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ISLAMABAD, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 11th Augst,2016) : Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is committed to sustain and cooperate with all implementing and development partners in developing and reforming the social protection system in the Province. Addressing at the concluding ceremony of two-days training workshop, Director for the Special Development Unit (SDU), Planning & Development Department (P&DD), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Muhammad Fakhr-e-Alam said that the province of KP is passing through a very critical juncture of its history.

The issues of protracted emergency coupled with natural disasters have worsened the existing social protection situation. There is an increased rise in the vulnerabilities of the common people. He said that the government is trying its level best to respond to the need of the people and redefine the structure and roles of the existing social protection system aligning them to social protection floor concept.

He highlighted the need for a social protection system to be more inclusive, comprehensive and well coordinated. The Director said that KP is among the poorest provinces with poverty incidence of 41.3% against 26% at the national level. However, the KP Government is cognizant of its responsibility, and is fully committed to assist the poorest of the poor. The participants were informed that the province has made substantial efforts towards a coordinated social service delivery system by adopting an updated and comprehensive planning document of the province the Integrated Development Strategy (2014-2018) with the objective to deliver the fundamental rights and privileges to its citizens with the following priority areas of social services, education, health, livelihood, safe drinking water & sanitation, good governance, poverty reduction, employment, and skilled work force.

He appreciated the joint efforts of ILO and KP Government in devising the draft "Social Protection Policy" and the "Two Years Social Protection Strategy" for the years 2016-17. He also informed participants about the GIZ's commitment to support four major components of the 2-Years Strategy. Valerie Schmitt, Chief of Social Policy, Governance and Standards Branch, ILO Geneva, greeted the participants and said that social protection is a human right and it can become a reality for all.

She said that member states of the ILO have adopted a Recommendation on social protection floors in June 2012. Social protection including floors is also part of the sustainable development goals that have been adopted at the global level. Social protection is not new to Pakistan but many challenges remain such as gaps in coverage, overlaps and inefficiencies. To improve the situation, the Government of KP has conducted a mapping study based on which they have developed a comprehensive social protection policy.

The roadmap for the implementation of this policy includes the design and implementation of an integrated and coordinated social protection system based on the social protection floor concept. She further said that Pakistan is signatory to a number of ILO's Conventions including the three on Social Security. The need for joint efforts and involving all stakeholders including social partners at each stage of the design was also highlighted by her.

She also mentioned that the Social Protection Floor Initiative in KP was initially funded by the Japan Social Safety Net that has come to an end in Jun, 2016. She assured the Government of KP of the ILO's continued technical support to implement Coordinated Social Protection System in the Province as part of ILO's Global Flagship Programme on Building Social Protection Floors. She emphasized the need for efforts to "leave no one behind" to ensure that social protection schemes are available and accessible to all people in the country and underlined the importance of continuous improvement of the existing social protection system..