Pakistan calls for universal social protection system – Journal
ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Poverty Reduction and Social Protection Senator Dr Sania Nishtar highlighted the need for a universal social protection system to support the poor in times of global crisis like the Covid pandemic -19.
In her keynote address at a meeting of the Group of Friends on Social Protection with Turkey, Nigeria and Costa Rica in New York on Saturday, she said the rapid and brutal spread of the coronavirus has laid bare the absence of any social protection scheme that could support the oppressed in times of emergency and therefore there was a need to fill the void.
“Covid-19 has deeply impacted the lives of people across the world, but its deepest toll falls disproportionately on the poor. There is no formal mechanism for sharing experiences between countries in this area and social protection is almost an orphan area in terms of government-to-government exchanges. Therefore, the intention is to launch a global government-to-government social protection platform as a starting point to achieve universal social protection,” she said.
Sania says $1.25 billion has been disbursed among 160 million people under Ehsaas
The meeting was convened by the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations and was attended by a large number of UN member states.
Dr Nishtar said the Global Social Protection Platform would be a new initiative currently filling an important knowledge gap in the global social protection landscape. Countries could regularly be directly exposed to global knowledge through this channel, she added.
On Pakistan’s response to Covid-19 crises, the Special Assistant said Islamabad has strengthened its Ehsaas social safety net and made cash payments from $1.25 billion to more than $160 million of its citizens who desperately needed financial support to meet the challenges. by the global economic downturn caused by the pandemic. She said the program has been globally recognized.
Earlier, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, Munir Akram, in his welcoming 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 “to achieve 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 Ehsaas program among the top four social protection programs in the world. He also mentioned that the pandemic had laid the groundwork for the need for universal social protection, as today more and more countries are stepping up their social protection efforts.
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 hub.
Posted in Dawn, September 19, 2021