Pakistan takes leadership in creating global social protection platform

Islamabad: In New York, while taking the initiative on universal social protection, the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations convened the first meeting of the Group of Friends on Social Protection with Turkey, Nigeria and Costa Ric. The meeting was attended by a large number of UN member states, says a press release posted here.

In her keynote address, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to deliver cash payments of $1.25 billion to more than 160 million of its citizens who were in desperate need of support finance to meet the challenges posed by the global economic downturn caused by the Covid -19 pandemic. Dr. Nishtar expressed satisfaction with the global recognition of Pakistan’s Ehsaas program.

In his remarks, Dr Nishtar mentioned that Covid-19 has had a profound impact on the lives of people across the world, but its deepest weight falls disproportionately on the poor. Dr. Nishtar pointed out that there was no formal experience sharing mechanism between the ministries of poverty alleviation and social assistance, adding that social protection of the multilateral system was almost an orphan field. in terms of government-to-government exchanges. And therefore, the intention was to launch a global government-to-government social protection platform as a starting point to achieve universal social protection.

Dr Nishtar added: “The Global Social Protection Platform would be a new initiative currently filling an important knowledge gap in the global social protection landscape. Countries can regularly be directly exposed to global knowledge through this channel. A light secretariat will support agenda setting, demand sensing and content formulation, logistics and planning, and communication”.

Previously, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan, Ambassador Munir Akram, in his welcome address, stressed the need for universal social protection. He characterized social protection measures as economic imperatives and not mere moral obligations. Ambassador Akram also pointed out that almost 4 billion people in the world are without any form of social protection, adding that the world must redouble its efforts to achieve social protection for all by 2030. He stressed that a new era for social protection systems would be a foundation for inclusive and sustainable societies and for achieving our overarching goals of “leaving no one behind” and “eradicating extreme poverty”.

The World Bank as a technical partner of the Group underlined the importance of social protection instruments everywhere in the world. World Bank representative Ugo Gentilini hailed Pakistan’s Ehssas program among the top four social protection programs in the world. Gentilini also mentioned that the pandemic has laid the groundwork for the need for universal social protection, as today more and more countries are stepping up their social protection efforts.

During the event, several countries supported Pakistan for taking a leadership position on universal social protection. They also underlined that the Covid-19 crisis has provided an inflection point in history to pursue social protection for all and that this momentum must not be lost. Many countries have indicated that they are ready to join the declaration to establish a “global knowledge platform on social protection”.

In the coming months, Pakistan and partner countries will work towards the adoption of the declaration to establish a “global knowledge platform on social protection”, share best practices around the world and create a global knowledge center .

Joel C. Hicks