The Governments of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia the Philippines and Timor-Leste meet with UNESCO to discuss ways to improve social inclusion policies
Nusa Dua, Bali 7-9 April 2014. Delegations from the Governments of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Timor-Leste discussed ways to improve social inclusion policies during the workshop “Support to policy making and planning for social inclusion of disadvantaged groups and communities in South-East Asia” jointly organized by UNESCO, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Melbourne.
Mr. Charaf Ahmimed from UNESCO, Mr. Malcolm MacLachlan from Trinity College Dublin and Mr. Hasheem Mannan, University of Melbourne presented methodologies developed by their institutions to address the issue of social inclusion. Well attended by development partners, UN agencies, international organizations and CSOs, the meeting also provided room for sharing projects that have had an impact on addressing social inclusion. Delegations learned about the change made by Community Empowerment programmes in all the five countries. Youth groups from Malaysia and the Philippines presented their experiences working with disadvantaged communities. Delegations discussed a wide range of measures to improve social inclusion policies among which the need to develop indicators for measurement; the importance of paying special attention to youth and particularly to youth unemployment and the special effort required to make a transition from a service delivery approach to a rights a based approach.
Mr. Hubert Gijzen, Director and Representative UNESCO Office Jakarta, reminded the delegations of the need to redress the imbalances of this world as well as the need to build appropriate mechanisms that enable citizens to participate in decision making processes that affect their lives. In this regards, participants learned of the work UNESCO is carrying out throughout Indonesia, working together with municipalities by providing policy advice and stimulating exchange of ideas and good practices. As an example Mr. Gijzen mentioned the development of a “Network for Inclusive Cities” a coalition of municipalities UNESCO is helping to establish with the aim of providing a platform for sharing resources and information regarding inclusive policies in Indonesia.
The Government of Timor-Leste, represented by Ms. Isabel Guterres, Minister of Social Solidarity, presented Timor-Leste’s policies, plans and programmes on social inclusion with special focus on peoples with disabilities and social inclusion of vulnerable women, two groups that she believes require specific attention because of their risk of exclusion. Ms. Guterres shared some of the success her government has had in particularly providing services for people with disabilities and survivors of gender based violence. She also identified some of the challenges ahead but also opportunities “to make more progress on social inclusion at community level”.
Dato’ Norani Hj. Mohd Hashim, Director General of Social Welfare Malaysia expressed Malaysia’s concerns for the “optimum development of the underpriveledged” and explained how the National Social Welfare Policy “aims to create a society whose members are imbued with the spirit of self-reliance, enjoy equal opportunities and care for one another especially for the less fortunate”. As Dato’ Norani explained, “a key thrust is promoting an equitable society by raising the income and quality of life of those in the low-income groups and reducing economic disparity among ethnic groups as well as between locations”. In this sense, Malaysia has strongly advocated for economic development to be meaningful and sustainable. Recognizing the importance of the private sector, Malaysia suggested participants to pay attention on how to find synergies between private sector and government.
Represented by Mr. Nahar, Director of Social Rehabilitation at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Indonesia shared its social protection programme. Mr. Suahasil Nazara, from the Office of the Vice-President of Indonesia presented the Government’s poverty alleviation programmes and shared with the audience the positive experience of Indonesia in developing a unified database for beneficiary targeting. Assistant Secretary Mr. Camilo G. Gudmalin from the Department of Social Welfare and Development of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines presented the experience of the Philippine working towards socially inclusive policies. Mr. Gudmalin provided several examples such as for instance how the healthcare system has addressed inequalities by providing access to health to “79% of the population as of 2013”. Awg. Md Nasrullah El-Hakiem Bin Hj. Awg Mohammed, Principal at the Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sports presented Brunei’s vision of social inclusion and reminded participants of the importance of the family as an institution for building the fabric of social cohesion in a society like Bruneian.
As a follow up to this meeting UNESCO, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Melbourne will be supporting further work regarding the assessment of social inclusion policies in South-East Asia.
Please read opening speech and brief remarks of Mr. Hubert Gijzen, Director and Representative of UNESCO Office Jakarta.
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