Media Update: United Nations Pakistan, 3 May 2021
This Media Update includes:
- ILO - PRESS RELEASE : Continued strengthening of stakeholders on National Social Protection database
- UNESCO - PRESS RELEASE : “UNESCO and Partners Mark 2021 World Press Freedom Day to Promote Information as a Public Good”
Continued strengthening of stakeholders on National Social Protection database
Series of trainings conducted to support the National Centralized database on Social Protection
ISLAMABAD (ILO News): The Ministry of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives responsible for reporting progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in collaboration with the ILO convened a series of meetings to strengthen the capacity of social protection agencies and report on the status of coverage of social protection. For effective horizontal and vertical coordination, the Ministry has developed a mechanism with relevant stakeholders for data collection and reporting on SDGs indicators by developing a dedicated SDGs dashboard to monitor the progress both at national and provincial levels. This data is populated from different sources, and the process of developing linkages with other databases of ministries has been initiated. To this end, a number of orientation sessions were organized in the last quarter of 2020, and several agencies commenced data entry every quarter. However, for Pakistan to report on its SDGs commitments and, more specifically SDG 1.3.1 (Proportion of population covered by social protection floors/systems), specific capacity enhancements are required. To facilitate this, trainings were held for officials from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh wherein 45 officials from 22 social protection agencies focused on familiarizing users with the database, navigating through its features and hands-on data entry. Planning Departments demonstrated a strong commitment in both provinces in coordinating and organizing these sessions The database allows end-users to update and add schemes and provide details on multiple dimensions of their implementation, such as segregation by gender, age, geographic division. It is envisioned that a national report on SDG 1.3.1 will be launched in June 2021 by the Ministry with the support of the ILO. These capacity strengthening efforts are financially and technically supported under the Project, ‘Achieving SDGs and Ending Poverty through Universal Social Protection ’, supported under the UN Peace and Development Trust Fund by the Government of China and jointly implemented by UNDESA and the ILO.
Social Protection Data in Pakistan
Social Protection is one of the key priorities of the Government of Pakistan. This includes SDG indicator 1.3.1. pertaining to social protection. In Pakistan, government departments and institutions at the federal and provincial level provide different levels of social protection coverage. However, the data on social protection is scattered and needs consolidation for precise reporting. With the support of the ILO, the Ministry developed a national database anchored within the SDG dashboard to consolidate the social protection data. The SDG 1.3.1 database is based on a simplified and harmonized reporting format designed keeping in mind the lifecycle approach and the nine branches of social security recommended by the ILO Convention on Social Security (Minimum Standards), C102. This database will be accessible to all social protection agencies to input data on coverage and other dimensions.
“UNESCO and Partners Mark 2021 World Press Freedom Day to Promote Information as a Public Good”
The World Press Freedom Day 2021 was marked with a “Webinar: Promoting Information as a Public Good” on May 3, 2021, by UNESCO in partnership with the European Union Delegation to Pakistan, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Embassy of Sweden in Pakistan and the High Commission of Canada in Pakistan. The webinar was attended by more than 50 participants from civil society, youth, media professionals, academia, international organizations and diplomatic missions.
This year’s theme – “Information as a Public Good” highlighted the significant role of media in bringing authentic information to the public, and how this depends on a wider ecosystem, which enables information as a public good. Experts explored the crucial role of media in these changing times highlighting the criticality that freedom, independence and viability remains intact.
Patricia McPhillips, Country Representative and Director, UNESCO Islamabad, welcomed the participants and emphasised that, “Credible information helps us realize our fundamental rights and promotes accountability and transparency in societies and it is only through journalists working without fear and intimidation, that credibility and authenticity of information can be ensured.”
While moderating the webinar Mr. Usama Khilji from Bolo Bhi highlighted the need to create an enabling environment for upcoming journalists in order to maintain the free flow of information. Myra Imran Stressed upon journalism as public good and its importance in today’s evolving media dynamics, Mr. Shehzad Ghias, digital content producer, shared his experience while elaborating the need to devise hybrid economic viability models. During the webinar, Maria Nadir a young media and information literacy trainer from Baluchistan explained the importance of media and information literacy as a tool to counter fake news and disinformation.
In his concluding remarks, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., European Union Delegation to Pakistan, Mr. Thomas Seiler, reiterated that journalists are the frontline workers of every democracy. They must be able to work freely. They help detect and counter disinformation. Covid-19 has shown us drastically how important reliable and fact-checked information is for a functioning democratic state. On World Press Freedom Day, we reiterate our commitment to protecting those who make use of this fundamental freedom to keep us informed every day.
The World Press Freedom Day was commemorated under UNESCO’s Multi-Donor Programme for Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP). The MDP strengthens UNESCO’s work at global, regional and national levels by channelling funds towards emerging priorities and the most pressing needs to achieve its mandate on freedom of expression.