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    HPC: COVID-19; a stark reminder of struggle against multidimensional poverty

    October 18, 2020

    Amman, Oct. 17 (Petra) – The Higher Population Council (HPC) on Saturday said the coronavirus pandemic is a 'stark reminder' of the need to address all forms of poverty beyond income standards.

    In a statement marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which falls on Oct. 17th each year, the HPC noted that the growing recognition of multidimensional poverty now goes beyond income to include a multitude of deprivations at the individual and household levels, namely health, education and standard of living.

    The council stressed that reducing poverty rates requires integrated multi-sectoral, cost-effective and high-impact policies to address interrelated deprivations.

    The council called for expanding economic participation and creating more employment opportunities for the poor and helping them own productive assets and access interest-free micro credit programs. It also urged broader empowerment of women and the introduction of a comprehensive social protection umbrella.

    HPC Secretary-General Abla Amawi said it is expected that the COVID-19 crisis will push extreme poverty rates in the world to 9 per cent according to World Bank projections. She warned that the crisis threatens to erase all of the progress made in the past five years.

    At the national level, Amawi pointed out that the pandemic has impacted almost all households, especially women, for reasons related to the fact that informal employment comprises 48 percent of the labor force in the national economy.

    Amawi also said that the poor were the social segment hardest hit by the pandemic, especially day laborers, women, refugees and those working in the private sector. She noted a number of measures were taken by the government to address the fallout from the crisis, notably the establishment of the Himmat Wattan Fund.

    According to the Department of Statistics’ (DoS) 2017-2018 Household Income and Expenditure Survey, the poverty rate in Jordan stood at 15.7 per cent, including 0.12 per cent or 7,993 persons who live in abject poverty.

    The DoS figures indicate that unemployment among Jordanians hit 19.1 percent or 2 million people in 2019 and that 86 percent of employed Jordanians receive a monthly paycheck of less than JD500.

    The HPC pointed out that the government launched in 2019 a national social protection strategy for the 2019-2025 period, stressing that the strategy is consistent with the UN first, second and eighth sustainable development goals on the eradication of poverty and hunger, food security, economic growth and decent employment.


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