From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have shown global solidarity for jointly overcoming this unprecedented crisis. The multifaceted impacts of COVID-19, going far beyond health sector, have highlighted the need for an inclusive and sustainable social protection system, particularly for the already vulnerable groups. Social protection is also considered as a structural entry point for reform in relation to poverty alleviation, reduction of inequality, and building resilience of individuals and societies, and eventually to shaping a truly transformative recovery and accelerating the progress towards the 2030 Agenda. Although there has been progress across regions, these efforts must be complemented by a political discussion to provide impetus for strengthened and institutionalized exchange of knowledge and expertise among countries in this critical area. Thus, South-South cooperation provides a promising framework as one of the effective models of development cooperation. However, the full potential of South-South and triangular cooperation remains untapped, particularly in the Arab region.
Therefore, the main objective of the side event, jointly organized by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), on the margins of the 2021 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), is to reclaim the potential of intra and inter-regional South-South cooperation in advancing more inclusive and sustainable social protection systems in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and during the Decade of Action, and discuss social protection in the Arab region as a structural entry point for poverty alleviation, reduction of inequality, and building resilience of individuals and societies.
This event will bring together a number of national and regional actors from the Arab region and beyond, including policy makers, experts and civil society representatives to showcase and discuss reforms in social protections systems, and how the success and achievements can be strengthened and transferred to other countries of the region. The event is expected to result in concrete recommendations, including for the Arab region.