Dr Sania highlights ‘Ehsaas programme’s achievements at UN’s forum

Imran Yaqub Dhillon
New York

Senator, Dr. Sania Nishtar Federal Minister, and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Poverty Alleviation and Social protection highlights ‘Ehsaas programme’s achievements at UN’s forum.

Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak at UN’s high-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development.

This session was convened by ECOSOC, under the Presidency of Pakistan. (Ambassador Munir Akram is the current president of ECOSOC).

Bringing Pakistan’s perspective to the table, Dr. Sania highlighted that the Pandemic has unearthed an opportunity to recast the role of the welfare state, which needs to be a major part of the re-commitment to agenda 2030.

“In Pakistan, we believe the social protection of today is the human capital, the resilience, and the economic inclusion of tomorrow.

Investing in social protection is both a response to current needs as well as preparedness for and insurance against future crises.

We are humbled that through Pakistan’s social protection program, Ehsaas—led by our Prime Minister—strong acceleration towards this goal is underway” she said. The session was moderated by Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP.

She shared three lessons with the international audience. “First, our experience has taught us that data innovation, delivery systems, and a commitment to integrity, transparency, and accountability are crucial to address the long-standing fault lines, that have plagued public sector delivery.

Today, Pakistan’s reform hinges on these attributes. Secondly, gaps in financial and digital literacy must be addressed to bridge the digital divide and it is with this in view that we have built financial inclusion into the overall design of expanded social protection” she said further adding “Third, we must protect human capital from negative coping strategies that are inevitable as a result of the pandemic—and in this regard, Pakistan is amongst the first few countries that acted concretely”.

Building on the report of the Secretary-General on, “Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals” and the relevant General Assembly and ECOSOC meetings related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the session took stock of the SDGs’ overall progress taking into account the impact of the pandemic and the experiences and responses of countries at various development levels.

“It {Ehsaas} has more than 280 programs, policies pillars and initiatives, structured in four thematic pillars, targeting for vulnerable 14 vulnerable groups. There are 34 executing agencies of the program.

It’s a very ambitious program and in order to roll the program out, we had to create a new ministry, we had to double the budget, we had to create a digital infrastructure.