As part of its efforts and programs toward promoting social protection in Jordan and the MENA region, ARDD launched the “Inclusive Social Security Week” to highlight the achievements of the protection system in Jordan and the Arab world, and to draw attention to the gaps and challenges facing the Arab region, Jordan in particular, in light of the proposed amendments to the Jordanian Social Security Law.
The week’s activities included specialized training workshops on social protection with experts and stakeholders in Jordan, Tunisia, and Lebanon, within the framework of the regional Inclusive Social Security Policy Forum for Middle East and North Africa (ISSPF MENA), in partnership with the Development Pathways and members of the regional forum in Lebanon and Tunisia.
The forum also brought together main stakeholders from the government, civil society, and international institutions to address the important issues facing the efforts to reach inclusive social security and protection, the current gaps that limit the access of persons with disabilities to social protection, and the plans and strategies necessary to address them at the national level through the national dialogue session on the current and future reforms of the social security system in Jordan, the expert panel and the round table meetings on the right of persons with disabilities in Jordan to social protection.
ARDD began the activities of the Inclusive Social Security Policy Week by issuing a statement calling for concerted efforts to build an inclusive social security system in Jordan, and in which it presented a set of recommendations to achieve this goal, including the need for cooperation among official and private national stakeholders and the civil society, as well as with the international bodies supporting the Jordan compact and working together to ensure that individuals and societies benefit from inclusive social security, and for the concerned authorities in Jordan to invest in building and designing a comprehensive and inclusive social security system that supports equitable economic growth in Jordan and works to strengthen the social contract in the country by rebuilding trust between the state and individuals in this regard.
The ISSP MENA signature event, “Shifting the Paradigm: Building Inclusive Social Security Systems in the Middle East and North Africa”, started with technical training on social protection in Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia; it lasted for two days and shed light on global best practices in this field, how to apply them at national level, and means of advocacy in this regard.
The event was inaugurated by representatives of the supporting institutions and civil society organizations participating in the forum: Shea McClanahan, from Development Pathways, Ghada Abdel Tawab, from the Ford Foundation, Marie-Noel Abi Baghi from the Center for Social Sciences for Research, Samar Muhareb, from ARDD, and Shafiq bin Rawan, representing the Tunisian Economy Observatory. They stressed the importance of this event, especially in light of the current conditions in the Arab region, the need to invest in inclusive social security systems in the Arab world, and the role of civil society institutions in promoting principles of transparency and accountability in this regard.
A national dialogue to reach inclusive social security took place on Wednesday; taking part were: Director-General of the Social Security Corporation Dr. Hazem Al-Rahahleh, Director General of the Phoenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies Ahmed Awad, National Projects Coordinator at the International Labor Organization Gulnar Al-Kurdi, the main specialist in social policies at Development Pathways Dr. Stephen Kidd, and international expert on labor issues Hamada Abu Nijmeh.
The dialogue discussed the proposed amendments to the Social Security Law, ways to ensure all the workforce in Jordan have access to social security, the basis on which the law was amended, the importance of government commitment to achieving the desired inclusive security, and of its support for the Social Security Fund, which is done by allocating a sum from its budget.
Also discussed was the general state of the country, and the need to search for a better model to move from the social assistance system, represented by the National Aid Fund, to the social insurance system without affecting the beneficiaries of the National Aid Fund and careful for the participation in social security not to be perceived as a negative incentive.
Social security is a basic, non-negotiable human right independent of the power relations within society, it is a commitment of the state toward its people and an economic and social right that differs from civil and political rights.
On Thursday, the workshop “From ink on paper to work – the right of persons with disabilities to social protection” was held, hosting Director of Independent Living at the Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rasha Al-Adwan the head of the Legal Unit at the Social Security Committee, Dr. Shaman Al-Majali, UNRWA Social Services Officer Rahma Abdel Rahman and Development Pathways senior specialist in social policies Dr. Stephen Kidd.
The workshop concluded with the need to create an inclusive protection system for persons with disabilities and to include them in all education, rehabilitation, health, and rearing services, considering the high financial costs in civil institutions and the inability of parents to keep pace with the costs of securing such services for them.
Participants noted that we are all at risk of becoming disabled, and this necessitates a new start and a real political will for change, to ensure that people with disabilities are granted their rights, are included in protection systems, and are integrated into the workforce, adding that we need to think about rebuilding and investing in an inclusive protection system, which means investing in the prosperity of the homeland.
“The journey is still at its beginning, and we may need years to reach inclusive social security, especially since there is a slowdown in the inclusion of all the workforce under the umbrella of social security,” said Rahahleh, adding that “in 2010, the institution covered 55 percent of workers, and today it covers 65 percent of them.”
The forum participants stressed the need to believe in an inclusive social security system and endeavor to achieve it.
Experts concluded that providing social security has nothing to do with the wealth or poverty of the state, but with serious intention and political will, especially since the importance of inclusive social security does not lie in helping the poor and protecting the disabled only, it also contributes to the recovery of the economy and building a strong social contract between the state and citizens, restores trust between the two parties, and takes the state to the sources of power and prosperity, for it and its societies.