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UN launches Socio-Economic Framework for coronavirus response in Kingdom

By Rana Husseini - Jul 22,2020 - Last updated at Jul 22,2020

The United Nations Country Team on Tuesday launched its Socio-Economic Framework (SEF) for the COVID-19 Response in Jordan (Petra photo)

AMMAN — The United Nations Country Team on Tuesday launched its Socio-Economic Framework (SEF) for the COVID-19 response in Jordan.

The SEF will serve as the UN’s roadmap to support the government of Jordan’s efforts to address the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 by repurposing and scaling up the UN’s development response in Jordan, said UNHCR Representative in Jordan Dominik Bartsch. 

Bartsch, who was addressing a press conference at the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) headquarters in Amman, added that the framework complements the national COVID-19 health plan and humanitarian assistance for refugee populations in camps, urban settings and vulnerable host communities.

The framework, according to Bartsch, includes five pillars: Protecting health, protecting people, economic recovery, macro-economics and multilateral cooperation, and social cohesion and resilience. 

For each pillar, Bartsch said, the UN has assessed the impacts of the crisis to help understand what is needed to simultaneously address immediate and medium-term needs, while not losing sight of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Also speaking during the press conference via videoconference, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan Anders Pedersen said: “Few countries in the world have responded as effectively and as efficiently to the impact of the COVID-19 as Jordan.”

Pederson also praised the Jordanian authorities for “successfully minimising the number of infections and deaths, while progressively taking on board the urgent socioeconomic needs of its people”. 

“Only by working together can we forge a strong recovery, including to live up to the Agenda 2030 promise, of leaving no one behind,” Pedersen stressed.

Sara Ferrer-Olivella, UNDP Resident Representative and technical co-lead for the development of the SEF, stated during the press conference that the COVID-19 has “revealed widening cracks in our societies, economies and planet”.

“Building more resilient social, economic and environmental systems has to be a must and not an afterthought,” Ferrer- Olivella said, adding that that “recovering better is not an option — it is a necessity”.

To do this, Ferrer-Olivella continued, the UN knows that “we must work closely with partners to leverage programming, policy and convening assets with the institutional capacities, expertise and financial resources brought by others”. 

Meanwhile, Zola Dowell, head of the Jordan Office for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told the press that “we need to prepare better and report better during such difficult times”.

“The COVID-19 will not end anytime soon and we need to be prepared for any new infections, lockdowns and loss of jobs,” Dowell said.

Turning to domestic violence during COVID-19, Dowell said that access to shelters and other services by victims is of extreme importance “regardless of the restrictions that might be imposed by the COVID-19”.

UN Women Jordan Representative Ziad Sheikh said during the press meet that it is important to recognise the COVID-19 pandemic has “deepened the problem of gender-based violence in the world and Jordan”.

“We should take this opportunity to explore recovery options in an open manner to benefit everyone, especially that women were hit the hardest by this pandemic,” Sheikh said. 

UNICEF Deputy Representative Ettie Higgins said: “we need to be always prepared in times of crisis.”

“We have to focus on our response preparation measures for the protection of women and children to ensure that it is implemented in the best manner,” Higgins stressed

The SEF includes five “accelerators” to fuel the Kingdom’s recovery and support a more equal, prosperous and forward leaning Jordan. 

They include: Equity and inclusiveness to tackle both new and pre-existing vulnerabilities; an integral gender focus to address gender gaps and structural inequities; digital transformation for innovation and progress in public and social services as well as business and economic initiatives; sustainability that emphasises green solutions for a better future; and preparedness to strengthen systems to efficiently maintain access to health, public and basic services, education, social assistance and business during times of crisis, according to a press release by UNDP.

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