In the run-up to the “National Conference on Social Policies in Bahrain” being organized by the Bahraini Ministry of Social Development and UNESCWA in Manama on 24 and 25 April, Bahraini Social Development Minister Fatima bint Mohamed Al Beloushi hoped the conference would be an opportunity for dialogue and partnership to establish social policies for the Kingdom that are based on scientific planning. She also hoped it would lead to a national consensus on social policies between the Ministry of Social Development and concerned experts from the public and private sectors. Beloushi’s statement was made to the UNESCWA Information Service that is covering the event in collaboration with the host country’s Social Development Ministry.
Beloushi said the conference would be an opportunity to discuss important social topics such as social legislation, social security, and the impact of economic development on Bahraini society, adding that successful case studies would also be discussed with UNESCWA and national experts to reach a clear vision of the policy to be adopted by the Ministry.
On the importance of social development, Beloushi said, “Under the wise political leadership of King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa, Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, and Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Bahrain has a specialized ministry renamed as the Ministry of Social Development instead of the Ministry of Social affairs due to the importance it holds for both the leadership and the government. The Ministry has undertaken to plan programs in a way that allows it to benefit from international experiences with the aim of catapulting the Kingdom into the ranks of those countries with advanced social policies. This falls in line with what the Kingdom has achieved to date, earning it the number one slot among Arab countries in the Human Development Report of 2004.”
Beloushi concluded by saying that the Social Development Ministry is currently engaged in implementing a number of projects and programs aimed at developing the capacities of nongovernmental organizations; promoting productive family projects; establishing offices for child protection and family guidance; and developing ways to integrate the aged and those with special needs into society, in addition to other projects with a direct impact on social development.
The “National Conference on Social Policies in Bahrain” will be held at the Crown Plaza Hotel starting Monday, 9am, on 24 April 2006. It will seek to enhance the capacities of all stakeholders in the social policymaking process in Bahrain; and engage the government, civil society and the private sector in formulating, implementing and monitoring integrated social policies with a reference to successful experiences in this regard. Policy makers in Bahrain will be provided with a guidebook and training on policy formulation, implementation and monitoring tailored to the needs of Bahraini citizens and which takes into consideration the specificities of the social situation in Bahrain.
During the two-day conference, participants will hold discussions based on papers prepared by experts bearing in mind the specificities of Bahrain and taking into consideration the findings of the following studies/reports published by UNESCWA, including: best practices studies under the Social Policies Series: Norway, Korea, Malaysia, Canada and Tunisia; the Country Profile on Bahrain; and the flagship Report 2005, Towards Integrated Social Policies in Arab Countries: Framework and Comparative Analysis.
Participants in the Conference will include representatives from the Kingdom’s ministries and other institutions concerned with socio-economic affairs, universities, research and training centers, civil society organizations, and other organizations concerned with development issues, the League of Arab States, UN Development Programme, and UN Children’s Fund, and other individuals attending in a private capacity.
The conference assigns great importance to the support that media institutions give the issue of social development. It is necessary to involve the media not only in highlighting social policies but also in formulating these policies and applying them. The need for a media strategy is also needed in this regard.
For more information contact Mr. Nabil Abu-Dargham, Information Officer, Mobile: +961-3-428 438, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +961-1-978 894, Fax: +961-1-981527.