ISLAMABAD: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Thursday hosted a commemoration ceremony to welcome the contribution of EUR 1.04 million from the Government of Germany.
This contribution will allow WFP to provide food assistance to the families displaced from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
In the past several years, Pakistan has made remarkable gains in becoming a staple food surplus country with sufficient national production to meet the needs of its population. However, the food and nutrition situation in Pakistan remains a key concern and has become a matter of considerable focus with the Government prioritizing food security in its National Agenda for Change alongside the provision of social and productive safety nets for the most vulnerable populations.
The contribution by the German Government will be utilized to twin with 7,000 tons of wheat provided by the Government of Pakistan. This will enable WFP to provide fortified wheat flour to half a million people (85,789 families) for a month.
“We are very concerned about the plight of the IDPs in Pakistan and hope that they are able to return to their homes soon.” Dr. Cyrill Nunn, the German Ambassador toPakistan said. “We understand that a need for a coordinated approach exists which means a strong coordination from the Govt. of Pakistan, strong division of labour from the donors, good coordination within the UN system and to use as intelligently as possible the available funding. We know that the situation in FATA will remain difficult but our focus on both short term and long term development will continue.”
He further said that Germany believes that SAFFRON has a key role in addressing the current challenges being faced in FATA; the prime responsibility for facilitating the return of the IDPs on a political level as well as ensuring that the funds from the Government of Pakistan for the uplifting of wheat and developing a strategic vision of the future of FATA and to look beyond the sheer rehabilitation of the IDPs. Therefore, SAFFRON and WFP are and will remain a key partners for Germany.
WFP’s operations are primarily concentrated in the country’s North West region including the highly sensitive and volatile border areas (1.6 million IDPs and returnees from conflict affected FATA agencies are being supported by WFP). Addressing the basic food needs of these highly vulnerable groups is not only important for meeting the basic humanitarian principle of averting food insecurity and deterioration of nutritional situation but also has an impact on the peace and stability of the region. Rations cuts have historically led to riots and experience confirms that lack of social support to these vulnerable groups has led to IDPs resorting to negative coping strategies and the destabilization of some districts and agencies in the north of KP and FATA.
Lola Castro, WFP Pakistan Representative and Country Director shared her apprecation. “On behalf of WFP I would like to thank the Government of Pakistan and generous donors such as the German government who are our partners in our fight for a food securePakistan.
She said once the returns to Federally Administered Tribal Areas materialize, WFP, upon request from the FATA Secretariat, will expand its comprehensive support through not only relief for the six months after return but nutrition, school feeding and livelihoods interventions to assist in the reconstruction, development and asset creation in the region; leading to short term, medium term and eventually long term food security.
WFP assistance in the country aims to complement the government’s efforts in enhancing food security and nutrition amongst vulnerable populations and provide technical support in developing relevant national strategies.
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFFRON), Mr. Pir Bakhsh Jamali said “now that many of the areas have been cleared and deemed safe, many families have volunteered to return to their homes and with the assistance provided by WFP and other UN agencies, the government of Pakistan intends to aid these returns with dignity and respect after 20th of February.”
He also stated, “in accordance with the vision of the Prime Minister, the Government of Pakistan has committed to make an in kind contribution of 155,000 tons of wheat to WFP to be used for its relief assistance. 30,000 tons from that will be released within this coming week and the rest in the following months as per the need of the World Food Programme. I would like to thank the German Government for its support, WFP for kindly hosting this event and all the efforts they have made in Pakistan.”
The Government of Germany has provided WFP with much-needed support amounting to almost EUR 3.8 million over the past two years. These donations have been been critical in sustaining relief food assistance for people affected by food insecurity in Pakistan. NNI