Putting People at the Centre: Assessing the Realities Against Social Protection Frameworks in Jordan Amid Covid-19

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Abstract

Since the early 2000’s, the social protection system in Jordan was subjected to numerous mainstreaming domains. For instance, in 2012, the ILO developed a customized Social Protection Floor (SOCPRO) for Jordan’s labour sector. This was then developed into the production of a National Decent Work Country Program (2018-2022). In addition, UNICEF worked with the Jordanian government to overcome the risks and vulnerabilities that children face through the implementation of a Child-Sensitive Social Protection (CSSP) system. UN Women also played a critical role in the development of a national framework for Gender-Responsive Social Protection (GRSP).
Despite the fact that SOCPRO, CSSP and GRSP frameworks were initiated in the early 2000’s and developed further till these days, yet the full picture portrayed prior to the pandemic shows a dichotomy between the social protection frameworks and the unmet needs on the ground. For instance, when exploring a few indicators of the state of child protection, there are 3.16 million children in Jordan, and one in five are multidimensionally poor. As per the 2016 National Child Labour Survey, over 75,000 children are engaged in economic activities, including nearly 45,000 children who are engaged in hazardous forms of labour. Same results are valid if a closer look is to be made on women’s lives. In fact, a recent report by the World Bank in 2019 mapped how laws affect women throughout their working lives. Jordan ranked 180 of 187 countries covered by the report. The report’s set of indicators include major components of GRSP such as the pension provisions to women, maternity leave policies, women’s ability to manage their assets, the acknowledgment of a woman as a legal “head of household” or “head of family”, etc.
These pre-pandemic facts place the effectiveness of such frameworks under critical examination. Especially that the Jordanian social protection system is placed within a complex context. While the country suffers from a financial crisis, yet living expenses in Jordan are among the highest in the MENA region. This situation should push for better social protection systems. However, The pandemic intensified the hardship on the poor and the most vulnerable in Jordan. As Covid-19 forced the government to introduce new austerity measures and cut some of the social protection entitlements. , The situation is even worse with especially refugees, where data shows that 86% of registered Syrian refugees live below Jordan’s poverty line, which raises significant social protection concerns. In fact, recent reports indicate that the governmental response to the pandemic in Jordan did not consider the most vulnerable as a priority when designing policy responses.
This chapter provides a situation analysis of the state of social protection in Jordan amid and after the pandemic. It examines the mismatch between social protection floors and the actual needs and people’s resilience mechanisms living with a continuous financial crisis. The targeted population is the social protection beneficiaries from the poor and vulnerable people, especially women and children. The chapter focuses on the typologies of policy response to the pandemic and highlights what went well for the sake of social protection beneficiaries and what did not. The captured gaps from the qualitative evidence and policy analysis direct a concise set of policy recommendations to boost the social protection system in Jordan towards being effective and responsive to people’s needs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEU Euromesco Policy Study
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022

Keywords

  • social protection
  • COVID-19
  • pandemic
  • Jordan
  • MENA

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