The Sustainable Development Goals in Pakistan
Pakistan affirmed its commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as its own national development agenda through a unanimous National Assembly Resolution in 2016. Since then, the country has made considerable progress by mainstreaming these goals in national policies and strategies and developing an institutional framework for SDGs implementation in Pakistan. SDG support units have been established at federal and provincial levels with the planning institutions (Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives and Provincial Planning and Development Departments) to guide SDGs implementation and monitoring it progress. In 2018, the Government designed and approved a National SDGs Framework that envisages a national vision to prioritize and localize SDGs. Localized provincial SDG Frameworks are being formulated. The focus of the government is on mainstreaming SDGs in planning processes, ensuring strong monitoring and reporting on SDGs, ensuring public financial allocations are aligned to SDGs and alternate financing modalities are being explored, and to benefit from use of technology to accelerate progress towards SDGs.
24 November 2020
Assisting Impoverished Marginalized Communities in Floods Ravaged Rural Sindh
It’s perturbing to see hundreds of women and children lining up to a water purification tanker with buckets and utensils to fetch clean drinking water for their families in Umerkot, Sindh. These families are waiting patiently for their circumstances to change as they battle all sorts of difficulties in accessing nutritious food, sanitation facilities, and even shelter. They have been left homeless by the unprecedented flooding in the province. With the Pakistan government already grappling with the COVID-19 crisis, the Sindh flooding brought to fore even more challenges to act swiftly to support vulnerable households and strengthen their resilience. Situation in Rural Sindh The heavy rains in the monsoon season (about 3 times hugher than average) contributed to heart wrenching agony for the already marginalized groups in rural Sindh affecting more than 2.4 million people. The unofficial count may be more than 3 million. Gruesome scenes unfolded as whole families who managed to survive the floods were forced to leave their drowning possessions and find shelter on the side of the narrow broken roads- in the open air. There was little or no access to clean drinking water, food items, hygiene products, or basic facilities like toilets. The flooding not only left the populations barehanded, it also destroyed the major source of livelihoods for the next six months, their livestock and the cotton crop, just as it was ready for harvest, plunging them deeper into poverty. While the media focus has mainly been on mainland Karachi and the flooding in relatively better off localities, the vulnerable minority communities in the rural south have borne the brunt of this calamity. South Eastern Sindh already has the lowest development indicators in Pakistan, at par with Balochistan and the newly merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The floods happened during the COVID 19 pandemic and just as the cotton crop was to be harvested, which takes place twice a year. Cotton growing is an arrangement between landowners who provide the land in return for a tiny share of the harvest; smallholder farming families borrow finances to purchase seeds and fertiliser. The women from these families are the main harvesters, therefore they have been particularly affected by this shock. Men who tend to work as daily labourers in construction have been seeing their livelihoods significantly impacted by the COVID pandemic and the imposed public health restrictions (lockdowns, halt in construction, etc). The men, women, elderly and children who managed to survive the floods have been sleeping under the open sky on the roads in makeshift shelters made of thin plastic tents forced to relocate every few days. Their homes, traditionally made of mud and thatched straw, have collapsed or have been severely damaged forcing them to stay on the streets, in the open, surrounded by flooded fields, without access to clean drinking water, with no toilet facilities and vulnerable to vector-borne diseases and other infections. Most people have lost a large part of their livestock and they are struggling to provide fodder for those animals that managed to survive.Chronic malnutrition and stunting is very visible. All the conditions are in place for high morbidity and an increase in mortality. Response to the crisis The United Nations in Pakistan has been supporting every effort of the Government in reaching the vulnerable populations that include ailing babies in urgent need of vaccination and life-savings medicines, at-risk populations to COVID-19 and other diseases like diarrhea, malaria and dengue. While the government has been responding since the onset of the floods, the scale of the needs dwarfs the available resources. PDMA and NDMA assistance has been in the form of shelter with provision of tents- the most affected people cite shelter as their priority, along with food, water and mosquito nets. As the UN Provincial Programme Team organised a Rapid Needs Assessment for 9 districts, WFP has distributed food rations for thousands of families; UNICEF and WHO have provided millions of water purifying tablets; WHO has provided bednets and medical supplies. The Humanitarian/Resident Coordinator has released the remaining USD 2.5 million of the Pakistan Humanitarian Pooled Fund. The additional USD 3 million from Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is being directed to strengthen the assistance efforts for food availability, empowering communities by distributing cash, water and sanitation facilities, as well as critical health interventions focusing on women and children.. Building back better While there has been a provision of aid and support, both from the government, the UN and partners, the challenges remain colossal and enormous efforts are still needed to help an already vulnerable population. More needs to be done to ensure better risk management and ensuring that communities are better prepared and more resilient to future shocks. The road is long for recovery and rehabilitation, yet immediate action is necessary to prevent loss of life. The humanitarian community is currently working on a concerted Humanitarian Response Plan for 2021 which will be augmenting the Government’s support to the vulnerable population while calling on other partners to ensure better mitigation of future shocks, provide more funding channeled to restore and repair infrastructure. The UN in Pakistan is strongly committed to supporting the NDMA, the PDMA and other government authorities at Federal and Provincial levels to quantify the situation, raise awareness and support the response. The UN country team will continue to support immediate lifesaving activities focusing on food insecurity and health for vulnerable communities with a focus on women, minorities and the disabled.
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18 June 2020
Pakistan: Further desert locust damage forecast in coming agricultural seasons
The Government of Pakistan’s preliminary estimate of monetary losses due to desert locusts over the two coming agricultural seasons in 2020 and 2021 may range from US$3.4 billion to $10.21 billion. Locust damage has significantly affected many farmers already, with further significant locust damage forecast at the end of summer. In late January, the Government of Pakistan declared the desert locust a national emergency and set up the National Action Plan for Desert Locust Control and Surveillance and a high-level National Locust Control Centre. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is providing technical advice and procurement support to the Government for locust surveillance and control activities, including locust threat forecasts and control operation strategies. FAO and the World Food Programme and partners, in coordination with the Government, will access needs in the worst-impacted districts, which have also experienced multiple shocks over the past 18 months, including drought, flash flooding, a cold wave and COVID-19. The Government of Pakistan needs $372 million over the coming three years in additional funding to survey, control and recover from the locust damage. FAO launched the Desert Locust Upsurge Global Response Plan 2020, which includes $12.5 million for Pakistan for crisis response, of which only $1.9 million has been funded. More than 3 million people in Pakistan are facing severe acute food insecurity, with the situation particularly precarious in Balochistan. It is estimated that approximately 34,000 households will need of emergency livelihood and food-security assistance due to crop losses. Many more people may be indirectly affected by crop losses leading to price rises in key commodities.
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16 June 2020
A Coordinated Response to Coronavirus
On Wednesday, 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) characterized the coronavirus (COVID-19) viral disease a pandemic, but it is a pandemic that can be controlled. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who heads the UN agency, said, in his statement, “Let me be clear: describing this as a pandemic does not mean that countries should give up.” The UN Secretary-General urged all countries to take a comprehensive approach tailored to their circumstances – with containment as the central pillar. COVID-19 is affecting thousands of people, impacting countries’ health systems and having widespread social and economic effects. The UN entities working on development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, are supporting countries in their preparedness and response plans. This page convenes sources of information and guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) regarding the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). WHO is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to track the spread and to provide guidance to countries and individuals on measures to protect health and prevent the spread of this outbreak. To stay up to date with the latest information, please visit: United Nations Covid-19 Response: https://www.un.org/coronavirus World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 Latest news on the United Nations’ response: https://news.un.org/en/events/un-news-coverage-coronavirus-outbreak WHO guidance for countries: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/685d0ace521648f8a5beeeee1b9125cd
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12 April 2021
04 March 2021
05 November 2020
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