October 23, 2020: The 42nd meeting of the BISP Board was convened at the BISP headquarters in Islamabad. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar virtually chaired the meeting. The board accelerated necessary approvals for the six month Ehsaas Kafaalat tranche to be released in this quarter. Only the time sensitive agenda was discussed in the meeting. The larger 42nd Board will be convened next month.
October 21, 2020: Dr. Sania highlighted how Pakistan leveraged transparency and rule-based execution to garner public trust in Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme at the live panel webcast hosted by Delivery Associates and the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University. The session was titled, ‘how to build public trust in government’. At the occasion, Dr. Nishtar was joined by a team of panellists- Sir Michael Barber, 1st Chair of Office for Students, regulator of HE in England and Founder, Delivery Associates; Francis Fukuyama, Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute, and Mosbacher Director, CDDRL Stanford; Audrey Jiajia Li, a Chinese nonfiction writer and broadcast journalist; and Anna Grzymala-Busse, Professor of Political Science at Stanford.
October 21, 2020: At the Gairdner Global Perspectives Panel titled, “SDGs & Global Health through COVID-19 lens”, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar shared Pakistan’s lessons from the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme and the potential of end-to-end digitization to be equally and constructively disruptive for the health sector. Other eminent speakers on the panel were- Cleopatra Mugyenyi, Director, Africa Regional Office, International Center For Research On Women; Zulfiqar Bhutta, Inaugural Robert Harding Chair in Global Child Health & Inaugural Ibn Sina Scholar in Global Child Health, Hospital for Sick Children; Co-Director, SickKids Centre for Global Child Health; Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Associate Scientific Director, CAPRISA; Professor, Clinical Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York; Professor, Public Health, Nelson Mandela Medical School; Pro Vice-Chancellor (African Health), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and Salim Abdool Karim, Director, CAPRISA; CAPRISA Professor in Global Health, Columbia University, New York; Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. The Gairdner Global Perspectives Symposium was held in partnership with International Development Research Centre, Grand Challenges Canada Centre for Global Health – Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, and SickKids Centre for Global Child Health.
October 21, 2020: During the virtual roundtable, “Unleashing the South Asian Century Through Human Capital For All” hosted by World Bank Group-IMF, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar discussed how Pakistan is expanding social protection post COVID-19. The event brought together Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, Acting Minister of Finance, Afghanistan; A H M Mustafa Kamal, FCA, MP, Minister, Ministry of Finance, Bangladesh; Lyonpo Namgay Tshering, Minister of Finance, Bhutan; Ibrahim Ameer, Minister of Finance, Maldives; Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada, Special Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, Nepal; Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Education, Sri Lanka; and Minister of Women and Children’s Development of India. The event discussed a proposed framework for action to achieve human capital acceleration in South Asia, through an engaging discussion bringing together policymakers, civil society leaders, private sector participants, and development partners.
October 21, 2020, Speaking at the Jobs Reset Summit 2020 hosted by the World Economic Forum, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar emphasized that social protection must be a right. The theme of the session was, “a new vision for social protection”. Along with Dr. Nishtar, other panellists included Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Belgium; Mike Mansfield, Program Director Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement, Aegon, Netherlands; Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, United Nations, Switzerland; and Gene Zaino, Founder and Executive Chairman, MBO Partners, USA. The session was moderated by Faisal Islam, Economics Editor from BBC News, United Kingdom. The discussions focused on challenges and opportunities for updating existing social safety nets in both low and high income countries.
October 20, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sani Nishtar was invited to keynote the consultative meeting hosted by Health Services Academy Pakistan. The meeting aimed to discuss ‘Economic Aspects of COVID-19 in Pakistan’. Dr. Nishtar connected virtually to keynote the event and shared lessons from the Ehsaas Emergency Cash that was rolled out by the government amid COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Ali Hamandi Health Economist, World Bank Washington D.C; Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Professor & Co-Director, Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto; Dr. Awad Mataria Director, Universal Health Coverage, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Eastern Mediterranean; and Dr. Assad Hafeez Vice Chancellor, Health Services Academy, Islamabad also spoke at the event.
October 18, 2020 – Multan: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi inaugurated the Ehsaas Langar (soup kitchen) in Multan that serves cooked food twice daily to 1,000 people. The Ehsaas Saylani Langar has been opened at the main bus station in Multan. Vehari Chowk is an ideal place for the Langar as labourers and daily wage earners congregate to earn daily wages. As part of the Ehsaas framework, the Ehsaas Langar has been established in a public private partnership with zero cost to the government. The partnering trust (SWIT) will manage the production and distribution of food.
Oct 17, 2020 – Washington: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited by the World Bank Group to speak at an online poverty event, ‘End Poverty Day 2020: Surmounting Setbacks’ during the Annual Meetings to highlight current challenges to poverty reduction and the urgency of redoubling our efforts to end poverty. The event focused on a fast, broad-based response to COVID-19 to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response and health care systems. Together with Dr. Sania Nishtar, the team of distinguished panellists included the World Bank Managing Director for Operations Axel van Trotsenburg; Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy to mobilize the private sector response to COVID; CSO leaders from FCV countries- Lamis Al-Iryani from Yemen and Orzala Nemat from Afghanistan; Dominic Raab, UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs; Sarah Colenbrander, Director of ODI’s Climate and Sustainability program and Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change & Development, Bangladesh; and Ngwashi Christabel Apholung from Cameroon. The session was moderated by Larry Madowo of the BBC.
October 17, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas hosted a high-level virtual event to celebrate the World Poverty Day. The event brought together four executing agencies of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD)- BISP, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) and Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO) along with beneficiaries of various priority programmes of Ehsaas. The main highlight of the occasion was an engaging interaction with beneficiaries of various mainstream Ehsaas programmes and initiatives particularly Ehsaas Kafaalat, Ehsaas Interest Free Loans, Ehsaas Amdan and Ehsaas Nashonuma. This session was followed by an insightful conversation with partner NGOs of TVO. Later in the day, Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal and spent the day with Ehsaas beneficiaries. Dr. Sania sat and interacted with them to gain insights on their aspirations and key problems being confronted by them. She listened to their concerns and assured full cooperation to address their problems. “To make the Ehsaas programme more responsive, the voices of the marginalized are critical”, said Dr. Nishtar.
October 15, 2020 -Bangkok: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) to speak as part of the Regional Conversation on Social Protection: “A Right for All, or a Privilege for a Few?” Along with Dr. Nishtar, the high-level dialogue featured eminent personalities from across the region including Mr. Guy Ryder, ILO Director General; H.E. Ms. Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Minister of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Fiji; H.E. Mr. Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community; Ms. Haiyani Rumondang, Director General of Industrial Relations and Worker’s Social Security, Ministry of Manpower, Indonesia; Ms. Sarah Cook, Director, Institute for Global Development, University of New South Wales; and Mr. Michael Cichon, Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Governance at UNU, Maastricht. The UNESCAP is one of the five regional commissions under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It was established in order to increase economic activity in Asia and the Far East, as well as to foster economic relations between the region and other areas of the world. The Commission is composed of 53 Member States and nine Associate members, mostly from the Asia and Pacific regions.
October 16, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Panagah (shelter home) at G-9 in Islamabad and appreciated the improvement in infrastructure, and living and catering standards to serve the down-and-out people with dignity. The PM also interacted with the daily wagers over the dinner and inquired about facilities being provided to them at the Panagah. “The government would never worry about the funding of such facilities, if it succeeded to win the people’s confidence regarding efficiency and transparency as it would attract the donors to join the noble initiative”, said the PM. He then continued, “The employment opportunities would grow manifold in the country consequent to the government’s ongoing economic policies.” At the occasion, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar, Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) Aon Abbas Buppi and Senator Faisal Javed were also present. “The remodelling of G-9 Panagah in the federal capital is in fact the enforcement of the improved quality standards which would later be emulated across the country”, said SAPM Dr. Nishtar.
October 14, 2020 – Chiang Mai: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar addressed the webinar, How can we reduce inequalities in later life as societies aged? co-organized by Asian Development Bank, HelpAge International and ESCAP. The largest regional intergovernmental platform with 53 Member States and 9 associate members, ESCAP has emerged as a strong regional think-tank offering countries sound analytical products that shed insight into the evolving economic, social and environmental dynamics of the region. The objective of the webinar, taking Asia’s population ageing into consideration, was to strengthen clarity and consensus about the priority steps governments can take to reduce inequality among older people in two dimensions: healthy longevity and income security. Alongside the presentation by Dr. David E. Bloom, Professor of Economics and Demography, Harvard University from Harvard University, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was joined by Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Senior Advisor at the Khazanah Research Institute, Malaysia. Bringing post COVID-19 Ehsaas perspective to the table, SAPM Dr. Nishtar shared steps being taken by the government of Pakistan to address the needs of the elderly during the COVID-19 crisis more broadly as part of social protection under Ehsaas.