© 2022 Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development2023
Inclusive Social Security Policy Forum (ISSPF) is a network and space for civil society organisations and individuals across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region challenging the dominant narratives and making the case for inclusive social security.
Shifting the Paradigm in the MENA region: from poor relief to inclusive social security
Across the MENA region, social insurance schemes tend to provide support solely to those in the formal economy, while the rest of the population is only offered poor quality programmes for “the poor”. The dominant social security paradigm across the region is a bifurcated model that excludes a large proportion of the population living on middle – but still low and insecure – incomes from social security, the so-called “missing middle”. The alienation of this key group from social security – and other public services – has become a major challenge across middle-income countries in the region, potentially undermining trust in the state, and is increasingly a key source of public unrest.
There is a dire need to shift the narrative on delivering social protection in the region, to move away from the prevailing old-fashioned poor relief model and toward a modern, inclusive social security model.
What we do and how we work
ISSPF aims to de-mystify complex concepts in social protection and social security by improving understanding of the qualitative differences between different types of social protection programmes and their implications for achieving broader national economic and social development goals.
Through the network, ISSPF provides access to research on inclusive social security, practical tools to support organisations as they engage in national debates, opportunities to participate in trainings and events on inclusive social protection, and a blog and news space to follow and weigh in on pressing issues.