Arab Labour Organization Arab Labour Office

Arab Strategy for Social Insurance

Arab Labour Organization Arab Labour Office

Arab Strategy for Social Insurance ∗

_____________________________________________________________________ ∗ This Strategy has been approved by Arab Labour Conference in its session No 26 2

(Cairo, 6 – 11 March 1999)

Firstly: Starting points
Inspired by the elevated principles brought down by heavenly laws; and in order to (1) reinforce the dignity of the Arab individual and ensure that he is enabled to attain economic and social freedom and that he is allowed a wide space to unleash his ;creative abilities and In harmony with the objectives stated in the International Declaration on (2) Development in the Social Field and its emphasis that comprehensive social security systems and social care services, should be made available for persons, who are ;unable to work because of, either illness, disability or, old-age and In accordance with the Arab Labour Charter, which provided for the achievement (3) of social justice, upgrading the standard of labour force in Arab States and the development of bodies concerned with workers affairs, with the same pace of social ;and economic development in Arab Sates and In order to achieve the goals stated in the Articles of Association of the Arab (4) Labour Organization that all human beings have the right to strive freely, for their own material and spiritual welfare in such conditions, where equal opportunity and ;social justice prevail and Seeking to attain the objective set up by the Arab Labour Organization to (5) standardize Arab labour insurance legislations and to draw up a plan for social ;insurance systems, for the protection of workers and their families and For the Implementation of the stipulations of Arab Labour Agreements, in respect (6) of social insurance and relevant provisions stated in International Lbour Agreements and in UN Charters and Conventions, topped by the International Declaration of Human Rights, which has explicitly provided for the right of every individual in ;social security and Relying on the decisions related to social insurance, which were issued by the (7) Arab Labour Conference in its successive sessions and particularly, its 19th session on ;social insurance and social security and Believing that social and economic development are correlated, whereas an (8) increase in the rates of economic development should lead to a similar increase in the ;rates of social development, and vice versa, and Based on the fact that social insurance represents a fundamental support for social (9) development, and that the extension of the scope of social security systems to include all categories of human resources, and that promotion of benefits and services provided to contributors are essential principles for protecting members of the society ;and Convinced that providing protection and care for the members of the society (10) through efficient and developed insurance systems, leads to raising national productivity as a result of the stability and satisfaction felt by contributors towards ;their present and future and So as to develop organizational, administrative and technical structures of Arab (11) insurance establishments, so that they could give due care to human and material factors, through modernization of means and styles of work, to ensure that workers ;could carry out their missions in the best possible way and Taking into consideration economic changes and their impact on Arab social (12) insurance systems and efforts to maintain the standards of these systems, together


with seeking to develop them in future, in conformity with the approved Arab and ;international standards in this field and In order to deepen financial autonomy of the Arab insurance establishments, and (13) their right to exercise control over their reserve funds, and to invest them according to defined policies and programs, whereof returns should allow these establishments to meet their obligations, together with developing the quality of such obligations, in ;future Therefore, the Arab Strategy for Social Insurance is set up and based on the :following goals and mechanisms


Secondly: Goals
:Part one: At the national level :∗ First goal :Extension of the scope of inclusion of the umbrella of social insurance, through Setting up unified criteria for the various categories, which constitute labour force, (1) so that they could be included into the systems of social insurance, with the objective of providing protection and stability for them, regardless of the place, the type and the .field of work Conducting necessary studies for drawing up short, medium and long term plans, (2) with the aim of eliminating causes and impediments, which prevent inclusion of all .categories into social insurance systems Seeking a solution for the problem of the categories, which are excluded from (3) social insurance systems, according to timeframes that take into account priorities, .available abilities and economic and social conditions of each State :∗ Second goal :To develop benefits and advantages of social insurance, through To take into consideration that legislations have provided for the on-the-principle (1) implementation of all the advantages and benefits, which are provided by social insurance systems and which are approved by Arab and international levels, and leave the mission of classifying implementation priorities, of these advantages and benefits, .to regulations, according to the economic and social conditions of each State Giving due attention to issues like health insurance, unemployment insurance – (2) especially disability – and family aid insurance, which are considered an integral part of the basis of social protection. These issues should be implemented in accordance with short, medium and long term plans, with the objective of activating these fields .according to available abilities and economic and social conditions of each State Working towards providing the necessary funding sources in order to meet the (3) financial obligations arising from implementation of social protection benefits. Funding should correspond with the details of executive plans, which are drawn up for the activation of social protection, taking into account the need to increase the .contributions of Arab States in funding social insurance :∗ Third Goal :Simplification of the procedures for getting social insurance benefits Giving due care for the active human factors in social insurance area, through (1) training them according to the requirements of their work, together with raising their awareness of the real role of the establishment and the nature of the public that they deal with, who are, in majority, composed of old and disabled persons, orphans, .widows, ill and unemployed persons Endeavouring, within the available abilities of each State, for developing the (2) structures of insurance establishments, together with the means in use, the styles and tools of work so as to ensure, computerization, as far as possible, of the entire works of social insurance, through providing the suitable and developed tools and equipments and entering them into service, as well as seeking familiarity with the


latest means and styles of work so as to utilize and enter them in the production .process and to continue modernization When social insurance legislations were formulated, they should be flexible (3) enough to keep pace - through amendment and development - with new economic and social developments and cope with them. These legislations should be classified and sorted out, in addition to defining authorities and responsibilities conferred according to them, so that no duplication or, overlapping may occur and which may lead to the loss of the contents under the stress of accumulated details. Furthermore, each State should coordinate the different systems within the same country and should try hard to unify social insurance reference, in accordance with the special conditions of each .country Activating the principle of decentralization in the management of social insurance (4) systems, with the objective of facilitating and speeding up decision taking and giving rights and services to beneficiaries. Moreover, branches and offices should be opened .in all places, where there are high rates of economic and social activities :∗ Fourth Goal To protect the real value of the benefits and advantages of social insurance, :through the following actions Designing legislative and financial alternatives so as to meet expected needs in (1) future, in the light of actuarial studies, which are conducted in this respect, on basis of balance between production parties, which are defined by legislations on one side, and the rights of beneficiaries from social insurance systems according to the same .legislations, on the other Maintaining the purchasing power of pensions and compensations provided by (2) :social insurance, through the following measures a) Increasing the participation of the State in this area, through designing a system) that ensures maintaining the real value of the advantages and benefits of social .insurance b) Creating a suitable supplementary mechanism for social protection) c) Encouraging individual contribution in this field through designing saving) systems, and this should be based on considering such an individual, as funding party .and a beneficiary at the same time Setting up policies that adopt salary increments as an indicator or, a base for (3) improvement of pensions, in addition to adoption of periodical changes in the salary .scale to become closer to covering the rising burden of life Defining a minimum pension level that should be proportionate to the minimum (4) salary levels and reconsider them, periodically, in the light of the developments of .living standards Setting up a minimum level of the share of every family member, who is entitled (5) .to a pension and reconsider this level, periodically Defining a minimum level of the pensions of old-age, disability and death and (6) .reconsider them, periodically :Fifth goal To preserve the rights of beneficiaries, whenever social insurance funds are contributed in investments of economic and social development, through the :following actions Emphasizing the right of social insurance establishments to exercise full control (1) over their incomes from contributions and returns on investment, in addition to the .right of disposition of such funds, according to the regulations


Encouraging investment of social insurance funds, in conformity with the (2) observed investment principles, in respect to guarantees, profitability and liquidity, so as to boost and consolidate the basis of social insurance systems and develop their .performance and their ability to meet their present and future obligations Strengthening cooperation with the private sector in this field, through joint (3) investments, where social insurance funds represent a guarantee and a reassurance for this investment, so as to participate in the economic development and progress and .create new employment opportunities


:Part two: at the level of Arab world
:∗ First goal :To enhance the efficiency of social insurance, through Including Arab workers, who are working in Arab countries, other than their (1) countries of origin, under the umbrella of social insurance and to put them on an equal footing as national workers. Moreover, suitable mechanisms should be set up in order to provide social insurance protection for the Arab worker in each Arab country, and see that social insurance systems, which are effective in each State, are applied to its .own expatriate citizens Encouraging conclusion of bilateral and multilateral agreements among Arab (2) States, so as to protect the Arab worker, whenever he moves among from one Arab .State to the other :∗ Second goal To work towards standardization and development of Arab social insurance :systems, through Designing a guiding legislative model for Arab social insurance, so that it may be (1) .adopted or, utilized when national legislations were formulated or, amended Arab States should take the initiative to approve the Arab social insurance (2) agreements, especially the Arab Agreement No 2 of 1967, on the movement of workers and the Arab Agreement No 14 of 1981, on the right of the Arab worker in social insurance, whenever he moves for work in one of the Arab countries, in a way .that ensures that Arab standards of social insurance are achieved Continuous development of the legal tools of Arab social insurance systems, so (3) that they may keep pace with the new social insurance developments, at the national .and Arab world levels Studying Arab and international legal tools related to social insurance, in order to (4) define the reasons and the difficulties that prevent States from giving their approval .on agreements and from adopting recommendations :∗ Third goal Development of the performance of Arab organizations, which are concerned :with social insurance, through Developing administrations, which are concerned with social insurance within (1) Arab specialized agencies, together with enhancing their authorities, responsibilities .and cadres Allowing for participation of representatives of Arab social insurance (2) establishments, in the various Arab technical conferences, which are related to labour .and workers issues Strengthening the Arab Centre for Social Insurance in Khartoum, so as to enable it (3) to play and develop its role and to provide training and consultative services to .workers in the field of Arab social insurance A permanent committee for Arab social insurance seminars should be formed (4) from social insurance officials, which should be in direct relation with the Arab Labour Office and should also work in coordination with it, within the framework of .implementation of the recommendations of the various successive seminars 8

:∗ Fourth goal :Cooperation among Arab social insurance establishments, through Finding out means and ways, which ensure building up and consolidation of (1) cooperation among Arab social insurance establishments, in the various fields, .through activation of the role of the Arab Labour Office in this area Exchange of experts and information and sharing the outcome of experiences (2) among Arab social insurance establishments, with the objective of raising the performance of social insurance, qualitatively and quantitatively, through utilization .of the totality of these experiences and of their applications Studying the possibility of launching bilateral or, multilateral investments projects (3) among Arab social insurance establishments, in addition to allocation of a specified .rate of social insurance funds for funding this investment Endeavouring for creation of scientific and actuarial establishments that could (4) .provide services and expertise, to Arab social insurance establishments Strengthening the documentation and information section of the Arab Labour (5) Office, in addition to feeding the section with the new developments in the field of social insurance, in the entire Arab countries, and taking advantage of the available .information at the International Social Security Association The Arab Labour Office should set up appropriate mechanisms for coordination (6) among the Arab Strategy for Social Insurance, the Arab Strategy for the Development of Labour Force and the Arab Employment Strategy, with the aim of ensuring complementarity among these strategies, in respect of objectives, procedures and .machismos Working towards coordination of positions of Arab social insurance (7) establishments in the International Social Security Association, through the Arab .Labour Organization


Thirdly: Mechanisms
:Achievement of national and pan-Arab goals stated in this Strategy, through Conducting studies by Arab social insurance establishments, on problems, (1) impediments and difficulties that hinder widening coverage so as to include all .working categories The Arab Labour Office should examine, in collaboration with the International (2) Social Security Association, experiences, which are selected from developed and least developed countries and which are relevant to the issue of uninsured workers in the .Arab world, including workers in agricultural sector Exchanging results of studies among Arab countries, through the Arab Labour (3) Office. In addition, Arab social insurance establishments should be informed of the results of contacts with the International Social Security Association, and any other social insurance organizations or, establishments, with regard to benefiting from their experiences on the issue of inclusion of workers in agricultural sector and uninsured .categories The Arab Labour Office should endeavour, with the International Social Security (4) Association, for concluding a cooperation agreement/agreements in technical fields, provided that these agreements should include, providing Arab social insurance establishments with experts for studying and solving the problems encountered by :these establishments, especially in the following areas .a) Inclusion of workers in agricultural sector in the umbrella of social insurance) b) Conducting actuarial studies on financial positions of insurance establishments or,) costs and needs for implementation of social insurance or, amendment of social insurance legislations, with the aim of developing and increasing benefits of the contributors c) Using modern technology in the management of social insurance establishments,) .especially computers d) To organize national, regional and pan-Arab seminars for discussing the problems) and the difficulties, which hamper horizontal and vertical expansion and the inclusion of new categories in social insurance, in addition to the development of social security and social insurance systems and the improvement and the increase of benefits, .provide to beneficiaries by social insurance systems The Arab Labour Office and the Arab Centre for Social Insurance should (5) disseminate successful Arab experiences in the field of health insurance, in addition to organizing and encouraging national, pan-Arab and regional seminars, for discussing .the problems related to health insurance The Arab Labour Office and the Arab Centre for Social Insurance should design (6) legal tools models for each social insurance system, in the light of selected experiences, from Arab and foreign countries, to be put at the disposal of Arab social insurance establishments, so as to serve as guiding models, whenever an .establishment intends to apply one of these insurance systems 10

Facilitating and simplifying procedures of delivering benefits to beneficiaries, (7) through adoption of decentralization principles and spreading branches, offices and units, so that services may come closer to the centres of labour activities. Also, computerization should be introduced in the work of Arab social insurance establishments so as to achieve rapidity and accuracy in delivery of benefits. Specific and documented timeframes should be defined, and included in clear and simplified guides that show procedures of delivery of each benefit, whether it is a retirement pension, a compensatory benefit or, a medical service. These guides should also include the legislations, the procedures, the plans and the programs of Arab social insurance establishments, wherewith the objective of facilitation of delivery of .insurance service may be achieved To ensure coordination among Arab social insurance centres for training, studies (8) and research, in addition to sharing experiences and exchanging mechanisms, experts and trainees at the level of Arab world. The Arab Centre for Social Insurance should .circulate adequate information on these centres among Arab States Embodying principles and mechanisms within social insurance legislations, with (9) the aim of protecting the real value of social security and social insurance .compensations, through periodical increments in pensions Encouraging the exchange of information and experiences in the area of (10) investment of social insurance funds, through holding periodical meetings on this issue. Furthermore, contact channels should be opened among Arab social insurance establishments, through the Arab Labour Office or, through bilateral cooperation, for .consultation and coordination on investment affairs of interest Inviting Arab social insurance establishments to provide the Arab Labour Office (11) with data and statistics, for the purpose of creating an Arab Social Insurance Data .Bank Organizing pan-Arab social insurance seminars, for studying causes that hindered (12) .or, hinder, approval and implementation of Arab agreements on social insurance Holding periodical meetings, within the framework of the Arab Labour Office, (13) including high officials of the Arab social insurance establishments, in order to study and define ways of cooperation, interaction, exchange of experiences, follow-up of implementation of the provisions of this Strategy and development of the Strategy, .whenever need arises Inviting the administrations of social insurance in Arab countries to join the (14) membership of the International Social Security Association, in order to enhance the role of these administrations in technical and administrative activities of the Association and, above all, adoption of Arabic language as an official language of this .Association