National Social Security Strategy Launched on 5th November 2015

The Government of Bangladesh, in collaboration with UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and UNDP Bangladesh launched the National Social Security Strategy 2015 on Thursday 5th November 2015 at the NEC Auditorium, GED, Planning Commission, Dhaka.

For the first time, the National Social Security Strategy 2015 will address the triple problems of poverty, vulnerability and marginalization which will pave the way for sustainable social development in Bangladesh. The Government embarked on the task of framing a comprehensive strategy for its social security engagement, to coordinate and consolidate the existing safety net programmes for better efficiency and results.

The National Social Security Strategy has been developed under the joint leadership of the Cabinet Division and the General Economics Division, with close involvement of an inter-ministerial committee. After a broad consultative process, the strategy was approved by the Cabinet in June 2015 and launched today. The core of the strategy is a life cycle approach looking at the particular needs, people have over their entire life; benefitting mother and child, youth, vulnerable working age, the elderly and persons with disabilities. Social inclusion of marginalized groups is a central principle, with an expansion of schemes for the extremely poor and most vulnerable people.

The objective of the launching event was to share the National Social Security Strategy amongst government officials, development practitioners, NGO personnel, donor communities and the media.

The National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) launching ceremony was graced by Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP, Hon’ble Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament as Chief Guest; Mr. Abul Kalam Azad, MP, Hon’ble Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Planning; and Mr. Promode Mankin, MP, Hon’ble State Minister, Ministry of Social Welfare as Special Guests, while Mr. AHM Mustafa Kamal, FCA, MP, Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Planning chaired the ceremony. The Chief Guest, Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP, Hon’ble Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament she said that all of the initiatives she discussed are real ways that social security programs have been successful in helping the poor of Bangladesh. The social strategy constitutes proof that there is a site where real change will occur in the lives of the people. She congratulated the government for the NSSS as a core instrument of people-centered development.

Ms. Pauline Tamesis, UNDP Country Director congratulated the Government of Bangladesh for bringing out the National Social Security Strategy. She described how UNDP strategies similarly focus on anticipating the risks and needs of a person through their life and described how a strong antipoverty lifecycle approach is premised on improving a person’s productive capacity and employability in a way that seeks to establish incomes. She remarked how this approach also unites short-term coping mechanisms with long-term strategies to ensure no one is left behind.”

Ms. Sarah Cooke, Country Representative, DFID Bangladesh attended as Guest of Honour. The ceremony was also attended by the respected Senior Secretaries, Secretaries, and high public officials of the Government of Bangladesh, including dignitaries from the civil society, print and media personalities, academics, renowned personalities, including development partners, UN agencies, and NGOs.
Dr Shamsul Alam, Member and Senior Secretary, the General Economics Division of Planning Commission gave a presentation on “a brief on National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) of Bangladesh”. Two eminent economists of Bangladesh: Dr Binayak Sen, Director Research, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS); and Professor M.M. Akash, Economics Department, University of Dhaka took part as discussants and made the event lively.

Mr. AHM Mustafa Kamal, FCA, MP, Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Planning chaired the ceremony praised the NSSS document for containing a formulated theory that deliberately includes everyone and was designed to engage everyone as well. He recognized the many stakeholders who were engaged in the design of the NSSS which he said is why it is such a comprehensive final product through which Bangladesh will deliver. “Trust me we will deliver” he assured. With regards to the ultra poor and marginalized poor, he admitted the fact that the strategy would not be able to lift them into the middle class. However, it has been designed so that all subjects are included and understood so that specific programs will in the least deliver and address these communities. In conclusions, he said that although it is true that in the history of Bangladesh’s poverty has been a crutch, it is important to trust the General Economic Divisions, trust the government and to trust Sheikh Hasina [with this strategy] because “she won’t let you down”.

The Social Security Policy Support (SSPS) Programme is responsible for assisting the roll-out of the NSSS. The SSPS programme is jointly implemented by the Cabinet Division and the General Economics Division, in partnership with DFID and UNDP.