This study was prepared by the Inclusive Social Development Section (ISDS) of the Social Development Division (SDD). It was written by Anton Bjork (lead author), with additions by Sarah Janse, Gisela Nauk, Zuzana Vuova and Angela Zettler under the overall guidance of Frederico Neto, Director of the SDD.

The report is the result of intensive cooperation between ESCWA and focal points in its member countries. Drafts of the text were reviewed in two meetings in April and July 2017. The ESCWA team would like to thank the following persons for their substantial advice, information and contributions to the report: Badriya Y. Aljeeb, Bahrain; Ashraf Marie, Egypt; Asghar Al-Musawi, Iraq; Alia H. Zureikat, Jordan; Alkhansa Alhusiani, Kuwait; Marie El-Hajj, Lebanon; Abdallahi Diakite, Mauritania; Ahmed Cheikhi, Morocco; Hilal Al Abri, Oman; Amin Inabi, State of Palestine; Laalei Abu Alfain, Qatar; Mervat Tashkandi and Abdel El GhaziSayer Al Otaibi, Saudi Arabia; Bdraldeen Hassan Mohamed, Sudan; Mayssaa Al-Midani and Rana Klifawi, Syrian Arab Republic; Ahmad Bala'azi, Tunisia; Wafa Hamad Bin Sulaiman, United Arab Emirates; and Mageda Abdul Majeed Hazza Abdullah, Yemen.

Parts of the statistics in this report are based on recent data collection of the ESCWA Statistics Division, compiled and verified by Dana Soussi, under the supervision and guidance of Neda Jafar, Head of Statistical Policies and Coordination Unit, and published in more detail on the Statistics Division home page. The data were provided by National Statistical Offices (NSOs) according to a detailed questionnaire and guidance provided by the ESCWA statistics division.

ESCWA is also grateful to Layan Charara and Ellen Gamble for providing substantial research assistance. We thank Sophie Mitra (Fordham University) and Boram Lee (Women’s Refugee Commission), as well as ESCWA colleagues (Rouba Arja, Fernando Cantu-Bazaldua, Neda Jafar, Lize Denner, Asya El Meehy, David Krivanek, Valentina Mejia, Adib Nehme), for their detailed review, comments and suggestions of the draft report.

The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations Secretariat.