Egypt, UN work to mitigate socio-economic implications of COVID-19 outbreak



Wed, 29 Apr 2020 - 01:41 GMT


Wed, 29 Apr 2020 - 01:41 GMT

During the meeting -Press photo

During the meeting -Press photo

CAIRO – 29 April 2020: Ministry of International Cooperation is working closely with UN agencies to mitigate the socio-economic implications of the Coronavirus outbreak, which would contribute to ensuring that development efforts were not interrupted and were on the right track to achieve their aspired goals, especially the SDGs, Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said Wednesday.

This came during a high- level meeting with the UN to discuss socio-economic impact of the Coronavirus outbreak towards a comprehensive cooperation program.

Al-Mashat chaired the meeting with heads of the four Results Groups of the United Nations Partnership Development Framework (UNPDF) Steering Committee. The meeting was attended by the Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El Saeed, the Minister of Environment Yasmin Fouad, the Minister of Social Solidarity Nevein Elkabbag, President of the National Council for Women Maya Morsi, and UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt Richard Dictus.

The meeting was also attended by Randa Abulhosn, UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt, Menghestab Haile, WFP Representative & Country Director, Nasredin Hag Elamin, FAO Representative, and Gielan Elmeseiri, UN Women Head of Office a.i.

Al-Mashat noted that UNPDF was drafted based on the outcomes of national consultations with 400 stakeholders from Government, the UN, civil society and private sector. The Minister pointed out that the Framework was in line with the Governments vison and Social and Economic Program and with the ministry’s new partnership strategy with development partners, which is based on three main pillars, People at the Core, Projects in Action and Purpose as the Drive, which addressed developmental partnership aiming at achieving SDGs.

The Minister elaborated on the four pillars of the UNPDF, explaining that the Inclusive Economic Development pillar focused on achieving the agreed upon goals targeting sustainable inclusive economic development, creating job opportunities and capacity building. The Social Justice pillar focused on national efforts dedicated to control population growth and to ensure access for all to public services, such as social protection, health, nutrition and education. The Women Empowerment pillar aimed to enhance women’s capabilities and their engagement in leadership positions and in several other economic activities, in addition to supporting their access to education and labor opportunities.

“The Environmental Sustainability and Natural Resources Management pillar sought the effective and constructive management of Egypt’s natural resources and mitigating environmental risks as well as climate change risks. This could be achieved through integrated urban communities, improving poor districts and unofficial areas, using water resources in a more efficient manner and using renewable energy,” she added.

Al-Mashat stressed that it was agreed during the meeting to continue the strategic dialogue between the government and the UN and to enhance ongoing coordination in order to reach a comprehensive plan for cooperation with the UN towards mitigating the socio-economic and health implications of the Coronavirus outbreak and to address the post-Coronavirus post-recovery by collaborating efforts to mitigate the impact on the economy and to support infrastructure, digital transformation and financial inclusiveness for women, which would contribute to creating more job opportunities and ensure the ongoing achievement of SDGs.

In addition, the Minister of Planning & Economic Development chairs the Inclusive Economic Development Results Group, the Minister of Social Solidarity chairs the Social Justice Results Group, the Minister of Environment chairs the Environmental Sustainability and Natural Resources Management Results Group, and the President of the National Council for Women chairs the Women Empowerment Results Group, the four Results Group of the UNPDF.

For her part, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, said that the government response plan that was adopted in Egypt, whether to reduce losses or mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19, is very solid.

El Saeed noted that the full support of Egypt's development partners during this phase is extremely important to mitigate the risks of the Covid-19 crisis and prepare the post-Coronavirus stage.

Egypt’s Minister of Planning explained that the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals in the governorates is crucial to maximize the benefit of the comparative advantages of the Egyptian governorates and regions, and to achieve inclusiveness, sustainable growth and balanced regional development, as one of the main pillars of Egypt's 2030 vision.

The Minister of Environment Yasmin Fouad pointed out that it was important to pay more attention to waste-management workers and to support them by setting up an official sector that would guarantee they obtained their rights. She also stressed that it was important to support women working in the environmental field, especially in natural reserves as some women made natural products that could be sold in the reserves but they need help to be able to display and promote their work through social media means.

Fouad stated that it was important to also address climate change across all development sectors and sustainable development fields and not just efforts from the agriculture and food sectors.

Moreover, El-Kabbag presented the priorities of the Ministry of Social Solidarity to mitigate the implications of the pandemic, whether on the level of social protection, social care or development initiatives, by extending social security networks to include additional households, to include the poorest, most vulnerable and most affected by the crisis, such as unofficial workers, the elderly, those on pension, children without social care, endangered women, those with disabilities and those living in unofficial and remote rural areas, besides ensuring the payment of pensions, automating means of payment, contributing to extending isolated villages with the necessary nutrition and sanitation and hygiene tools, expanding social awareness campaigns, particularly in rural and unofficial areas.
President of the National Council for Women (NCW) Maya Morsi stressed that NCW gave priority to the economic empowerment of women, noting that UN Women commended Egypts efforts to cater for womens needs in Egypts plan to face the novel Coronavirus, as well as presenting policies and proposing programs with regard to the governments emergency response plan, especially addressing womens needs during the virus outbreak, and the report reflecting policies and programs in response to womens needs during the virus outbreak.

Morsi presented several proposals, most importantly to protect women from internet crimes and to lay a unified strategy for communication and awareness about all efforts taken by the state to combat the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

“Egypt has been proactively taking the necessary measures to effectively address the COVID-19 outbreak and to mitigate its socio-economic impact,” UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt Richard Dictus said.

Dictus added that the UN is committed to supporting Egypt in building on, and scaling up, the successes of the economic reform program, and continue to closely work with the Government of Egypt in adjusting to the new reality in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and in realizing the targets set in Egypts Vision 2030 and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Country Director of the World Food Program in Egypt Menghestab Hailey said: “As WFP our immediate focus is to support the government to upscale the national social protection system to protect the vulnerable families with cash transfers primarily targeting families of casual and informal sector workers and female-headed households and other vulnerable communities. He added I would like to congratulate the Government of Egypt for its exemplary response to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus on the Egyptian population, including adopting a gender-sensitive approach.”

“On behalf of the Womens Results group, I would like to underscore our commitment to support the GoE in protecting and sustaining the gains already made to accelerate the achievement of Womens Empowerment, notably in the area of womens leadership and political participation and women economic participation, which the current crisis risks rolling back. In addition, we remain committed to further improving our reporting on results and to ensuring alignment in our approaches as a Results Group,” Head of Office a.i., UN Women Egypt Country Office Gielan Elmessiri.

FAO Representative in Egypt Nasredin Hag Elamin said that there is a need to intensify work in a broader and wider manner between the United Nations organizations working in Egypt, the Egyptian government and all relevant parties, to develop policies and programs in the areas of climate change, food systems, and water issues, in a way that enables Egypt to face COVID-19 pandemic challenges and contributes to achieving the sustainable development goals. He praised the efforts and the precautionary measures undertaken by Egypt in facing the challenges of Coronavirus crisis, that contributed greatly to mitigating the impact of this crisis.

The GoE-UN Joint Steering Committee meeting to review progress on Covid19 response and progress on UN Egypt Partnership Development Framework (208-2022) chaired by the Minister of International Cooperation, emphasized the urgency for an integrated response to Covid19 and proactive measures for a smooth recovery” UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt Randa Abulhassan, said.

The four Ministers, all women, spoke in a unified voice on acting fast to mitigate Covid19 effects and continue to focus and scale up ongoing programs in the areas of social justice and social protection; economic development and prosperity; climate change, natural resources, and food security; women’s social and economic empowerment and protection from gender-based violence.



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