Press Release No.56/2009


United Nations, New York, July 29, 2009:Federal Minister and Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Ms. Farzana Raja, who is on a visit to New York, met with the head of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Ms. Thoraya Obaid, in her Office.

Ms. Farzana Raja told UNFPA's Executive Director that the innovative programme was aimed at empowering women and reducing poverty as also to ultimately increase the number of people under its social safety net.

Ms Obaid complemented the Government of Pakistan for launching this programme, which would contribute to the empowerment of women. She also praised the role of Pakistan's Permanent Mission for coordinating with her in accomplishing the common goals of UNFPA and Pakistan. The UNFPA could collaborate with BISP in reducing maternal mortality rate in Pakistan.

The Federal Minister was accompanied by the President Think Tank International, Dr. Ammar Turabi, and senior officials of Pakistan Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

Ms Farzana Raja also briefed the Executive Director of UNICEF (United Nations Children Fund), Ms. Anne Veneman, on BISF, when she met her.

Ms. Veneman appreciated the work being done by the BISP in providing social protection, especially to women and children and expressed UNICEF’s desire to help BISP in every possible manner

Ms Farzana Raja also met with Executive Director of UNIFEM, Ms Ines Alberdi. During the meeting, the Minister discussed the current national survey being undertaken by the Government of Pakistan to determine the level of poverty in the country. Ms Farzana Raja said that the unique feature of the programme was to support a family by channelizing funds through its female members. She informed the Executive Director that transparency was the hallmark of the programme and sought international assistance for further improving transparency of the programme.

Ms Alberdi praised BISP and appreciated the cooperation being extended to UNIFEM by the government of Pakistan. She informed the Minister that she would be visiting Pakistan in November this year.

Ms Farzana Raja also met Mr Farid Belhaj, the Representative of the World Bank in the United Nations. During the meeting, Ms Raja informed her that Pakistan believes that the World Bank and other international financial institutions should work closely to develop a well coordinated strategies to deal with financial crises.

The Minister is also expected to call on the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and some other UN officials.