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2 June 2021 Call for Researchers for the Joint Study Group 2021 on Boosting Social Protection Reforms in the MENA Region

As part of the project EuroMeSCo: Connecting the Dots, co-funded by the European Union and the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed), we are opening calls for researchers to take part in five different Joint Study Groups.

The EuroMeSCo Joint Study Groups 2021 will be made up of four Authors, including a Coordinator, who will jointly produce a Policy Study over a period of 6-7 months. Interested researchers may apply as Author or as Author and Coordinator to each Joint Study Group. In both cases, they will have to complete the online form and submit their application by 25 June (included).

Here is a brief description of the rationale of this Joint Study Group:

Boosting Social Protection Reforms in the MENA Region

Framed by the European Commission’s new Agenda for the Mediterranean as a key pillar of “an economy that works for people”, social protection systems in the Southern Neighbourhood have been highly challenged by COVID-19. The pandemic exposed their deficiencies, including the poor coverage of social safety nets and the prevalence of the informal economy. Reforming social protection schemes in order to reach specific vulnerable groups has therefore become a priority.

The Policy Study should take stock of the pre-pandemic social protection systems in the region, analyse the social protection responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and explore how the current crisis can be turned into an opportunity to reshape them in a more inclusive way to target particularly vulnerable groups such as workers in the informal economy, women and youth. While doing so, it should also focus on the ways in which the EU can effectively support social protection reform in the Southern Neighbourhood.

As specified in the working documents attached to the Joint Communication on a Renewed Partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood, the EU committed to enhancing its support to the deployment of a modern and just social protection system in Morocco and Tunisia, rolling out its grant support programme to design sustainable and comprehensive social assistance systems, and a specific “shock response” component to address the impact of the current financial crisis in Jordan and Lebanon. Therefore, the Policy Study could include specific developments and provide recommendations to the EU on how to better support reform in those countries.

The other four Joint Study Groups will be dealing with the following topics: Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia: A Comparative Perspective on Maghreb Countries Migration Cooperation with their West African Neighbours; Artificial Intelligence, Law Enforcement and Security Agencies in the MENA Region: Risks and Opportunities; Assessing the Job Creation Potential of Social Economy in the MENA Region; and Anticipating and Mitigating Side-Effects: The Road to a Successful Green Transition in the Euro-Mediterranean Region. You may apply to more than one Joint Study Group but may eventually only be selected to join one of them.

See the EuroMeSCo Joint Study Groups 2021 Terms of Reference for more information.