‘Private, public philanthropy a must to help the needy’

LAHORE : Private and public philanthropy is a must for helping the needy people in Asia. The post COVID-19 scenario has made it crystal clear for the governments, donors and social sector to work in unparalleled unison to build a stronger, more prosperous and more equitable Asia as the nations grapple with the worst economic crisis caused by the global pandemic.

This was the crux of the findings of the regional study of the second edition of Doing Good Index (DGI2020) launched by Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP) and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in partnership with Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS) highlighting the ways to do more social good in post-COVID-19 Pakistan.

The DGI2020 study reveals the vital role of the social sector in development and how it can help or hinder Asian countries uplift. It also identifies opportunities for Pakistan to do more for society as well as how private/corporate donors must play their part in meeting people’s needs. It provides a road map of the policies and practices that will incentivise giving and foster a thriving and effective social sector. It can help philanthropists, policymakers, researchers, social delivery organisations and engaged citizens understand what levers can best increase philanthropic giving in their countries.

It also spotlights how to improve accountability and transparency to address the trust deficit faced by the social sector that can hold potential donors back. As the world struggles to cope with the ongoing pandemic, it is clear that there is no going back to the way things were. Faced with stagnating or contracting economies, governments in Asia are finding it difficult to keep pace with the growing needs of their people. In this context, the social sector, backed by funding from businesses and private individuals, has become even more critical in the provision of vital social services. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, charitable giving has focused on local community response. International support is declining and “Asia for Asia” philanthropy must fill the gap. If Asians donate the equivalent of 2 per cent of their gross domestic product, an enormous US$587 billion can be made available annually – 12 times the net foreign aid flowing to Asia, and nearly 40 per cent of the additional US$1.5 trillion that Asia Pacific needs to spend annually to meet the UN’s SDGs by 2030.

“Asia has amassed one-third of the world’s wealth, but still has two-thirds of the world’s poor,” said Dr Ruth Shapiro, CEO of CAPS, adding that it offers a unique opportunity to use this newly-created wealth to alleviate poverty, protect environment and promote societal resilience. Shazia Amjad, executive director, PCP, said; “We are committed to the sustainable development of Pakistan, and the declines in funding for the social sector particularly from international donors poses a significant challenge during the pandemic.” She said that policies, programmes, laws and regulations that support immediate societal needs are more stringent than ever.”