Category: United Nations

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Australia backs IOM Assistance to Undocumented Afghans in Pakistan

Islamabad, June 23, 2017 (PPI-OT):The Australian Government and IOM Pakistan have launched a two-year, AUD 4 million (USD 3 million) project to help undocumented Afghans in Pakistan and their host communities, as well as those returning to Afghanistan. In 2016, an unprecedented number of Afghans returned to Afghanistan, mainly from Pakistan and Iran. They included over 250,000 undocumented returnees and over 380,000 registered refugees.

This year, as of June 20th, over 100,000 Afghans have returned home, including almost 70,000 undocumented returnees from Pakistan. This is a 250 percent increase over the number of returnees during the first six months of 2016. Australia’s contribution will enable IOM and its partners to help the Government of Pakistan to develop sustainable solutions for the estimated 500,000-600,000 Afghan nationals still living in Pakistan.

“Australia is committed to partnerships, which promote stability in the region and to help the most vulnerable, particularly women and children,” said Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Margaret Adamson. The new Australian funding will also help IOM and its partners to monitor migration flows and conduct host community surveys to help the Pakistani and Afghan governments, humanitarian stakeholders and returning communities to make better-informed decisions relating to safe and humane migration.

IOM Pakistan will also use the funding to provide primary health care services and vocational business training for undocumented Afghans and host communities in Pakistan. This will help the Afghans to start new livelihoods and reintegrate when they return to Afghanistan, as well as provide new economic opportunities for host communities. The funding will also help IOM to support the Government of Pakistan to implement its ‘Repatriation and Management Policy for Afghan Refugees,’ which includes the registration of undocumented Afghans living in Pakistan.

“IOM is fully committed to support tailored solutions for undocumented Afghans in Pakistan,” said IOM Pakistan Chief of Mission Davide Terzi. “Pakistan has been host to millions of Afghans for over 30 years, and it is imperative to devise comprehensive programmes that facilitate returns, create viable options for those that decide to stay and support the Pakistani host communities.” As part of the IOM Regional Response Strategy, IOM Pakistan is seeking USD 21 million to support the most vulnerable undocumented Afghans during 2017-18.

For more information, contact:
National Information Officer
United Nations Information Centre (UNIC)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-8355720
Cell: +92-300-8553790
Email: ishrat.rizvi@unic.org

UNIDO’s initiative for Intensive Management Training for cluster development under Punjab Industrial Cluster Development Initiative

Islamabad, June 12, 2017 (PPI-OT):A four-day training course on “Cluster Development Methodology” organized by UNIDO has started in Lahore with international expert Mr. Vedat Kunt conducting the training of CDI project staff. UNIDO has been implementing cluster development methodology in a number of countries around the globe and has been able to create substantial positive impact in terms of value addition, export integration, poverty alleviation and inclusive growth.

In the framework of the Punjab Industrial Cluster Development Initiative –CDI, the government of Punjab has signed a cooperation agreement with UNIDO to provide technical assistance for the development of industrial clusters in Punjab province and to support their integration into global value chains. Basically , CDI aims at creating enabling environment for growth and prosperity of industries, to create better quality of life through economic uplift in Punjab, and to up-grade technology and enhance productivity quality and profitability of local industries. The lead on the implementation of the CDI for the Government of Punjab is with the Punjab Small Industries Cooperation (PSIC) as the focal government institution.

The Cluster development project is part of a joint initiative of World Bank Group and Government of Punjab under Punjab jobs and competitiveness program. UNIDO has been engaged as partner implementing agency for the CDI project based on earlier interventions in the area of trade-related capacity-building and development of industrial clusters both in Pakistan and globally.

Cluster management team hired under CDI will initially work with four target clusters (Surgical, ready-made garments, leather shoes and accessories and auto parts) within Punjab Province under the guidance of UNIDO’s experts. The project will benefit local SMEs within selected clusters by helping them to organize themselves into networks and take advantage of common opportunities.

For more information, contact:
National Information Officer
United Nations Information Centre (UNIC)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-8355720
Cell: +92-300-8553790
Email: ishrat.rizvi@unic.org

Introducing Women’s Safety Audit in Pakistan to make Public Transport Safe for Women

Islamabad, June 09, 2017 (PPI-OT):In making public transportation facilities accessible, ‘safe’ and ‘harassment-free’ for women and girls, a pilot has been launched in Lahore, Punjab, to conduct women’s safety audit in public transport to assess women’s perceptions of safety as well as actual safety, and increase their participation in local decision-making. Internationally recognized as a ‘best practice’, a women’s safety audit tool is being introduced in Pakistan for the first time.

Local studies on women’s mobility reveal that women’s movement and their use of public transport is compromised due to the discomfort, social stigma and fear of harassment when they are compelled to sit in close contact with unrelated men. Women also face distinct challenges from men when accessing public transport, including threats to their safety when walking to and waiting at bus-stops and while travelling on public transport. The Government of Punjab has attempted to address these concerns through their transport policy by introducing separate sections in buses and running women-only buses. However, the challenges still remain in ensuring women’s safety and comfort on public transport.

As a part of its ‘Safe Cities’ project, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in collaboration with Punjab’s Women Development Department (WDD) and Aurat Foundation (AF) will pilot a Women’s Safety Audit in Lahore City with support from the Government of Australia. This initiative will be carried out together with the Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA), the Chief Minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit (SRU) and the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW).

In addition to determining on-ground safety issues faced by female commuters, through interviews, focus group discussions and safety walks, the Safety Audit will: (i) provide statistics on the types and level of threats faced by women; (ii) identify gaps and barriers of transport services to prevent and respond to harassment; and (iii) put forward actionable recommendations for the local government, transport authorities, corporates and other stakeholders to end violence against women travellers. The Safety Audit will be conducted in select bus stops operated by the Lahore Transport Company (LTC) and the Metro Bus System (MBS).

Jamshed Kazi (Country Representative, UN Women Pakistan) speaking of the ‘Safe Cities’ project said: “Gender equality, women’s empowerment and the prevention of violence against women in private and public spaces is a precondition for and objective of sustainable urban development. It means making cities sustainable for women and girls but it’s also about making it sustainable for all.

UN Women has recognized that violence against women and girls impacts not only women, but entire families, communities and cities. We have taken an important first step to bring this neglected issue to the forefront by hearing first-hand from women and girls of sexual harassment and violence against them in public spaces, highlighting the impact and the universality of the issue. With our partners, we look forward to creating safer, smarter and more sustainable cities and communities where women and girls can move around easily, travel to school, markets, work or for leisure with equal rights, dignity and equal opportunities.”

Speaking of the pilot, Bushra Aman (Secretary WDD) said: “In aspiring for a safe city for everyone, a focused initiative is being undertaken to assess safety of public spaces for women. The planned Safety Audit will serve to supplement the government’s priorities for women empowerment in Punjab. Safety concerns of the public transport in Lahore are being addressed to curb harassment of women in waiting areas and metro bus stations. Significant inputs leading to policy and implementation changes in urban planning are foreseen after the conclusion of the Audit being jointly undertaken by WDD and UN Women.”

Mumtaz Mughal (Resident Director, AF) shared: “The Women’s Safety Audit in public transport in Lahore is a unique initiative amongst many of the AF’s past endeavours to address women’s mobility and safety issues in public spaces. This pilot research project, will identify problems faced by female commuters on public transport. The policy recommendations of this study will inform the provincial plans and policies and contribute towards making urban planning more gender-responsive.

Akbar Nasir Khan (Chief Operating Officer, PSCA) spoke of how the Authority was tackling women’s harassment through technology: “A Women Safety Smartphone Application was launched early this year and has a panic button which connects the user to the Police and emergency services through the phone number 15.” “I am confident that this partnership will ensure women’s safety in public places and enhance their opportunities to participate in public life fearlessly. Conducting a Women’s Safety Audit, is also an integral part of the PSCA application, and the Authority commits its support in this endeavour,” he added.

Salman Sufi (Director General, SRU) shared: “The Women’s Safety Audit is another step to ensure effective mechanisms for action over harassment incidents in public places are developed. The Punjab government has prioritized women’s protection and security, and the data collected through this Safety Audit, which includes data from the women’s safety smart phone application, will be useful in initiating innovative approaches to eliminate harassment and violence against women.”

Fauzia Viqar (Chairperson, PSCW) spoke of efforts to ensure women’s safe mobility in public spaces: “The equality of women’s citizenship constitutes, in significant part, of their equal right to participation in public spaces and public life. This cannot be ensured if women face constant fear and impending harassment jeopardizing their participation in the economy. To address the lack of street safety for women, the newly launched smart phone application includes a special button for women’s safety that provides access to the PCSWs helpline (1043) and an option to mark unsafe spaces. The application makes it easier for women to report instances of harassment at all times.” “The new initiative of UN Women to conduct a Women’s Safety Audit in collaboration with WDD will contribute significantly to assessing women’s experiences and sources of harassment in Lahore.”

For more information, contact:
National Information Officer
United Nations Information Centre (UNIC)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-8355720
Cell: +92-300-8553790
Email: ishrat.rizvi@unic.org

World Health Organization joins hands with World Organization of Family Doctors to commemorate World Family Doctor Day

Islamabad, May 18, 2017 (PPI-OT):World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that it is joining hands with the World Organization of Family Doctors, (WONCA), to celebrate the World Family Doctor Day to be celebrated on May 19, 2017. The WHO Regional Office, that also covers Pakistan, has positioned family practice as a strategic priority for strengthening health systems during the period from 2017 to 2021.

WHO is pursuing four streams of work to promote and strengthen family practice based health services in the Region: raising awareness among policy makers; strengthening knowledge of family medicine among general practitioners; building the capacity of ministries of health to implement family practice; and providing technical support for the establishment of family practice programmes.

In his statement, Dr. Mohammad Assai, representative of WHO for Pakistan said “WHO is committed to provide continuing technical support to its Member States, including Pakistan, in adopting a strategic approach, standards, and elements for implementation of family practices”

Based on the available information in 2016, the total number of certified family physicians in the Region is 3225. Calculating against the international standard requirement of at least three family physicians per 10 000 population, the regional figure is very low. Countries of the Region are in need of 185 497 family physicians in order to cover 100% of the population – a huge gap to overcome. At the same time, some medical schools do not even have family medicine departments.

“To overcome the shortage of family physicians in the Region, WHO in collaboration with academic institutes in the Region is conducting online training for building capacities of general practitioners in family medicine,” Dr. Assai further added.

World Family Doctor Day, held every year on May 19, is a day to highlight the role and contributions of family doctors in health care systems around the world. The comprehensiveness of family medicine makes it the ideal specialty for a career that includes global health.

For more information, contact:
National Information Officer
United Nations Information Centre (UNIC)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-8355720
Cell: +92-300-8553790
Email: ishrat.rizvi@unic.org

Government of Pakistan committed to development of wool sector in Balochistan

Islamabad, April 06, 2017 (PPI-OT):The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) organized a one day workshop on ‘National Wool Development Programme” at the FAO Representation premises…

Government of Japan announces USD 7 million to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and World Food Programme

Islamabad, March 09, 2017 (PPI-OT):The government of Japan has announced a contribution of USD 7 million to UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and World Food Programme (WFP) to support the Afghan Refugees and host …

Parliamentary SDGs Secretariat and UNICEF Pakistan sign Letter of Agreement to work together on Sustainable Development Goals related to children and women in Pakistan

Islamabad, March 09, 2017 (PPI-OT):The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Parliamentary Secretariat and UNICEF Pakistan share and work on common objectives to promote the welfare of children and women in Pakistan. To strengthen this mutual partnershi…