AC 22 | Country Event Jordan – Interlinkages between social justice and sustainable development in Jordan
Putting social justice and inclusiveness at the core of sustainable development agendas in the Mediterranean was the focus of discussion of the second Country Event of the EuroMeSCo Annual Conference “Towards more social justice and inclusiveness in the Mediterranean” in Amman on 28 June 2022.
The event welcomed around 50 participants from across the region, including representatives from think tanks, academic institutions, government, civil society organisations, and international organisations as well as EU officials in view of discussing common regional challenges and contributing to policy shaping in the region.
The plenary session focused on social justice and inclusiveness as part of the sustainable development agendas in the Mediterranean. It aimed to approach the challenges and opportunities in a comprehensive manner, exploring the environmental, social, and economic aspects. Regional economic challenges were discussed, with a focus on the private sector and its lack of dynamism, low wages, high unemployment, and a prevalent informal sector offering precarious conditions, low security, and irregular income. Raising salaries was presented as a matter of priority, as well as removing red tape of overregulated markets in order to boost trade and promoting sincere participation in social dialogue. Ensuring better public services was underlined as a paramount step towards more inclusive societies, calling for improved social protection systems which provide basic goods and services for the poorest segment of the population and also for those who have slightly more resources but are still facing hardships. Experts also pointed to skills development as solution to the current mismatch between skills and knowledge on the one hand and the current market demands on the other. The importance of attracting investment was stressed to tap into the potential the digital economy presents and to mitigate the inequality gaps digitalization can cause between countries and within them.
Experts assessed how the region has been severely affected by food shortages and inflation following the pandemic and the Ukraine war in a context of extreme climate conditions which have impacted food production. Experts agreed on the urgency of this situation, calling for immediate action by investing in countries most affected by food price for short-term and long-term solutions. They underpinned the need for investment to improve and diversify the agricultural sector and tap into its potential as a provider of decent jobs. A change in consumption patterns and waste reduction was discussed in order to ensure greater resource efficiency, including better management of water resources.
The need to consider the gender perspective in any analysis of food security was stressed as women tend to suffer most in times of crises, but they are also key agents of change. The role of youth and civil society as drivers of social innovation was also underscored. When it comes to food security, no country is truly self-sufficient anymore therefore enhanced cross-border cooperation is needed to address the crisis as well as diplomatic tables to put an end to the conflict.
The event was co-organised by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) and the West Asia North Africa Institute (WANA), in the framework of the EuroMeSCo: Connecting the dots, a project co-funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Regional Programmes Neighbourhood South Unit (DG NEAR B2) and the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) that aims to connect the dots between diverse stakeholders – think tanks, experts, civil society, the private sector, academia – as well as between the EU, its Southern Neighbours and the wider region.
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