The responsibilities of the Social Inclusion Observatory

Despite the total wealth of the European Union (EU), the levels of poverty recorded therein are still high. More specifically, in Greece, the long-term economic downturn, the shrinking social state, the various kinds of inequalities and the difficult period of the pandemic we are experiencing, have led to a rapid increase in poverty and its consequences spread across more and more areas of human life.

In recent years, scientific research on the recording of poverty has focused on its multidimensional measurement. This means that deprivation due to poverty is not only interpreted in income terms but concerns much more aspects of the social life of individuals and households, such as access to health, education, welfare, finding a job, possession of basic goods, civic participation and other dimensions.

The Regional Social Inclusion Observatory (Observatory), which is implemented with the funding of the European Social Fund, is primarily responsible for carrying out studies to measure poverty, investigate its dimensions and assess the impact of income gaps on the social fabric and quality of life of the entire population of the South Aegean Region.

The aim is to formulate and implement specific policies to alleviate the consequences of poverty and social exclusion, but also to strengthen social cohesion and solidarity.

Furthermore, the Observatory seeks to involve all public services and private social care providers to implement horizontal actions including support for vulnerable social groups. Of course, to do all this, it looks forward to informing and raising awareness among the wider population.

It is worth noting that prevention is most important for the effectiveness of anti-poverty policies and social policy design. That is to make it possible to identify people at risk of poverty or on the threshold of poverty, as well as the characteristics of such persons or households.

The Observatory is still new, it started operating in July 2020 but by December of the same year it undertook and implemented studies and surveys as detailed below:

  • between August and October 2020, primary surveys were carried out with questionnaires and the participation of the social services of the local authorities of the South Aegean Region (municipalities) and the Community Centers.
  • a wide-ranging socio-economic survey of recording and mapping severe social phenomena such as extreme poverty, over-indebted households and addressing social problems, especially vulnerable population groups, for the entire Region and with analysis at prefecture and island level.

The results of the above surveys are presented on the “Studies” page of the portal and are open for further research to all (open data).