Rehabilitation of Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas:
EU donates 40 million Euros
The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Friday signed an agreement on the EU’s contribution of 40 million Euros in support to the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA) Programme in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The RAHA Programme was designed to promote regional stability and compensate for social, economic and environmental impacts on Pakistani communities by the presence of more than 3 million Afghans over the past three decades. It also aims at promoting peaceful co-existence between the local communities and the 1.7 million registered Afghans still living in Pakistan. This is a joint programme between the Government of Pakistan, the UN System, international donors and other implementing partners. UNDP and UNHCR will work in close partnership to take the programme forward.
This programme will support the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to bring the poor communities in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa into the mainstream of development by improving access to, and reducing existing inequalities in resources, incomes and livelihood opportunities. The programme will cover 103 Union Councils in 12 districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
“We hope our support will empower community, village and union councils them through capacity-building interventions to identify and prioritize their own development needs and to articulate and negotiate with the relevant authorities and other development actors "said Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, EU Ambassador, Head of EU Delegation.
Mr Lars-Gunnar Wigemark and Mr Timo Pakkala, UNDP Resident Representative/UN Resident Coordinator signed the agreement on behalf of the EU and UNDP respectively. Present on the occasion was Mr Andris Piebalgs, European Union Commissioner for development currently on an official visit to Pakistan. A number of stakeholders and partners including Dr. Imran Zeb, Joint Secretary, States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), Mr. Mohammed Asif, Joint Secretary, Economic Affairs Division of Pakistan and representatives of UN Agencies attended.
Mr. Timo Pakkala thanked the European Union on behalf of the UN for their continuing support to human development in Pakistan and said “The contribution of the European Union to RAHA will be instrumental in creating social cohesion and providing sustainable development support to the disadvantaged and vulnerable communities”.