The First Regional Conference on "Social Welfare Policies and Achieving Social Security"
Monday، 27 February 2023 - 12:00 AM
Under the auspices of the President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Social Solidarity Minister Nevine el-Kabbaj inaugurated on Sunday 26/2/2023 the first regional conference on "Social Welfare Policies and Achieving Community Security", in partnership with the League of Arab States and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), in the presence of Arab Ministers of Social Affairs and with the wide participation of relevant ministries in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The conference aims to exchange visions, practical ideas on social welfare policies and ways to achieve social security in light of contemporary changes.
The conference discussed international and regional practices in implementing social welfare policies, the experiences of countries on alternative care systems, and the formulation of a future vision for social welfare policies to achieve social security.
Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine el-Kabbaj opened the activities of the conference in the presence of Counselor Aladdin Fouad, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Dr. Reda Hegazy, Minister of Education of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Ambassador Dr. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the Social Affairs Sector of the League of Arab States, and Dr. Hector Al-Hajjar, Minister of Social Affairs. In the brotherly Republic of Lebanon, Mr. Osama bin Ahmed Khalaf Al-Asfour, Minister of Social Development in the brotherly Kingdom of Bahrain, Dr. Abdullah Al-Wahaibi, First Undersecretary of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Mr. Jeremy Hopkins, representative of UNICEF, in addition to members of the House of Representatives and Senate, representatives of foreign organizations And civil society institutions, and a group of experts and public figures interested in the field of social care in society.
For his part, UNICEF Representative in Egypt Jeremy Hopkins clarified in his speech that the conference is aimed at sharing experience, contributing to evidence base on social care systems in the MENA region and promoting knowledge production in the field.
The UNICEF representative highlighted that the cooperation with the Ministry of Social Solidarity included enhancing the provision of quality child protection services. Those consist of alternative care for children, social welfare services, positive parenting support and access to social protection interventions.
Hopkins said: "Supported by UNICEF, in April 2021, The Ministry of Social Solidarity launched the National Strategy for Alternative Care for Children. Building on the national strategy, this conference will contribute to strengthening the child protection system within a broader agenda of social care reform."
The UNICEF representative added that Egypt had achieved a "remarkable progress on many child rights indications" such as nutrition, reflected in a decline in stunting, wasting, underweight and overweight. Also, there was a drop in violence against children and harmful practices.
Nevertheless, Hopkins warned that "public financing of child protection systems and services in the MENA region remain limited. Infrastructure of social services and workforce are inadequate and largely under resourced. It is essential that domestic resources be allocated for the reform of social care systems and for consistent and sustainable international investment in support. A critical part of the landscape which needs to be in place for the effective public financing of social care is a more sophisticated understanding of current investments and budget allocations."
The activities of the first day of the first regional conference organized by the Ministry of Social Solidarity on "Social Welfare Policies and Achieving Social Security" witnessed three sessions related to social welfare systems.
The first session
The first session of the conference, which was held under the title "Social Welfare Systems, Vision and Objectives", witnessed discussions on social care systems in terms of vision, objectives, structure and mechanisms for linking social care systems and childcare.
Dr. Shereen Hussein, Professor at the Policies and Studies Unit for Health and Social Care Systems in the United Kingdom, reviewed the systems and structures of social care in Europe, the philosophy of empowering the individual and embracing people with disabilities, social care financing systems, as well as the role of social insurance and public taxes in that.
The second session
The second session of the conference witnessed discussions on "Financing Social Welfare Systems", where Ulugbek Olimov, Regional Director of Public Finance, UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, reviewed the importance of investing in social welfare systems, allowing for the reallocation of resources to follow up on children and secure their access to comprehensive and specialized services.
He referred to the main steps for financing the welfare reform, represented in the feasibility study, planning and securing financing, implementing the budget, and sustaining financing.
The third session
Nevine el-Kabbaj, Minister of Social Solidarity, chaired the discussions of the third session, which was held under the title "Linking Social Welfare Systems and Social Protection", which witnessed a number of axes.
Al-Kabbaj emphasized the overlap and complementarity between social protection and social care, and that economic empowerment is an important part of social protection, explaining that poverty is confronted from a multidimensional perspective.
The activities of the second day witnessed discussion sessions on the alternative care system, mechanisms for strengthening and organizing social services, in addition to discussing mechanisms for integration and providing specialized services through social care systems.
The fourth and final session on the second day discussed social welfare policies and achieving social security.
The Closing session
Nevine el-Kabbaj, Minister of Social Solidarity and permanent member of the Executive Office of the Council of Arab Ministers of Social Affairs, presided over the closing session of the conference's activities, during which the conference's recommendations were announced.