Media Update: United Nations Pakistan, 24 November 2020

This Media Update includes: 

  • ITC-PRESS RELEASE : Balochistan Regulatory Reform Committee holds first meeting
  • UNHCR - PRESS RELEASE : EU provides €10 million support for refugees and Pakistanis impacted by COVID-19
  • UNICEF - MEDIA ADVISORY : World Prematurity Day 2020 - Together for Babies Born Too Soon



Balochistan Regulatory Reform Committee holds first meeting

Quetta, November 23, 2020: The first meeting of the Balochistan Regulatory Reform Committee (BRRC) was held today in Quetta. Formed with the support and technical assistance of the International Trade Centre (ITC) under the European Union funded Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) project, the Planning and Development Department notified the constitution of Balochistan Regulatory Reform Committee (BRRC) on 8th September 2020. 

Mr. Ghulam Farooq, Secretary Planning and Development Department, chaired the meeting attended by BRRC members, which included representatives from key provincial government departments, private sector organizations and academia. Secretary Livestock Mr. Tayyab Lahry expressed his interest in the project, and gave his valuable inputs on ways the committee could be mutually beneficial to the GRASP, government institutions, and SME’s in the province. Mr. Dawood Bazai, DG Small Industries, Mr. Imran, Additional Secretary Agriculture, representatives from Women Development Department, ITC GRASP staff and other key stakeholders from the agriculture and development sector also joined the event.

GRASP Deputy Coordinator Mr. Owais Khattak gave a detailed overview of the functions and purpose of BRRC. He explained that the objective of the BRRC is to advance policy dialogue among public sector, private sector and academia to take a holistic view of the regulatory environment and build consensus among the stakeholders for new laws and policies. Inter-Departmental coordination realized through BRRC will ensure that different laws and policies developed by different Departments of the government are mutually supportive.

Mr. Ghulam Farooq, Secretary Planning and Development Department while concluding the session acknowledged the efforts of all stakeholders and stated that establishment of this forum is a significant step for policy coherence. All key stakeholders are required to work in close liaison in regulatory reforms to address common challenges in the area of policy design and its implementation. A conducive regulatory regime and effective implementation of business-friendly policies are important prerequisites for the growth and sustainability of MSMEs and the competitiveness of the value chains, added Mr. Jahanzeb Khan, GRASP lead for Balochistan. 

GRASP is a six-year project designed to reduce poverty in Pakistan by strengthening small-scale agribusinesses in Balochistan and Sindh, and is implemented with active participation from local partners. It will help small and medium-sized enterprises in horticulture and livestock become more competitive by making improvements at all levels of the value chain.





EU provides €10 million support for refugees and Pakistanis impacted by COVID-19

Assistance will help UNHCR mitigate short-term and medium-term impact of COVID-19 pandemic on refugees and Pakistani host communities

ISLAMABAD, 24 November 2020: The European Union (EU) is providing €10 million to significantly boost UNHCR’s assistance for Afghan refugees and their host communities in Pakistan. The funding will focus on mitigating the short and medium-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With this funding, UNHCR will expand its health response as well as improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in refugee and host communities. Another important component of the new project will be implementing activities that help protect and empower vulnerable Afghan refugees and host communities, including through livelihood opportunities.

The three-year project will be implemented across the country and is expected to benefit some 370,000 Afghan refugees and Pakistani host communities. 

The Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Pakistan, H.E. Ms. Androulla Kaminara, and UNHCR’s Representative in Pakistan, Ms. Noriko Yoshida, signed the agreement at a ceremony on Monday. 

The agreement coincides with the quadrennial Afghanistan Conference held in Geneva, which is intended to present an important opportunity for the Afghan Government and the international community to commit to common objectives for promoting sustainable development, prosperity and peace in Afghanistan.

At the signing ceremony, Ms. Kaminara said: “As the world faces a second surge of COVID-19, it is clearer than ever that we must assist the most vulnerable and the most in need. We are glad to partner with UNHCR in assisting the Afghan refugee community, which is generously hosted in Pakistan, as well as the Pakistani host communities.”

Placing the support for refugees in a larger political context, the Ambassador underlined: “The European Union has reaffirmed its strong support to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process which ultimately would ensure safety, fundamental rights and prosperity for all Afghans and allow refugees to return to their homeland in safety and dignity.”

The UNHCR Representative in Pakistan, Ms. Yoshida, welcomed the EU’s contribution and said such support amid the current COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the EU’s commitment to “leaving no one behind”. “This support is truly significant. At a time when it is most urgently needed, the EU will help make a difference in the lives of so many refugees and Pakistani host communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

She said that UNHCR’s overall emergency response is in support of efforts by the Government of Pakistan to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. She added that UNHCR has been advocating for the inclusion of refugees in the Government’s COVID-19 Prevention and Response Plan.

Since July 2018, the EU has contributed €37 million from its development budget and €10 million from its humanitarian resources to support Afghan refugees and their host communities, in particular through UNHCR’s regional programmes.

In May 2020, the EU announced a €150 million package to support Pakistan’s efforts in addressing the short-term and long-term public health and socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including this new funding of €10 million for UNHCR. This funding will be channelled towards three sectors: health, WASH and social protection.

In the health sector, it will boost health initiatives by helping to provide personal protective equipment, medical supplies and other relief items to health facilities in support of refugees and host communities. Community outreach on the prevention and response to COVID-19 will also be strengthened.

In the WASH sector, the EU’s contribution will help enable UNHCR to upgrade or construct facilities such as toilets, handwash basins and water pumps in schools, health centres and communal facilities in or close to refugee villages – benefitting both refugees and Pakistanis.

In terms of social protection, the assistance will contribute to UNHCR’s emergency cash programme for the most vulnerable registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan. The one-time cash assistance mitigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by helping refugees meet their basic needs.

In addition, the project – covering a three-year period – aims to support the COVID-19 recovery through medium-term interventions, such as income-generating activities and technical and vocational skills training. This will ultimately help provide new skill sets to both refugees and their host communities.


Media contact


Qaiser Khan Afridi, UNHCR Spokesperson - +92 300 5018696 -

Saad Yusuf Mustafa, EU Press Information Officer - +92 0300 1101801,




United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is hosting a webinar to commemorate the World Prematurity Day 2020 - Together for Babies Born Too Soon

Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, will be the Guest of Honour.

Other eminent speakers include:

Dr. Nausheen Hamid, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of National Health Services R&C Ms. Aida Girma, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan Prof. Dr. Khawaja A. Irfan Waheed, Head of Neonatology Children’s Hospital Lahore Prof. Dr. Syeda Batool Mazhar, Head of Gynaecology and Paediatrics, PIMS Islamabad Prof. Dr. Rubina Sohail, Head of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, SIMS Lahore

Media representatives are cordially invited to join the webinar on-line.

Date:         November 25, 2020

Time:                  12 pm - Islamabad

Link: Passcode: Passcode: 251120                       


For further information, please contact: A. Sami Malik, UNICEF Email: Phone: 03008556654

UN entities involved in this initiative
International Trade Centre
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund