Workshop on ‘Best Practices on Promoting the Utilization of Integrated and Digital Technologies in Social Protection Systems in the OIC Countries’
Date: 12-13 September 2023
Venue: Ankara - Türkiye

Within the framework of the COMCEC-funded SESRIC Project on “Promoting Digital Technologies for an Integrated and Efficient Social Protection Systems in the OIC Member Countries”, the Centre, in collaboration with the Malaysian Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) and the Ministry of Family and Social Services of the Republic of Türkiye, organised a Workshop on “Best Practices on Promoting the Utilization of Integrated and Digital Technologies in Social Protection Systems in the OIC countries” on 12-13 September 2023 at SESRIC headquarters in Ankara, Türkiye.

The main aim of the workshop was to exchange experiences and best practices among OIC member countries in the field of social protection and ensure a better understanding of the diverse, successful approaches employed by counterparts in different countries. Participants explored mechanisms to transfer the knowledge and best practices effectively to their own national contexts, ensuring enhanced service delivery for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged segments of their societies.

The workshop brought together 35 participants from the ministries and national institutions in charge of social protection services in 15 OIC member countries and was attended by representatives from the International Social Security Association (ISSA), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), COMCEC Coordination Office (CCO), League of Arab States (LAS), and Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB), who shared the achievements of their respective organisations in this field.

At the outset of the workshop, H.E. Zehra Zümrüt SELÇUK welcomed the participants and expressed her most profound thanks to the main partners of the project, acknowledging their instrumental role as contributors to the project's successful implementation. Furthermore, she extended her sincere thanks to the COMCEC Coordination Office for their steadfast guidance and support, underlining the immense value of support and commitment to the objectives and benefits of the project for the OIC member countries.

In her speech, she stressed that social protection is of paramount importance in safeguarding the well-being and preserving the dignity of individuals and households, particularly during times of vulnerability. Moreover, she highlighted that the principles of zakat and sadaqah are fundamental principles of Islam, as these mechanisms are specifically designed to help the poor and needy and contribute to the financing of social protection programmes. In addition, she underscored the potential of digital technology to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of these programmes. She went on to point out that the initiatives undertaken by some OIC countries in this area are not only commendable but also serve as a model for other member countries, inspiring them to adopt technology-driven social protection systems.

In his speech, H.E. Mr. Selçuk KOÇ, Director General of the COMCEC Coordination Office, underlined that governments are implementing various programmes, particularly social assistance programmes, to meet the urgent needs of the poor. He also added that the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in social security institutions represents a global trend, and their effective integration into those systems has made unprecedented transformations in social assistance delivery operations.

In his turn, H.E. Mr. Azirruan BIN ARIFIN, Head of the Employment Insurance System at the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) of Malaysia, began by expressing SOCSO’s appreciation for being involved in this important project. He then thanked SESRIC for the invitation and for its constant efforts in promoting cooperation among OIC countries, particularly in the areas of employment and social protection. He also underlined SOCSO’s willingness to strengthen its collaboration with SESRIC and actively contribute to the initiatives and projects developed by SESRIC for the benefit of the relevant national institutions of the OIC countries in this field.

H.E. Mr. Rıdvan DURAN, Deputy Minister of Family and Social Services of the Republic of Türkiye, expressed his thanks to SESRIC for its efforts aimed at improving social protection systems by facilitating the exchange of knowledge and experiences among the OIC member countries via such platforms. He underlined the Ministry’s pledge to further support SESRIC’s capacity-building initiatives, sharing their expertise and insights with counterparts from other OIC countries across multifaceted social development.

Following the opening session, the project coordinator gave a keynote presentation on the theme of “Digital Transformation in Social Protection”. The presentation explained the process of digital transformation and highlighted several digital disruptors, as well as strategies to deal with them effectively.

After the keynote presentation, Mr. Davron ISHNAZAROV, Researcher at the Economic and Social Research Department, SESRIC, informed the participants about the efforts of OIC and SESRIC in the domain of social development by providing information on its various activities and reports.

Following the presentations of the International Social Security Association (ISSA), Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB), Regional Hub in Türkiye, ILO, and UNDP, the participating countries also shared their country experiences, highlighting their achievements in the field and the challenges encountered in the digital transformation. Round tables discussed the challenges and opportunities of implementing digital technologies in social protection systems. At the end of the workshop, participants discussed and adopted a list of recommendations for streamlining collaborative efforts, improving the effectiveness of current projects, tackling the challenges identified and ensuring the lasting impact of future initiatives in the field.

The project titled “Promoting Digital Technologies for Integrated and Efficient Social Protection Systems in the OIC Member Countries” comprised two online training courses and an on-site workshop. Its objective was to share best practices and tools for high-level digital involvement and inclusive social protection and to increase the capacity of staff working in relevant areas of social protection through capacity-building and experience-sharing activities.

The COMCEC Coordination Office (CCO) introduced in 2013 the COMCEC Project Funding (CPF), a funding mechanism that finances projects submitted by the Member Countries and relevant OIC institutions to realize the strategic objectives and outcomes of the COMCEC Strategy. Funding is provided in the form of a grant through the Development and Investment Bank of Türkiye, which is one of the main bodies in the COMCEC Project Funding scheme. Since the initiation of the CPF, SESRIC has implemented ten projects under various areas of cooperation and in accordance with sectoral themes determined by the CCO. For more details about SESRIC projects funded by the COMCEC, please visit: