Although economic growth will continue to play an important role to help eradicate poverty, other supporting instruments will also be required. One such instrument is an effective and efficient social security system. The National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) proposes short, medium and long term solutions. In this regard, a National Consultation on key policy issues took place on 10 August 2017 at the Celebrity Hall, Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC), Dhaka. The objective of the National Consultation exercise was to share knowledge, experience and current challenges in relevant social protection areas and to strengthen the policy making capacity of Government and associated civil society organisations in social security.
There is a need for evidence from research to inform policy decisions, to monitor and evaluate the performance of reform work envisaged in the NSSS, and a need for social protection, to counter escalated vulnerabilities caused by climate change. So, three papers were presented and discussed: National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) Research Needs; NSSS Result-based Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework; and Climate Change and Adaptive Social Protection Issues in Bangladesh.
The Consultation on Climate Change and Adaptive Social Protection identified scopes to bring adaptation and gender empowerment co-benefits with slight modification/reform of four key social protection programmes. A study has established direct relationship between poverty, gender and climate change vulnerability. There was a brief on who the poor are and how poverty and climate vulnerability are interlinked. The study outlined how additional financing can bring larger and coherent benefits with proper targeting and programming of adaptive social protection programmes. The session also explored the gender dimensions of disasters and climate change.
At the Consultation on Research Needs for the National Social Security Strategy existing gaps in knowledge were outlined and areas of research support that would need to fill the knowledge gaps for improved implementation of the social security system were identified. Research was categorised into five thematic areas: Targeting and Selection, Accessibility, Value for Money, Coordination and Implementation, and Monitoring and Evaluation.
The Consultation on Results based Monitoring and Evaluation addressed the issue that there is no formal monitoring and evaluation mechanism for the Social Security Programmes. There is a need to introduce assessment of the effect that these programmes have on the welfare of beneficiaries. A continuous monitoring and evaluation process of should be used to improve delivery processes, document results, inform policymakers and mobilise political support.
Dr Shamsul Alam, Member (Senior Secretary), General Economics Division of the Planning Commission chaired the National Policy Consultations of the National Social Security Strategy of Bangladesh.
The Consultation was attended by Senior Secretaries, Secretaries and other officials of the Government of Bangladesh, development partners, UN agencies, NGOs and representatives of civil society. The programmes were arranged by the Social Security Policy Support (SSPS) Programme which assists in 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.