UNDP Pakistan Annual Report 2019

May 28, 2020

In 2019, UNDP continued its decades-long partnership with the government and people of Pakistan, finding and implementing sustainable solutions to improve governance, increase resilience, protect the environment and sustain development. We do this as part of the United Nations System, working together as One UN to support Pakistan's vision to improve the lives of all its people.

The year 2019 brought new challenges for Pakistan and for UNDP's work in the country. Pakistan experienced challenging economic conditions as growth slowed to 3.3% and the exchange rate depreciated, austerity measures were introduced in the context of structural reforms. This posed challenges for Pakistan's largest-ever generation of young people now entering the workforce.

In this context, we supported the government in taking bold steps to meet its challenges. This year saw the launch of the Prime Minister's Kamyab Jawan programme, a youth development initiative which drew on the recommendations of the National Human Development Report (2018) to meet the education, employment and engagement needs of young people. The National Youth Development Framework, designed with substantive UNDP inputs, will guide these efforts nationally.


We continued our long-standing engagement with government and communities in the historic enterprise to integrate Merged Areas into the economic, political and social mainstream. This included institutionalizing twinning arrangements between the Merged Areas and settled districts of KP. In the same vein, we supported the development of Constitutional Bill (Amendment), 2019, providing for political representation for the region, a roadmap for financial integration, and the Tribal Decade Strategy: a 10-year plan to improve development indicators in a region which experienced decades of marginalization and years of insecurity. We also supported the design and approval of a three-year Accelerated Implementation Plan to propel the strategy forward.

Our support to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), a key democratic institution, included the development of a strategic implementation plan and training for officials to conduct elections in the Merged Areas of KP and to prepare for local government elections. I am particularly proud that UNDP support to ECP in conducting inclusive elections contributed to the fact that no constituency's results in the Merged Areas were declared void because women's turnout did not meet the minimum threshold. This is a major achievement in a region with cultural barriers on political participation by women.

We reinforced our commitment to supporting countries to uphold human rights and contributed to the implementation of a Human Rights Information Management System in all four provinces. In partnership with the Ministry of Human Rights, we facilitated the development of 245 human rights indicators through a bottom-up consultative process. These will improve implementation and monitoring of human rights across the country. The Ministry of Human Rights also conducted a baseline assessment for the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights with our assistance. We also built the capacity of the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR), laying the foundation for it to seek A-grade accreditation by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions as being fully compliant with the Paris Principles.

In the context of rights-based development, our efforts continued to increase access to justice, especially for women, and to build trust between communities and rule of law bodies. In KP, we supported the Bar Council to establish legal aid desks, and the government to institute model police stations with gender-sensitive protocols. The development of a gender policy for law enforcement agencies in Balochistan will encourage women to join agencies and serve as a model for other provinces and regions.

Towards the end of the year, the Government of Pakistan finalized and launched its National Action Plan and Investment Prospectus on Sustainable Energy for All, developed by the Planning Commission with UNDP support. This provides an actionable roadmap for transforming the energy system to incorporate renewables and ensure access to clean energy for all Pakistanis. To conserve delicate ecosystems and Pakistan's wealth of biodiversity, we supported the development of the Punjab Forest Policy. In Gilgit-Baltistan's (GB) Central Karakorum and Deosai National Parks, an area of over 300,000 hectares was covered by management plans to protect this unique mountain environment and its wildlife.

In 2019, building on our commitment to mainstreaming innovation, we launched UNDP Innovation-AccLab Pakistan. AccLab Pakistan is part of UNDP's global network of 60 labs serving 78 countries and working with global and national partners and local innovators to find radically new approaches to addressing complex current development challenges.

We also drew on our global network of expertise, enhancing cooperation and learning amongst countries. We convened stakeholders from Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to share their experiences on Green Sukuk and Shariah-compliant investments in climate finance.

As we enter this new decade, we foresee the milestones and challenges that lie ahead. There are growing worries about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Pakistan’s most vulnerable population and the economy.

We are now only 10 years from the finish line of a 15-year global journey to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030. Pakistan was amongst the world's first countries to adopt the SDGs as national goals. I am confident that, with strong partnerships and accelerated efforts at every level, Pakistan will achieve this commitment.

Our decades of experience supporting governments and peoples around the world has shown us that with close partnerships, innovation and a shared commitment to equity, we can and will eradicate poverty and reduce inequality and exclusion. As the world confronts new challenges, UNDP will continue to work closely with Pakistan, its government and people to weather difficult times and maintain momentum towards sustainable development. 

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