Australia is committed to supporting Pakistan as a partner in its efforts to build economic prosperity and enhance development. The Australian Government has increased its engagement with Pakistan since 2008 in the areas of security cooperation, economic reform, development and democratic governance. Development cooperation is an important component of Australia's bilateral relationship with Pakistan. Australia's total official development assistance to Pakistan has grown substantially over the last six years, increasing from $18.2 million in 2006-07 to $85.7 million in 2012-13. Source: http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/pakistan/
The overall aim of Australian development assistance is to work with the Government of Pakistan towards a stable, secure and democratic country through equitable social and economic development and poverty reduction in line with the Millennium Development Goals. The bilateral development cooperation program focuses on three primary sectors: opportunities for all (education), saving lives (health) and sustainable economic development (agriculture productivity and livelihoods). The Australian Government also supports good governance and provides humanitarian and post-disaster assistance as requested. Source: http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/pakistan/
The Government of Australia is an essential partner of UNDP’s sustainable development work in Pakistan. Currently, Australia is funding our project on the Electoral Cycle Support to the Election Commission of Pakistan. The USD 7.1 million (AUD 7 million) contribution from the Australian Government helped with the preparation of Pakistan’s general elections. This included training polling staff, improving the elections results management system and extending the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) voter education outreach.
For the second phase of the project, the Australian Government is supporting UNDP with longer term capacity strengthening of the ECP, improvements to the electoral process and civic education.
UNDP recently hosted the first in a series of seminars on the role of civic education in strengthening democracy in Pakistan. The seminars are part of a broader program being implemented by UNDP in the sphere of civic education – a critical component for improving the quality of democracy in any country, regardless of the context.
The aim of the program is to nurture the evolution of self-sustainable community based programs which are designed to mobilize more active citizen engagement in the democratic process, especially among women, youth and other marginalized groups. We plan to achieve this objective through generating awareness a popular understanding of key concepts such as civic duty and active citizenship and provide tools which help local communities to advocate for change and hold elected officials accountable.