By Salman Siddiqui
Qatar is keen to make social development and security the second pillar of its National Vision 2030, aiming to provide a decent living for its citizens generation after generation, HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani has said.
He was addressing the opening session of the World Social Security Forum (WSSF) Qatar 2013 which continues until November 15.
More than 1,000 social security professionals from around 120 countries are participating in the forum to debate the future of social security systems worldwide.
The Prime Minister referred to the ongoing efforts to improve the social security systems in Qatar and said that institutions involved in their implementation were being further improved through a number of political, legislative, strategic and organisational measures.
“The biggest challenge facing social security systems all over the world is how to guarantee its sustainability and maintain its munificence, with its effect not only confined to social, economic and human development plans and its targeted improvement of the standard of living, income increase and improvement of community services, but also extending to the individuals’ humanitarian and cultural values,” he said.
He stressed the need to develop appropriate solutions to challenges facing social security that are compatible with the aspirations of citizens and the availability of financial resources to cover them.
HE the Finance Minister Ali Shareef al-Emadi, observed that hosting of the important international forum reflected Qatar’s keenness to secure the best and high-quality social security services for all its citizens.
“Although the concept of social security has recently been adopted in Qatar, its social security institutions have managed to achieve considerable success and progress.”
He said the country would learn from the diverse experiences of other international social security institutions at the forum and would also establish strong ties with them.
Errol Frank Stoove, president, International Social Security Association (ISSA), thanked the Prime Minister and senior officials for their presence at the opening ceremony.
“Your presence reflects the commitment of your country and the entire region to social security,” he said.
This is the first time that the WSSF has taken place in the Middle East.
Stoove said the ISSA carried a responsibility for people all around the world: “people who are in need, who are encountering difficult moments in their life, whether it is poverty, disease, an accident at work or the loss of a family member.”
He said: “Our responsibility is not only financial, it is not only outstanding performance indicators, our responsibility is moral too.”
Economic volatility, demographic changes, evolving family patterns, changing labour markets, population migration or the increase in chronic conditions were some of the major challenges being faced by people working in the field of social security, he said. In addition, action was needed to extend coverage to important parts of the world population that still did not enjoy social security.
Turki al-Khater, general secretary of Qatar’s General Retirement and Social Insurance Authority, was nominated president of the 31st round of ISSA general assembly yesterday.
The nomination was made by ISSA’s Executive Committee, chaired by president Stoove. ISSA secretary general Hans-Host Konkolewsky announced that the 32nd round of the WSSF would be hosted by Brazil in 2016.