Derasat and UNDP to Assess Socio-Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Kingdom of Bahrain

Derasat and UNDP to Assess Socio-Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Kingdom of Bahrain

Date: September 3rd, 2020

The Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bahrain provided an online briefing titled “The UNDP-Derasat Perspective for a Socio-Economic Impact Assessment of the COVID-19 in Bahrain”. The discussion involved a presentation detailing the imminent joint research project planned on a national level, where some of the main social and economic impacts of the pandemic will be measured and analyzed, with the aim of preparing criteria and recommendations deduced from the lessons learned, to inform policy and better prepare for similar future crises.

UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Stefano Pettinato and Derasat Director of Research Dr. Omar Al-Ubaydli explained the UN goals and national context of the study, due for completion in two months’ time.

Mr. Pettinato indicated that the UN is currently undergoing similar research in 162 countries, of which 131 will see collaboration between UN country teams and corresponding local teams. Efforts will account for qualitative and quantitative national data on the social and economic dimensions, noting that health responses are carried out and continuously assessed by the World Health Organization and national healthcare authorities through separate initiatives. Globally UNDP has taken the technical lead for similar socio-economic impact assessments in over 60 countries. Successful cooperation largely depends on leveraging UN and local knowledge and resources.

The research is multi-dimensional, and covers the effects of the pandemic on employment and the workforce, income and expat workers’ remittances, the environment, and variables related to gender and different age groups. The final study will supplement and support individual field-specific studies performed by local authorities. Mr. Pettinato also pointed out how UNDP had started last April, with the global Rapid Response Facility monitoring and assessing how the pandemic impacted countries around the world, Bahrain being one of the countries benefiting from this funding window through this initiative.

Mr. Pettinato said, “Derasat was a natural research partner for UNDP, due to our excellent past joint work, and its research capabilities.  With Derasat, we will be analyzing the impact of the pandemic, and gauge measures to combat it, such as social distancing, banning unessential activities, patient medical isolation, contact tracing, as well as treatment patterns of citizens and residents, pandemic-driven unemployment, and challenges to education.” He added that, “Bahraini authorities demonstrated proactivity in dealing with multi-level problems caused by the pandemic, led by the National Committee to Counter the Coronavirus to coordinate efforts of Government entities.”

The research project aims to supplement local, regional, and global efforts to exit the wide U-curve; striving to accelerate economic and social recovery after the current losses and implications of slowed growth. This project also carries an ambitious goal of informing decision- and policy-making as they support the recovery process. The project will bring together major stakeholders and beneficiaries from public and private organizations, civil society groups, academia, and international actors in Bahrain. The UN system will also be represented by its relevant programs and agencies. The project will also benefit from available reports and other studies.

Dr. Omar Al-Ubaydli discussed Derasat’s recently conducted multiple national surveys and the more specific opinion polls, in the fields of health, education, economics, and finance. He pointed out the Center’s available expertise in further polling and trend mapping, using original localized questions, to which more questions will be added to comply to international criteria.

Dr. Al-Ubaydli said that four paths comprised the scope of work. These are surveys, online personal interviews, periodical focus groups and roundtables with stakeholders, as well as secondary data collected from external reports published by other organizations and entities.

Al-Ubaydli said, “This research depends on reports completed over the next four months, research expertise and patterns, and lessons learned from previous crises analyzed or reviewed by Derasat researchers. All efforts will be crowned by publishing a comprehensive report in Arabic and English for circulation, and deriving topics for related research that extends well into 2021.”

Derasat’s Research Director added,” We provide decision-makers with advanced recommendations that enable them to devise effective evidence-based policies, through research efforts aided by analyses, and accurate regional and global speculation; besides embedding response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic with goals and features of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.”


Media coverage – Arabic only

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