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With the Royal Norwegian Embassy, UNDP Pakistan increases resilience and social cohesion amongst some of the most vulnerable communities in Pakistan. In some of the most underdeveloped areas of southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), UNDP is implementing the Youth and Social Cohesion Project in partnership with the Royal Norwegian Embassy and Telenor Pakistan. The financial support provided by the embassy was instrumental in initiating work at the institutional and grassroots levels. This included funding for collaborative research studies with national universities and international research institutes and the development of an open source conflict mapping platform to inform government decision making on peace building and conflict resolution.

“The Royal Norwegian Embassy  is proud to support the youth of Pakistan in their struggle against violent extremism in collaboration with UNDP. UNDP has a long-standing commitment to Pakistan’s peace, prosperity and stability, and offers unique strategic benefits and a rich operational experience in the country’s development milieu. The organization has contributed significantly to Pakistan’s development through successful and effective policy support and programmes. Norway also has a strong, deep and rich association with the people of Pakistan, exemplified by the achievements of a large and successful Norwegian Pakistani diaspora, and our significant investments and commitments to Pakistan’s development,” says Tore Nedrebø, the Ambassador.

The embassy supports a host of grassroots initiatives to improve living standards amongst marginalized communities and develop youth resilience against involvement in armed violence. This includes small scale infrastructure support, capacity development (livelihoods and mentorship trainings), and sports, recreational, and cultural activities. A major part of this work is the construction of multifunctional community centres where villagers can gather for cultural, sports, and development activities. The centres also serve as disaster assembly points and future disaster management committees will be based here.

In areas of southern KP where the Youth and Social Cohesion Project is implemented, UNDP has incorporated an extensive disaster risk reduction (DRR) component which translates this global paradigm into capacity building in local contexts. DRR training modules are now helping to create a cohort of people on the ground who can take the lead in improving the safety and security of their communities in the aftermath of disasters. The training includes basic DRR concepts, community contingency planning, early warning systems, and emergency first aid training, with an emphasis on a community-based approach.

Through such activities, youth in southern KP will enhance collective learning about the social construction of risk and violence in their communities. They will improve their ability to identify and deal with risk, gain civic responsibility build an understanding of human rights, and strengthen bonds with communities. By participating in the training, women will be empowered through new opportunities to engage beyond the domestic sphere and to contribute to the welfare of their communities.

The embassy also supported UNDP’s Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) initiative in five districts of Balochistan, KP and Sindh. This initiative brings communities to participate actively in managing disaster risks through community disaster management committees and mitigation schemes in areas which are frequently hit by hydro-meteorological disasters.

Activities under the projects funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy pave the way for future research which will shed further light on the multifaceted relationship between DRR and social cohesion.

For more information, please refer to UNDP’s integrated approach on peacebuilding and DRR:

http://www.pk.undp.org/content/pakistan/en/home/presscenter/articles/2016/02/25/undp-pakistan-integrated-approach-to-peacebuilding-and-disaster-.html

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