National institutions are calling for their inclusion in the government’s Social Protection Response Committee


April 25, 2020

AMMAN - National institutions working in the field of social protection have called on the Prime Minister Omar Razzaz to expand the social protection committee set up by the government as part of its national response to the Coronavirus crisis.

Their aim, as they stated, is to help evaluate the impacts of the various committee decisions on these groups and to ensure the complementarity of work on the ground. They also seek to contribute to the design of different scenarios that will determine the response mechanisms in the period ahead.

These institutions comprised: the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW), NCFA, the Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Higher Population Council (HPC), the Institute for Family Health / King Hussein Foundation and other civil society institutions.

In a memorandum sent to the Prime Minster, the signatory institutions affirmed that they can contribute to setting policies to confront the social impacts of the Corona pandemic and address the basic needs that have not yet been adequately handled based on their long experience in the field of social protection, especially as the current stage purely focuses on the economic aspects and the livelihoods of the people.

The memorandum noted that "the challenges that the Kingdom is going through at this stage  require a holistic approach, especially with regard to social challenges, taking into account the impact of the Corona response planning on some groups that are most vulnerable to the pandemic and its compounding repercussions, particularly since the social protection system in Jordan depends heavily on the complementarity of roles and responsibilities between the government and national institutions and civil society organizations ”.

"The past few weeks experience has revealed that in focusing on immediate cash and in-kind assistance - despite their importance – we have failed to notice other basic needs of the most vulnerable and at risk categories, such as social and psychological needs and access to basic health services," stated the memorandum.

"We have a full understanding of the role that we can play. We have a key role in ensuring the rights of the groups most vulnerable to violation and exclusion in general and at exceptional circumstances," institutions signing the memorandum said.

On behalf of the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW), the Secretary General, Salma Al-Nims, said that civil society institutions collectively realize the importance and urgency of opening the door for collaboration between them and government agencies, especially in the current situation. Being a key partner to the government and a supporter of its efforts with their capabilities, expertise and resources, the government can make use of their support by giving them space within partnership frameworks to add a qualitative enhancement to the social protection system, especially in the field of legal and psychological support and case follow-up, taking into account the public health and safety conditions included within the Corona pandemic response framework.

Regarding the area of economic empowerment, Al-Nims explained that the economic consequences of the Corona pandemic will not be limited to the short term only but would have medium and long term effects which will cause a large number of vulnerable categories to become more marginalized and vulnerable, such as women, older people, people with disabilities and the refugees.

Al-Nims added that this “calls for strengthening partnership among the government, civil society institutions, the private sector and the Social Security Department by providing a wider space for dialogue and consultation, and developing practical scenarios to face such consequences that will have a doubling effect on the most marginalized groups. In this context, breadwinning women should be prioritized, empowered or provided with assistance, women working in the unorganized and the private sector should be protected against violations committed by employers, and a detailed list of women working in small and medium enterprises should be prepared to ensure their inclusion in future economic recovery processes.”

"(JNCW) and other national institutions should be engaged with the Social Protection Response Committee, and they should have an active role in the management of funds with respect to the objects of expenditure," stressed Al-Nims.

(JNCW) had recently prepared a paper, in cooperation with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, that included recommendations to protect women and enable them to access basic services within two main pillars, the first of which regarding social protection and the second related to the short and long-term economic effects of the Corona pandemic.

In their paper, (JNCW) discussed key recommendations with civil society institutions to reach common understanding that takes into account the barriers and challenges that women face on the ground under the lockdown, how they can access protection services, legal advice, justice and health and reproductive services, in addition to mechanisms for providing in-kind and cash assistance for families in need.

Key (JNCW) recommendations included: Adopting a holistic perspective of social protection to be able to form a strategic vision that includes, in addition to in-kind and financial aid, protection, care, shelter and health services, including reproductive and psychological health; and giving special attention to the categories most in need of protection, such as the elderly, persons with disabilities, children, battered women or GBV survivors, migrant workers, sons and daughters of Jordanian women, female refugee and others.