Setup of social protection floors

The ILO highlight the importance of social protection as a framework for inclusive and sustainable development. Social service provision improvements and reforms have been promised by most governments in MENA region; however the ad hoc legislations are either not effective or not formulated. Additionally the lack of political accountability and transparency further hinders effective social provisions.

Social protection provides important tools in times of crisis prevention, management and recovery as it promotes stability by supporting and empowering particularly the most excluded people within society and addressing their susceptibility to income shocks which is the ultimate driver of poverty.

Through the provision of social protection floors, any economic unit (Individual, Household, Community) is offered better options for people, both for themselves and for the overall economy (as personal relief methods might do greater harm to the collective), to cope with an external shock such as financial crisis, income loss, etc. and thus is less likely to fall into poverty or descend into extreme poverty and social exclusion.

ILO recommendation 202, voted almost unanimously in June 2012, defines social protection floors as sets of basic social security guarantees that should ensure -as a minimum- that over the life cycle, all those in need have access to essential health care and to basic income security which together secure effective access to goods and services defined as necessary at the national level.

The ILO has identified social security as a value investment of equitable growth as it provides an automatic stabilizer in times of crisis, and recommended that the Arab countries enhance their social protection before the financial crisis hit them fully. The provision of social services at a decent standard is essential to providing the opportunity and tools to enable a decent life for everyone, sharing the yields of growth for broad sustainable development, which has been shown to increase productive activity.

The provision of unemployment benefits and other social security benefits (such as old age pensions, sick leaves, maternity leaves and coverage for people disabled from working) is another cornerstone of social stability and the prevention of poverty. Without income support and other social security provisions, any external shock can quickly lead to poverty especially if there is a lack of quality services provided. Monitoring this benchmark helps assess the social security situation.

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