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28 Jun

WANA hosts event to promote social justice, inclusion in Mediterranean

Amman - Wednesday, 28 June 2022 -- The West Asia-North Africa (WANA) Institute has co-organised an annual event titled "Towards More Social Justice and Inclusion in the Mediterranean," which is part of the EuroMeSCo: Connecting the Dots project, co-funded by the European Union and the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed).

In remarks at the opening ceremony, Maria Hadjitheodosiou, Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to Jordan said "in recent years, we have witnessed many challenges to social justice and inclusiveness both in the Mediterranean and in Europe, and accentuated for example by circumstances linked to the war in Syria and Russia’s war in Ukraine. The presence of large number of refugees and displaced people in host countries like Jordan places a heavy toll on the absorption capacity of the social sectors. But it is in times like these that is most important to recall that fairness, equality of access, and solidarity are at the core of a strong and resilient social contract".

The Programme Manager of the EuroMeSCo project, Jenny Gilbert said "Today’s event, is the 2nd of a cycle of 5 events, that together will constitute EuroMeSCo’s Annual Conference, and we'll be looking in particular into the intersections of environmental, social and economic development, at a time of significant climate-induced risks, paying special attention to vulnerable groups".

The session ended with guiding remarks from her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint el Hassan, President of the Royal Scientific Society and a leading advocate for science as a catalyst for change, who advocated for science as it is the common language to address equitable and sustainable development for all.

HRH stressed that it is a matter of importance to see that science fights social injustices. "Science is a key enabler of evidence-based decision-making and policy formulation offering interdisciplinary mechanisms and allowing us to speak a common language to assesses the challenges, devise solutions and advance discovery and innovation". Her highness also highlighted her vision of "science for peace" which is a call for the promise of hope, opportunity, and equitable access to resources.

Putting social justice and inclusiveness at the core of sustainable development agendas in the Mediterranean was the focus of discussion among representatives from think tanks, academic institutions, government, civil society organizations, and business community representatives as well as EU officials.

During the plenary session, moderated by Majd Al Naber the Manager of the Sustainable Development Division at the WANA Institute, Mary Kawar, former Jordanian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, discussed employment in countries of the region who are offering precarious employment, not under the "platform workers" thus they are less secure, irregular income and work under precarious conditions. "The problem in the Arab regions was exacerbated by COVID, but not new. The economies were growing pre-2010 but were not inclusive, a chance that was not utilised," she said.

Kawar also discussed the importance of the private sector that needs to be revived to ensure more people are participating and more people are benefiting.

Engineer Nabil Assaf, the FAO Resident Representative in Jordan, put forward the lack of investment issues, in food and energy during COVID, thus the sudden and rapid end of COVID caused sudden acceleration of the economy accompanied with high demand and need for food and energy which was not available.

Haizam Fernandez, Senior Analyst, Mediterranean and Arab World highlighted the importance of social justice around the Mediterranean, with focus on human security and asked the participants about what has changed during the decade since 2010.

He highlighted the human security concept which refers to three types of freedoms, freedom from want, fear and indignity; it puts focus on the person not the state, security of people, protecting what is most valuable to the human.

AbdelKader El Khissassi, Deputy Secretary General of UfM, focused on the importance of cooperation between the two shores of the Mediterranean to solve issues related to the necessity of inclusiveness of public policies.

The general discussion revolved around three cornerstones of sustainable development: environmental, economic and social aspects, emphasising that finding a balanced formula between the intersections of these cornerstones is necessary to achieve sustainability and the necessity of well-enforced policies.

Reem AlHhaddadin, Researcher at the WANA Institute moderated another session on the linkages between social justice and sustainable development in Jordan. Papers were presented by Diana AlAthamneh and Dina El Heyari from EDAMA, and Caroline Zubel an economist at Centre for Social and Economic Research.

EuroMeSCo is the main network of research centers and think tanks in the Euro-Mediterranean area. Founded in 1996, in the aftermath of the Barcelona Declaration, the network currently comprises 115 institutes from 30 European and Southern Mediterranean countries.



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