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ISLAMABAD: In a unique example of South-South coll­aboration, China and the UNDP Pakistan signed a $4 million agreement on Friday to provide assistance over four months in crisis-affected areas of Fata and Balochistan.

At the signing ceremony, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said “the successful launching of the project renews our commitment to deliver strong support to the people of Pakistan. The project will support the people in restoration of their livelihood and help rebuild their lives”.

In future, China would continue to increase the grant assistance to Pakistan, enriching categories and sectors, expanding the input into areas with pressing demands, including Fata and Balochistan, he said.

China is providing $1 billion to improve people’s well-being and help the ‘Belt and Road’ countries meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Chinese ministry of commerce has signed a cooperation agreement with the UNDP under the ‘Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation’, and in November last year China approved funding for Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal to meet immediate recovery needs of crisis-affected populations.

The Pakistan-China recovery initiative for Fata and Balochistan will contribute to meeting, among other goals, SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 4 (quality education) and SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation).

Ignacio Artaza, the country director of UNDP Pakistan, said that Fata and Balochistan were among the country’s least developed regions and, in recent years, had been severely affected by disasters. He said that Chinese support would help temporarily displaced families get back on their feet as they returned home after years of uncertainty, and help ensure that schools in Balochistan meet necessary conditions to keep young students in school.

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2018