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HBKU’s CPP launches Social Policy Research Forum to examine lessons learned from pandemic responses

HBKU’s CPP launches Social Policy Research Forum to examine lessons learned from pandemic responses

Tribune News Network
Doha
The College of Public Policy (CPP) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) launched its new Annual Social Policy Research Forum recently, which examined how lessons learned from social responses to the pandemic in the MENA region can be translated into better social policies.
The Program for Social Policy Evaluation and Research (PROSPER) hosted the first annual forum, which brought together scholars to discuss the social policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the MENA region, which have been exacerbated and exposed by its economic and social consequences. They also discussed the social contract and the future of social policy. Dr. Anis Ben Brik, associate professor at CPP and founding director of PROSPER, presided over the event.
Academics, researchers, social policy analysts, and experts from the London School of Economics, King’s College London, The American University in Cairo, The American University of Beirut, and the University of Rabat were among those who spoke. Speakers from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), UNICEF Middle East and North Africa, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA), the International Labor Organization (ILO) Regional Office for Arab States, the Arab Barometer, and the German Development Institute were also present.
The research forum featured two sessions, the first of which was titled “Social Policy Responses to the Pandemic in the MENA Region.” Speakers discussed the key factors that account for the region’s wide range of social policy responses, as well as the lessons that can be drawn. Examining the gaps in service delivery and inequalities that have been revealed, particularly among the most vulnerable populations, policy responses and the role of social protection in mitigating the effects of COVID-19 came to the fore.
Session Two, titled “The Road Ahead,” looked at what the welfare state and social contract might look like after the pandemic, as well as what steps governments should take now to ensure that lessons are translated into better social policies.
“The pandemic has profound social implications for the vast majority of households and is testing the institutional and governance constraints of MENA countries,” said Dr. Ben Brik, who also moderated the discussions. This provides an opportunity to investigate which capacity deficits are truly structural and which can be overcome through a combination of technical assistance and political will.
“Our aim through these important discussions is to help inform institutional responses that can ensure we emerge from the pandemic having learned lessons that actually reshape the goals, design, and implementation of social policies. As an outcome of our first forum, participants will be contributing to a policy-oriented report that addresses the issues.”
Dr. Leslie Pal, founding dean of CPP, commented on the launch of the Social Policy Research Forum, saying, “The forum adds significantly to HBKU’s efforts as a research university to contribute to policy-focused responses to challenges.” One of CPP’s responsibilities is to facilitate dialogue that critically examines these challenges and seeks evidence-based solutions. The response to this outstanding forum will provide impetus to engage with like-minded institutions in the social policy community on a regional and global scale in order to identify effective public policies.”
Please visit cpp.hbku.edu.qa for more information on the College of Public Policy’s work

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