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Development assistance in Pakistan

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Pillar 2 - Stability in Pakistan


Pakistan’s stability is crucial to human development, economic growth and regional security. Pakistan's Pakistan 2025: One Nation – One Vision policy links peace, security, and stability approaches with development interventions.

The focus of Australia’s support for stability is on humanitarian relief, addressing gender inequality and improving governance—including water systems governance—to contribute to long-term stability in the region. Australia has typically prioritised its support to Pakistan’s insecure border areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan. These areas are also among the most disadvantaged in Pakistan.

While Australia’s bilateral aid funding to Pakistan ceased in 2019-20, some activities continue with existing funding along with regional and global programs, and other Australian Government agencies’ investments. Only programs current as at April 2021 are listed below.

Regional Humanitarian Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Australia’s Regional Humanitarian Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan is supporting vulnerable refugee and host communities. Investments with the World Food Programme (WFP) Pakistan and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Pakistan have sought to limit the spread of COVID-19 while providing essential services.

In August 2020, the Humanitarian Advisory Group undertook an independent mid-term review of Australia’s Regional Humanitarian Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. The review found that the strategy was an appropriate, relevant, effective and efficient response. Through the strategy, Australia has delivered critical humanitarian assistance to people in need. The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan has tripled since the strategy was implemented. Need in Pakistan remains extensive and is exacerbated by a reduction in the numbers of humanitarian actors in country.

Further information is available here about the Regional Humanitarian Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan 2018-2020.

Further information is available here about the Mid-Term Review of the Regional Humanitarian Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan 2018-2020.

World Food Programme (WFP) Pakistan

In partnership with WFP Pakistan, Australia is providing financial support and food assistance in areas bordering Afghanistan, to prevent starvation and stunting. WFP works in collaboration with donors, other UN agencies, non-government organisations and the Government of Pakistan to respond to drought, displacement, and widespread malnutrition. WFP provides emergency food relief, livelihood support, school feeding, community administered malnutrition programs, and supports disaster preparedness.

Additional information can be found on the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Pakistan website.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Pakistan

In partnership with UNFPA Pakistan, Australia has provided $6 million over three years to improve access to reproductive health and protection services for women and girls from refugee, returnee and host communities in KP and Balochistan Provinces. The protracted humanitarian crisis in these border regions of Pakistan is a complex and dynamic in character. Populations tend to be mobile, and health service provision has been in transition to government management after the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) merged with KP.

Additional information about UNFPA Pakistan’s work can be found on the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Pakistan website.

Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and Balochistan

This World Bank-administered MDTF was formed in August 2010 at the request of the Government of Pakistan and development partner countries to respond to crisis in border areas with Afghanistan. The Australian Government has provided $56.3 million from 2010-2022 to support recovery through reconstruction and development: restoring infrastructure, improving local and provincial services and institutions, and livelihoods, while working to address governance and other challenges that contributed to the crisis.

Further information on the World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and Balochistan is available online, including reporting dating back to 2010.

Water and food security

Water security is a challenge shared by Australia and Pakistan. Similarities between the Murray Darling Basin and Indus have long provided a foundation for technical cooperation, including more recently through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Over the next four years, the Australian Government will invest up to $10 million to share our expertise in building water-sensitive cities with Pakistan. Australian and Pakistani experts from the public and private sectors will work together using the latest tools, techniques and technologies of urban water management.

Australia will also provide expertise through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to improve help Pakistan’s farming households lift production with less use of water and pesticides. Already some 15 Australian Universities are collaborating with 30 Pakistani academic or government partners on agriculture.

Further information can be found here, about ACIAR’s work in Pakistan.

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