and drawbacks.

3. Explore alternatives to guarantee adequate social protection, taking into account the specific socio-economic context of each country.

4. Identify policy recommendations that can address the evolving needs of the population in an inclusive and sustainable manner.

5. Start building a regional research and advocacy agenda on these issues.

Shahir Ishak (ISSPF), Fathia Ben Slimane (The Tunisian Observatory of Economy), Selma Hussein (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung MENA), and Olga Jbeily (ANND).

This webinar took place on 27 July 2023.

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