Joint Program Steering Committee reviews the progress and agrees the future steps
18 June 2021
Held online and co-chaired by Mr. Muhammetseyit Sylapov, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population of Turkmenistan, and Ms. Christine Weigand, UN Resident Coordinator a. i., the meeting brought together the Deputy Chair of Mejlis and Deputy Ministers from the leading partner ministries and national entities as well as the heads and representatives of the participating UN agencies.
In their opening statements, the Co-Chairs of the Steering Committee highlighted “a lot of work that has been done… and important milestones achieved” as a result of “joint efforts of our partners in the Joint Programme, as well as the specialists and experts involved in it.” They also expressed “high hopes that the results of this joint program will benefit those who are at risk of being left behind, which is the ultimate goal of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.”
The participants watched a short video telling about a new profession of social work specialists in Turkmenistan. It demonstrated how their engagement and provision of community based social services can help transform the lives of people and families.
Further on, the specialists of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population presented the results of the needs assessment conducted by social work specialists in the field and proposed follow up actions stemming from the analysis, including a preliminary projection on the number of social work specialists the country could deploy to fill the gaps in social service provision system.
To support the systemic changes, the representatives of Mejlis of Turkmenistan updated the Steering Committee members on the legislative review activities conducted in the last 6 months. In their turn, the Ministry of Education experts presented the long-term and short-term strategies for building social service workforce in Turkmenistan in response to the system needs.
The participants also discussed the issues of sustainability of the Joint Programme. It also included matters relating to the possibility of including social work specialists to the State Budget and steps to be taken for creation of the fiscal space for introduction of the community-based social services. The Heads and representatives of the UN agencies participating in the Programme emphasised the importance of taking future steps in cooperation with the national partners to ensure that the ongoing efforts in developing the community-based social services become as an integral part of the social protection system in the country.
Finally, the meeting participants agreed on the non-cost extension of Joint Programme on social services financed by the UN’s Joint SDG Fund in order to provide sufficient time for piloting specialized social services agreed to be implemented by the Governmental and NGOs to ensure proper data collection and documentation.
The Joint Programme “Improving the system of social protection through the introduction of inclusive quality community-based social services”, funded by the Joint SDG Fund, is being implemented by the partnering UN agencies, namely, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, and UNODC and Government of Turkmenistan. The Joint Programmeaims to introduce a new model of social services at the community level accompanied by relative legislative reviews and capacity building of national social service workforce. The lead national partner is the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of Turkmenistan and the lead UN agency is UNICEF. Other key national partners include Mejlis, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, and Ministry of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan.
Implementation period: 2020-2022.