Young people’s trust in government has halted in the MENA region: only 32% of young people expressed trust in their national government across 12 countries in 2018.1 In the face of socio-economic challenges, administrative corruption and inadequate public services, youth-led protests spread in numerous countries across the MENA region in 2019. The virtual panel, organised in partnership between MED and the MENA-OECD Governance Programme, will discuss how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the future trajectories of young people and governments in the MENA region. As highlighted in the recent OECD policy paper “Youth and COVID-19: Response, Recovery and Resilience” (http://oe.cd/il/youth-covid19), the COVID-19 crisis has further exacerbated the difficulties faced by young people particularly in terms of education, employment, mental health, disposable income, and individual freedoms. At the same time, youth-led organisations have provided considerable help in mitigating the immediate impact of the crisis, also demonstrating intergenerational solidarity. The MENA region remains particularly exposed to the risks that the COVID-19 crisis is posing for young people and future generations due to pre-existing high levels of youth unemployment, high levels of youth employment in the informal sector, challenges in access to education, and large numbers of displaced young people, among others. However, this historic crisis offers governments across the MENA region the opportunity to reform their socio-economic system, governance arrangements and legal frameworks to build back better societies and economies that leave no one behind.
Paolo Magri, Executive Vice-President and Director, ISPI
Marina Sereni, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italy
Hayder al Shakeri, Youth Advocate, Iraq
Nidal Benali Cherkaoui, President, Local Youth Councils Network, Morocco
Joana Hammour, Grant Manager, Nahnoo, Lebanon
Jeffrey Schlagenhauf, Deputy Secretary General, OECD
Antonio Bernardini, Permanent Representative of Italy to the OECD and Co-chair of the MENA-OECD Governance Programme
Chiara Lovotti, Associate Research Fellow, ISPI
The video of this MED Virtual Panel is available at this link.
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