Inclusive Social Protection for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Egypt

A roundtable discussion on evidence-based approaches for extension of social protection to refugees and asylum seekers.

14 February 2024
Group Photo of conference attendees standing in front of screen
UNICEF Egypt/2024

CAIRO, 14 February 2024 – Today, the Economic Research Forum (ERF) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) concluded a roundtable discussion on “Inclusive Social Protection Systems for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Egypt”. The event brought together key government partners including the Ministries of Social Solidarity, Planning and Economic Development, Finance, Labour, Foreign Affairs, the National Organization for Social Insurance, the Universal Health Insurance Authority, along with UN Agencies, development practitioners, academics and other critical stakeholders. The roundtable is part of the ERF-UNICEF partnership, aimed at driving policy dialogues for evidence-informed programming and policy on inclusive social protection for refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt. The initiative is being jointly implemented in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the World Food Programme (WFP). A key component of this partnership is the production and dissemination of six policy papers addressing the inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers into Egypt’s national systems for social assistance, health insurance and social insurance. These papers seek to provide practical solutions for implementation, including cost scenarios, sustainable financing models, and clear recommendations for the needed adjustments to policy and legal frameworks. With the number of registered refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt reaching 473,000 as of December 2023, of which 38 per cent are children, the urgency to address the challenges is more critical than ever. These vulnerable children and their families face limited livelihood opportunities and difficulties in meeting basic needs. Speakers at the roundtable discussed the importance of adopting an inclusive and holistic approach to social protection for refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt. Participants also highlighted that such interventions, which often lead to wider system-strengthening outcomes, can benefit both Egyptians and non-Egyptians while supporting overall shock-responsiveness of social protection systems.

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