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Japan gives USD 12 million to UNDP for NWFP

Islamabad, 10 December 2009: The Government of Japan signed an agreement today with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide USD 12 million for peace building, governance and economic recovery for the conflict-affected areas of NWFP and parts of FATA.

Official Exchange of Notes (E/N) to this effect were signed and exchanged between His Excellency Mr. Chihiro ATSUMI, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, and Mr. Toshihiro TANAKA, Country Director, UNDP, Pakistan. Mr. Sibtain Fazal Halim, Secretary of the Economics Affairs Division, the Government of Pakistan, and Mr. Shakeel Qadir Khan, Director General of the Provincial Relief, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PaRRSA), NWFP were also present.

Speaking on the occasion the Japanese Ambassador H.E Mr. Chihiro Atsumi stated, '"This development programme by the UNDP will support the rehabilitation and resettlement of the persons wishing to return to a peaceful and secure community. As Pakistan strives to rebuild infrastructure, empower women and bring smiles and hope on the faces of the youth, I hope the region will soon regain the strength that it deserves to have," Appreciating UNDP's effort in this regard, he further stated "We appreciate the role that the UNDP has been playing in the development of Pakistan, and trust that the ongoing efforts by Pakistan and the UNDP will be a step to bring peace and stability in the area."

The three-year programme will help IDPs reconstruct their lives as they return home. The conflict in NWFP and FATA resulted in the displacement of 2.7 million people. As peace was restored, 1.6 million people have returned so far. Many of these return to a life of uncertainty. 53-year-old Khanum Bibi from Malakand is one of them. 'prior to the conflict, I had managed to support my 8 grand children and their widowed mother through some livestock farming and by selling embroidery. The money I saved has been spent on the displacement, my husband and son are dead, I need help to restart my business'. The much-needed and generous support of the Japanese Government will help many like Khanum Bibi.

Early recovery activities will be undertaken. These are essential to bridge the gap between relief which is immediate and rebuilding and rehabilitation which is long term. Specifically, these early recovery activities include restoring livelihoods through cash for work on rubble removal (estimated at 2,282,500 tons) and involving the community in micro infrastructure projects such as water pumps, water pipelines, footpaths, culverts etc., which have been destroyed. People will also be trained in different skills and supported financially to undertake small projects or businesses in the farm (agriculture, horticulture) and non-farm sectors (marble quarrying, gem and jewelry, carpentry, tourism) sectors. This programme will also help the provincial and local authorities to have a coordinated response to the needs of the returnees.

At a more strategic level, UNDP will also work towards gaining a better understating of its structural causes of the conflict while addressing them in a comprehensive manner. For this purpose, peace committees and alternate dispute resolution mechanisms will be established.

The programme will focus on the conflict affected population with a special emphasis on the vulnerable, especially women-headed households; families with disabled members; families that have 10 members and an income of Rs. 7000.

Commenting on the commitment of the Japanese Government towards supporting key early recovery interventions at the time of crisis, Mr. Toshihiro Tanaka, Country Director, UNDP. stated, "UNDP and Japan have had a fruitful partnership through which Japan provided support to the national elections in 2008 and made a substantial contribution after the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. We were able to provide the critically needed transitional housing for the affectees and undertake rubble removal that lead the way to reconstruction in the affected areas. Japan's timely contribution to help the IDPs will contribute significantly not only towards restoring livelihoods and micro community infrastructure but towards governance support for long-term peace and development of the conflict-affected communities'.

For further information and media assistance, please contact,
Mehreen Saeed, Communication Analyst, Mariyam Nawaz, Communications Assistant,
Strategic Management Unit, UNDP Pakistan
UN House No. 12, Street 17, F-7/2 Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-8355650 or Email: mehreen.saeed@undp.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. Website: http://www.undp.org.pk