Despite reforms, labour markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have been unable to absorb the growing number of job seekers. Women and educated youth are particularly vulnerable to high unemployment. However, data on entrepreneurship and the private enterprise sector in the region have been virtually non-existent.
For peacebuilding processes to be sustainable, post-war security transitions must be carefully planned and participatory. These transitions often involve a reconfiguration of the entire security architecture, and include reintegrating former combatants and restructuring the military and police.
Three years ago, Susana Martinez-Restrepo, a young Colombian researcher finishing her PhD studies, was invited to join and coordinate a regional project titled: Beyond Social Protection: Labour Markets, Entrepreneurship, and Gender Equality. Supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the project uses evidence to enhance the impact of social protection programs for the most vulnerable, and in particular, women.
As of 2012, Mexico is well on the road to universal health coverage. In less than a decade, thanks to Seguro Popular, a national health insurance program introduced in 2003, every Mexican is now covered by a public insurance scheme. The program offers health services and financial protection to over 50 million Mexicans who were previously uninsured.
After 50 years of civil war, Colombians are starting to contemplate a future that holds peace. As negotiations between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) progress, many are looking beyond the signing of an accord at the issues that will be key to its successful implementation and enhance the broader peace process.