Social protection policies can help address the multifaceted nature of child poverty and improve children’s well-being, especially in the areas of education, health and nutrition. Providing adequate social protection to children is particularly relevant in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), as multidimensional child poverty remains a major concern in the region. Moreover, a large share of the population of MENA will soon transition into their most productive age, clearing the way for a demographic dividend.
Child poverty remains an issue of concern in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Although the region has made significant progress in reducing extreme poverty and improving health, education and child survival rates, progress has been uneven. Higher-income countries have advanced more than lower-middle-income ones, and those impacted by humanitarian conflicts have seen reversals in child well-being indicators.
The “Fiscal space for child-sensitive social protection in the MENA region” study aims to assess how MENA countries can expand financing of child-sensitive social protection financing in a sustainable manner, and how to create fiscal space and accelerate investments in social protection while highlighting the limitations of deficit financing and other revenue-increasing alternatives.
Social security and taxation operate jointly to overcome individual deprivations, reduce income inequality and promote development, bringing ‘taxation into social protection analysis and planning’. There are several ways in which governments can create fiscal space to finance social protection programmes (e.g. social pensions). The idea is to create new sources of revenue – sustainable in the long-run – which can be used to finance social pensions, without building new liabilities and without distorting macroeconomic stability.
A decade has passed since the World Bank introduced its social risk management framework and launched its first social protection strategy. During that time, the work of the World Banks social protection sector has grown, innovated and played a critical role in supporting developing countries, most notably in managing the social impacts of the recent global economic crisis.
Principles of Child and Gender Sensitive Social Protection