Devolving Rights in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Aug 22, 2020

Project completion report

The 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was adopted in April 2010, devolving a wide range of subjects related to rights-based development to Pakistan’s provincial governments. However, ten years later, many institutions still lack the technical and organizational capacity to effectively protect, promote and enforce human rights in line with the Government of Pakistan’s domestic and international commitments. The lack of capacity of concerned provincial line departments and institutions is a critical constraint to guaranteeing a rights-enabling environment in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the province of focus in this report, and across Pakistan.

To address critical provincial capacity gaps, UNDP designed the “Devolving Rights in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa” (Devolving Rights in KP) project component (July 2016 – December 2019) of UNDP’s Decentralization, Human Rights and Local Governance Project (DHL). With funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), over its three years of implementation, the Devolving Rights in KP project has provided technical and capacity assistance to federal and provincial human rights ministries/departments, Pakistan’s human rights institution and civil society through an integrated four-pronged approach, comprising the pillars of policy support, capacity  development, strengthening human rights data collection/coordination and outreach and advocacy.

This Project Completion Report summarizes the project achievements during the three years of implementation, analyses the project’s impact and suggests a way forward for strengthening rights-based governance in Pakistan. The report introduces the project’s methodology and theory of change, analysing how key project achievements have contributed to the project’s intended outcome of ‘strengthened rights-based governance in KP and across Pakistan’.

Notable achievements, which form the basis for current best practices in rights based development in Pakistan, include the inclusive drafting of Pakistan’s first provincial human rights policy and provision of demand driven capacity building support towards its implementation, as well as the design and establishment of an integrated Human Rights Information Management System (or HRIMS), successfully piloted in KP under the official title of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Virtual Platform (KPVP). Additionally, advocacy and outreach activities served to build awareness amongst civil society and the general public on Pakistan’s human rights commitments and obligations. These and other achievements have strengthened the capacity of governmental and non-governmental human rights stakeholders to more effectively collect human rights data and coordinate and measure human rights implementation, leading to a more capacitated, accountable and engaged government vis-à-vis its international human rights obligations and human rights commitments to the people of Pakistan. Interventions undertaken in the later half of the project were rolled-out in coordination and collaboration with the European Union and its human rights programme, which began in 2018.

Across project interventions and levels of analysis, the Devolving Rights in KP project mainstreamed the SDGs, with a focus on gender equality, reduced inequalities, and peaceful and inclusive societies and institutions. This report provides an overview of challenges and lessons learnt during project implementation, and how these lessons have been used to strengthen and adapt the project’s implementation approach, as well as to provide guidelines for Pakistan and other countries to strengthen rights-based governance in future.

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