Building a Shock-Responsive National Social Protection System

SPRI Global is happy to support UNICEF Jordan in carrying out a study on “Building a Shock-Responsive National Social Protection System”. The main objectives of this project are:

  • To assess Jordan’s response during the COVID-19 highlighting the gaps and lessons learned.
  • To map the social protection system in order to provide an overview and analysis of policy frameworks and related institutional arrangements for social protection, risk management, climate action, and humanitarian response in Jordan.
  • Provide a diagnostic tool in order to analyse the different aspects of the social protection systems (policy frameworks, financing, coordination, targeting, registration & MIS, benefit delivery mechanism, implementation capacities, M&E) that needs to be adjusted to make it more shock responsive.
  • Guide the process of developing a shock-responsive social protection system for Jordan, along with a costed action plan and M&E framework taking into consideration that the system should be gender-sensitive and climate-responsive as well as highlight the implications for the design of shock-responsive social protection programming and planning.

Jordan is a lower middle-income country with a population of 11.1 million inhabitants[1] including 760,000 refugees and asylum seekers[2]. Jordan has one of the smaller economies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which features lack of natural resources and water scarcity making it heavily dependent foreign investment and foreign aid. Additionally, and like many other countries in the MENA region, the Kingdom of Jordan has been confronted by multiple shocks and emergencies such as economic crises, regional conflicts leading to influx of refugees, and recently the COVID-19 pandemic. Such shocks can have dire consequences on any country context, but without the appropriate and necessary risk management and shock responsive measures in place, these shocks could have severe detrimental and long-lasting impacts especially on the most vulnerable portions of the population.

The social protection system in Jordan is not yet well-equipped to deal with such covariate shocks affecting multiple groups and households, although it has responded quickly to the COVID-19 crisis by introducing a series of social protection measures to mitigate the negative socio-economic consequences on the population’s most vulnerable groups. It has introduced new coordination and financing mechanisms and applied a large number of interventions in the MENA region, across different pillars of the national social protection system. However, there were several challenges including the issue of targeting, coordination (especially between the national system and humanitarian assistance programs), gender-specific vulnerabilities, scalability, among others. Also, the country was not prepared financially and technically to deal with a crisis of such an intensity that it led to the shrinking public resources and to increasing the pressure on the existing social protection system. During the COVID-19 crisis, the economy experienced a contraction in real growth by 1.8% in 2020 and the unemployment rate skyrocketed to 25 percent in first quarter of 2021.

The recent challenges have emphasized the urgency of further building the Jordanian social protection system in a way that it is resilient, transformative and well prepared to face shocks and crisis in the future.  The Jordan National Social Protection Strategy 2019-2025 marked an important milestone in the development of a solid social protection system in Jordan, and with ongoing national efforts and international support, the time is ideal to make sure that efforts are optimized into developing a social protection system for Jordan that is shock-responsive and sustainable.

In order to carry out this project, the SPRI team will undertake an extensive literature review looking for best practices, as well as a qualitative data collection process in-field engaging key governmental, international and local stakeholders.

[1] World Bank 2021.

[2] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 2022.

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