17 May 2019, Islamabad— The Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a Letter of Agreement today to initiate progress on the Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF-II) project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The Letter of Agreement was signed by Mr. Nisar Ahmed, Chief Economist, Planning & Development Department (P&DD), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Mr. Ignacio Artaza, Resident Representative a.i., UNDP. The agreement builds on ongoing partnership between the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and UNDP and sets the stage for stronger cooperation to mitigate risks of glacial lakes outburst floods in northern parts of the country. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa component will be executed by the line departments of Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with fund monitoring and supervision provided by Planning & Development Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Over 3,044 lakes have been created as a result of melting glaciers in the Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions of Pakistan. Around 36 are considered hazardous, putting some 7.1 million people at risk from glacial lake outburst floods. Led by Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change, with support from UNDP and funding support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the project targets the most vulnerable rural communities in the high-altitude regions of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Mr. Ignacio Artaza said at the occasion that the extent of the project spread over five districts (Chitral, Dir Upper, Swat, Shangla and Mansehra) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa gives us great opportunity to expand our development agenda to work towards a more secure and risk averted Pakistan to climate change impacts.
The project will build scaled-up early warning systems and automated weather stations to mitigate the impact of GLOFs. It also focuses on implementing climate resilient agricultural practices and livelihood options by establishing locally sourced infrastructure for the local communities. More than half of the project beneficiaries will be women, propelling Pakistan’s efforts to reduce inequalities and ensure gender equality by 2030.
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