The Cabinet Division, as the coordinating authority for implementation of the National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) of Bangladesh, organized a flagship event titled as ‘Bangladesh Social Security Conference and Knowledge Fair 2019’ on 04-05 December 2019 at Bangandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Novo Theatre, Dhaka. With support from DFAT (AusAid), UKAid and UNDP, the Social Security Policy Support (SSPS) Programme of the Cabinet Division and the General Economics Division (GED) of Planning Commission provided technical assistance in organizing the conference and fair.
The inaugural ceremony of the conference and fair was graced by the august presence of Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP, Hon’ble Speaker, Bangladesh Parliament as the Chief Guest. Mr. Nuruzzaman Ahmed, MP, Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Social Welfare adorned the occasion by his kind presence as a Special Guest. Khandaker Anwarul Islam, Cabinet Secretary, Government of Bangladesh was the chair of the inaugural ceremony while Dr. Shamsul Alam, Member (Senior Secretary), General Economics Division (GED) made the keynote presentation to set the tone of the whole conference.
The conference became even more significant with the vibrant presence of the heads/representatives of the development partners as guests of honour including Mr. Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh; Mr. Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director, ILO; Ms. Angela Naumann, Head of Aid of DFAT (Australia) in Bangladesh; Ms. Judith Herbertson, Head of DFID (UKAid) Bangladesh; and Mr. Mauriuzio Cian, Head of Cooperation, European Union. The conference and fair was participated, among others, by representatives of social protection implementing ministries, practitioners, academics, NGOs and private sector organizations.
The main objective of the Bangladesh Social Security Conference and Knowledge Fair 2019 was to disseminate and discuss the findings of a number of researches on different crucial issues of social protection and to review the NSSS implementation status. It was a wider consultative process paving the way for further reforms in social protection portfolio of Bangladesh in line with national social development goals of the country. The conference would provide important inputs for the upcoming 8th Five Year Plan 2021-2025.
The two-day long programme was divided into several sessions which included the inaugural ceremony, five working sessions and a dialogue followed by a short wrap up session. The inaugural ceremony featured a keynote presentation on ‘Implementation Status of National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) of Bangladesh: A Reflective Analysis’by Dr. Shamsul Alam, Member (Senior Secretary), General Economics Division (GED).
Specific thematic areas of social protection were deliberated upon during the working sessions, each of which featuring several presentations and discussions by renowned scholars and practitioners. The conference came up with recommendations that some of the NSSS agenda like consolidation of smaller programmes, single registry Management Information Sysgtem (MIS), Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) mechanism and Government to Person (G2P) direct payment system should be meaningfully implemented without delay as timeline for those have already exceeded.
It was also recommended that some of the NSSS policies may be realigned with the practical needs and the actual situation of social protection in Bangladesh. It was also articulated that the initiatives for implementing the lifecycle based social security programme by the implementing ministries and agencies should be further enhanced. The technical assistance of the development partners for catalyzing social security reforms were appreciated and recommended for continuation till the substantive implementation of the NSSS.