PESHAWAR, Jan 18: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and United Nations Development Programme have urged international aid agencies and KP’s bilateral donors to continue financial support for the rehabilitation of militancy-affected Malakand division, restoring infrastructure and affected communities’ livelihoods.

Senior provincial government officers, UNDP country director Toshihiro Tanaka and representatives of KP’s bilateral and multilateral donors, during a conference on the rehabilitation of Malakand division on Wednesday, were unanimous that a lot needed to be done to rehabilitate life and infrastructure in Malakand.

“We have had a good start (early recovery and the ongoing rehabilitation in Malakand), we need to continue it,” Mr Tanaka said in his remarks at the Provincial Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority’s meeting with its partners at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House in Islamabad.

Representatives of the USAID, European Union, Pakistani-Italian Debt Swap Agreement, Japan, Switzerland, and a couple of other international aid agencies and local organisations involved in Malakand’s rehabilitation attended the moot.

The conference was aimed at soliciting continued support of the aid agencies for the government’s post-crisis needs assessment, a 10-year framework underlined for the rehabilitation of the militancy-affected northern Malakand.

As per the damage needs assessment for the rehabilitation of Malakand, Rs68.6 billion is needed to restore livelihood and social protection, housing, education, health, transport, water and sanitation, energy sector, private sector agriculture and governance.

Shakeel Qadir, the outgoing DG of PaRRSA and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, in a presentation titled ‘Turning Adversary into Opportunity’ explained the authority’s processes for ensuring speedy execution of development activities in the affected areas, transparency in spending donors’ money, and its future development agenda.

He apprised the moot about achievements made under development projects being executed in Malakand, including the USAID-funded $66 million KP Reconstruction Program, UNDP-funded $2.2 million Peace & Development Project, GIZ-funded 5.4 million Euros Malakand Recovery Program, $23 million Prime Minister’s package, $60 million UAE’s Pakistan Assistance Program, $10 million Italian-funded Early Recovery of Agriculture and Livelihood and the 2.14 million Euros Italian Post Flood Emergency Program.

Mr Qadir said that UNDP’s financial assistance to PaRRSA for two years had phased out recently after which the USAID had agreed to fund the authority till 2014 for rehabilitation of education and health facilities in Malakand.

His request for continued international financial support was also seconded by UNDP representative Ms Rabia. “We are looking into the possibilities of continuing our support to PaRRSA to support the affected people,” she said.

The need for improved access of the foreign staff of international aid agencies to inspect their respective ongoing projects was also voiced. “Now that he (Mr Qadir) is secretary security, Fata, he would allow me to visit our project,” said Marco Marchetti, Italian director of the debt swap agreement. A Japanese government representative, pledging his country’s continued support for Malakand people, said: “We are happy to see differences made…it is not for us to feel happy, it is for the people to feel a good future.”

However, MPA from Dir, Zamin Khan, said that his area had not been paid much attention in the rehabilitation process, hoping that the authority would do the needful as Dir was the hardest hit by militancy.

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