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Population and development report

Development policy implications of age-structural transitions in Arab Countries

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This report shows that the Arab countries are currently undergoing profound age-structural transitions which will have significant implications for their development. It argues that countries can best manage and benefit from the consequences of the age structural transitions taking place across the Arab region by adopting a life course approach in analysis and policy. However, social and economic policies in the Arab countries have not succeeded in integrating this approach. This report therefore suggests reforms across social and economic policy areas, including labour market and social protection reforms, and suggests how the post-2015 UN Development Agenda can integrate a life course perspective. It brings a new urgency to the debate, arguing that transformational change is needed to integrate the needs and potentials of the different age groups in the Arab countries.

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Social policy implications of age-structural transitions in Arab countries

As people move through their lives, the nature of their needs and potential contributions to society change. The aggregate effects of the demographic transformations underway in Arab countries mean that these changes are not only important for individuals, but for society as a whole. Age-structural transitions affect the nature of societies, challenging the assumptions underlying social contracts and policies. Social policies, particularly social protection policies, must therefore adopt a demographically sensitive life course approach to account for the different priorities and inputs of each age group and thus enable all members of society to benefit from and contribute to the gains of development, develop their own potential and live a dignified life in a sustainable way. Planning for the development of social protection systems must also consider that age-structural transitions will affect the sources of funding and the kinds of services that the population will need.

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