Dr. Sania invites countries to join global knowledge platform on social protection

Sania highlights Pakistan's experience in scaling up EEC program during pandemic

ISLAMABAD, Oct 19 (APP):Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar Tuesday invited countries to join the global knowledge platform on social protection.

Dr. Sania was keynoting the 2021 Global Rural Development Forum held in China under the theme of “Global Sustainable Development Cooperation: Poverty Reduction and Rural Development”.

The forum was co-hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the National Rural Revitalization Administration and organized by the International Poverty Reduction Center in China.

Speaking on the occasion, the SAPM informed the participants that Pakistan, Turkey, Nigeria, and Costa Rica have initiated a proposal for the establishment of a global knowledge platform on social protection. 

She said, “Poverty alleviation, particularly social protection is the priority of our government. Our government realizes that in Pakistan’s agriculture-based economy, tackling agriculture is fundamental to poverty reduction since the sector employs 45% of labour force. Around 60% of our population lives in rural areas.”

Pakistan’s poverty eradication programme, “Ehsaas”, she added, is closely linked to agriculture and rural economy. Ehsaas has 19 social protection programmes for 14 vulnerable groups. 

Continuing, she stated, “In the context of rural economy, the social protection strand of Ehsaas integrates four particular areas: First, unconditional cash transfers for 10 million rural and urban families, impacting one third of the country’s population; two, livelihood building initiatives which include,

“Ehsaas interest free loans facilitating access of farmers and others to credit in the rural economy and “Ehsaas Amdan”, wherein small income generating assets relevant to rural and agricultural development are transferred to rural poor; three, human capital development programmes, Ehsaas Education Stipends and Ehsaas Nashonuma, to improve the education and nutrition outcomes respectively”.

“Both the conditional cash transfer programmes offer higher stipend amount for girls in comparison to boys; and four, digitization of rural value chains and increased access to agriculture credit, in addition to the financial inclusion of poor, aimed at improving the rural economy”, she added.

Dr. Sania congratulated the Government of China, its people, and the Communist Party of China for achieving the MDG of poverty eradication, well ahead of time.

The forum fully demonstrated and shared China’s great achievements and experience in poverty alleviation. It promoted international exchanges and cooperation in rural development, and actively echoed the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The event brought together Ouk Rabun, Minister of Rural Development of Cambodia; U Hla Moe, Union Minister of Cooperative and Rural Development of Myanmar; Atty. Noel Felongco, Secretary-General of National Anti-poverty Commission of the Philippines; Thongphath Vongmany, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Laos; Hugo Raúl Paulín Hernández, Undersecretary of Productive Inclusion and Rural Development,

Ministry of Welfare of Mexico; Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, Minister of Social Integration, Social Security and National Solidarity of Mauritius; Dominik Ziller, Vice President of International Fund for Agricultural.

The other participants included Prof. Justin Yifu LIN, Dean of Institute of New Structural Economics and Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development at Peking University; Prof. FAN Shenggen,

Chair Professor of China Agricultural University, Former Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute; and Dr. Sabina Alkire, Director of Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative of University of Oxford.

The Forum invited leaders and high-level officials from the developing world. Participants were ministerial government officials from China and other developing countries in Asia,

Africa and Latin America who were in charge of relative departments on poverty reduction and social development, heads of international organizations, ambassadors to China, well-known experts and scholars, and representatives from enterprises, NGOs and media.