The Family and Covid-19 Policy Response in the Arab Gulf

Time: Feb 09, 2022

Doha Briefing organized by the GCC Executive Bureau of the Ministers of Labour and Social Affairs in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the UN and the Doha International Family Institute at the United Nations 60th Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD60)

CSocD60 Priority Theme:
Inclusive and resilient recovery from COVID-19 for sustainable livelihoods, well-being and dignity for all: eradicating poverty and hunger in all its forms and dimensions to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

Co-sponsoring countries:
The State of Qatar

Co-sponsoring organizations:
GCC Executive Bureau of the Ministers of Labour and Social Affairs

Virtual (Register in order to receive event link)

The family in all parts of the world is currently undergoing radical changes exacerbated with the global pandemic. The prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced societies and governments to develop and implement policies with measures of social distancing that in turn affected the roles and responsibilities of families, who had to learn how to adapt. In a study conducted by the Doha International Family Institute (DIFI) in 2020 on “Surviving a Crisis: A Case Study on the Impact of Coronavirus on Family Cohesion in Qatar”, the family in Qatar faced multiple economic, social, health, psychological and educational challenges. That being said, the lockdown provided families in Qatar as well as the Arab region with the opportunity to be more connected and enhanced family cohesions and overall mental wellbeing. Families have shown that together they are resilient and cohesive and that when living in the most difficult circumstances, families draw upon a rich set of characteristics or “family strengths”, that enable them to nurture their members and continue to prosper in the face of even the most extreme adversity.

The family in the GCC context is central in all policy responses to the pandemic. There were many challenges faced, success stories and lessons learned. The Doha briefing this year will focus on the policy responses to the pandemic in the Gulf, and the centrality of the family in the response.

The Doha Briefing aims to provide a platform for a diverse set of stakeholders, including governments, civil society, and United Nations entities to undertake a policy dialogue to enable a better understanding of progress made and challenges faced by families and to exchange experiences and lessons learned concerning new evidence and innovations targeted at families. This year, we dedicated the Doha briefing to voice the GCC perspective in terms of the centrality of the family in policy response to Covid-19. To that end, the Doha Briefing 2022 aims to address the following:

  1. What are the main challenges that families faced during the pandemic in the Gulf?
  2. How did families address these challenges?
  3. What role did policies and programs have in supporting families?
  4. What are some of the best practices that were implemented as a result of the pandemic?
  5. What are the most important lessons that can be taken in moving forward in the Gulf context?

H.E. Ms. María del Carmen Squeff
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the UN Chair of the 60th Session of the Commission for Social Development

H.E. Hessa Bint Essa Buhumaid
Minister of Community Development, United Arab Emirates

H.E. Laila bint Ahmed Al Najjar
Minister of Social Development, Sultanate of Oman

H.E. Mubarak Zaid Al-Aro Al-Mutairi
Deputy in the Kuwaiti National Assembly, Minister of social affairs and community development minister of state for housing urban development since- December 28, 2021, Kuwait

Dr. Hala Al Tuwaijri
Secretary General, Family Affairs Council, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Dr. Amer Al Hajri
Director General, GCC Executive Bureau

Dr. Sharifa Noaman Al Emadi
Executive Director, DIFI

For photo gallery click here


Doha International Family Institute (DIFI), participated in the Gulf Family Forum 2023
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DIFI participated on in the 5th Budapest Demographic Summit in Hungary
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DIFI participated in a virtual panel discussion on “Fighting Against Stigma of Mental Illnesses: Current Status, Opportunities and Challenges”
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Research Grant

The Doha International Family Institute (DIFI) has launched the OSRA research grant in its sixth cycle which is a research grant on Arab families and family policy related issues.

Find Out More