Dr. Moeed W. Yusuf, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security & Strategic Policy Planning kicked off the first meeting of the Advisory Council for the project “Saving Lives and Livelihoods by supporting Food Security, Small and Medium Enterprises and Universal Social Protection Mechanisms to cope with COVID-19 Impacts in Pakistan”.
The project, which is being jointly undertaken by the International Development Research Center (IDRC) and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), looks to support the Government of Pakistan, in the wake of COVID-19, in maintaining essential economic activity, and protecting workers and smaller producers.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Moeed Yusuf stated that this project could feed into real-time data at national and provincial levels which is vital for food security and economic well-being, as both aspects deemed necessary prerequisites for national security by the Government.
Dr. Abid Suleri, Executive Director SDPI, walked the committee through the multi-sectoral the thematic focus of the project which looks at food security, small to medium enterprises (SMEs), and social protection systems. Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Joint Executive Director, SDPI, elaborated upon the key elements of this project which are documenting evidence on COVID-19’s impact, evidence-based input informing response strategies during relief and recovery phases, and strengthening local research.
The importance of all efforts to be underlined by a gender-responsive lens was also highlighted. SDPI’s articulation of linkages between these sectors and their vital role in uplifting the economy, particularly the marginalized segments, was lauded by the Committee.
The collaborative efforts from various stakeholders at national and provincial level including the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Ministry of Industries and Productions, SMEDA, BISP, PMAS – University of Arid Agriculture and Research, MNS – the University of Agriculture Multan with the coordinating role of National Security Division would ensure the strengthening of evidence-informed government responses.
The Vice-Chancellor MNS University Multan Dr. Asif Ali stated that his team is available to collaborate with SDPI to achieve food security and economic prosperity.