The Regional Policy Dialogue is a product of UNICEF’s longstanding partnership with SAARC in promoting Policy Dialogue on children’s issues, and it is being held to support SAARC member states in fulfilling their commitments in the area of social protection and children. This initiative:
- It is based on the SAARC Social Charter‘s call for a “practical platform for concerted, coherent and complementary action in enhancing the equity and sustainability of social programmes.”
- It is rooted in the commitment to the SAARC Development Goal (SDG) of “Reducing social and institutional vulnerabilities of the poor, women, and children” (SDG 6), and in particular is linked with the monitoring of the third indicator associated with the SDG 6: Coverage or amount of public expenditure as % of GDP on Social Protection for the vulnerable groups.
- It is associated with the SAARC Regional Strategic Framework for the Protection, Care and Support of Children affected by HIV/AIDS and its call for social protection interventions to support all families in difficult circumstances.
- It is also linked to the recommendations of the recent SAARC-UNICEF Policy Dialogue on Adolescents calling for social protection programs to specifically target marginalized and vulnerable groups such as children and adolescents.
- It is a follow up of the commitment taken at the Third Ministerial Meeting on Social Protection Policies in South Asia held in Colombo in 2011. The Colombo Declaration called for:
– Emphasizing child-sensitive social protection initiatives as an effective strategy to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and reduce socio-economic disparities;
– Prioritizing financing for social protection measures in national expenditure plans;
– Strengthening regional cooperation among our countries in enriching the field of social protection research and outreach.