Overview of SEM

Targeting public expenditure in line with social development priorities and macro-fiscal sustainability remains a challenge for most governments in the Arab region. Budget allocations for social programmes and policies are often mismatched or inadequate for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ESCWA has developed the Social Expenditure Monitor (SEM): An Integrated Framework for Supporting Macro-Fiscal Policies and the SDGs. A pioneering tool for Arab states, SEM will provide comprehensive mapping of public social expenditure to inform budgeting and social policy reforms. It is designed to improve allocative efficiency and the effectiveness of budgeting.

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Dimensions of SEM

About the SEM Dashboard

The interactive Social Expenditure Monitor Dashboard allows the user to explore the SEM database and browse analytical and simulation tools.


Dr. Rola Dashti

A Message from the Executive Secretary

Allocation of national budgets to social policies has been a subject of debate, and a cause for political divisions worldwide. In many countries, electoral platforms and competitive political programmes are based on various social expenditure models that can affect positive change. The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have confirmed the necessity of revisiting and expanding fiscal space, while providing creative ways to calibrate expenditures on effective social intervention packages. The “leaving no one behind” commitment of the 2030 Agenda entails developing innovative social expenditure models characterized by resilience and responsiveness to societies’ changing needs, while considering macrofiscal policies.

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