The European Union on Friday announced providing 58 million euros to support the government of Balochistan in its efforts to address issues of water scarcity and improve access and quality of primary and middle-level education across the province.
Following the announcement, Ministry of Economic Affairs Division Secretary Noor Ahmed and Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara signed two financing agreements.
Kaminara reiterated commitment of European Union to broaden and deepen the development and cooperation with Pakistan and launch next Multi-annual Indicative Programme 2021-27 focusing on priorities of the government of Pakistan.
“These new programmes are the result of a sustained collaboration between the European Union, the government of Balochistan and the Ministry of Economic Affairs to tackle the substantial development challenges in the province and unleash its potential,” said the EU envoy while talking to APP.
She noted Balochistan is one of the regions of Pakistan at greater risk from climate change which threatens livelihoods and it is crucial to invest in low water agriculture to reduce poverty and malnutrition, considering the socioeconomic impact of Covid.
The EU ambassador said the European Union was renewing its commitment in the education sector to help children, especially the most vulnerable, in receiving education and follow their dreams, contributing to a better future for Pakistan.
Kaminara disclosed that the five-year 40 Million euros programme on water governance — to be implemented from 2021 — will contribute to the transition in the arid regions of Balochistan towards sustainable, low water intensive agricultural and livestock farming systems.
The support of the programme would include incentives for farmers to use water more efficiently and unleash the potential of livestock by supporting sustainable range lands management with a special focus on the most vulnerable groups, she added.
The funding will contribute to improved productivity by making better use of scarce water resources and help in improving groundwater recharge in the medium to long-term. It will also focus on strengthening public extension services to ensure farmers receive appropriate support on water for agriculture and livestock.
The programme will be implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in collaboration with local partners.
In reply to a question, the envoy said the EU would also provide 18 million euros (Rs3.4 million) in support of the government of Balochistan’s efforts to strengthen the education systems across the province.
“The Balochistan Education Support Programme II, will work towards ensuring that all children have access to basic education and improving the quality of education,” she said, adding the four-year programme will be implemented by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF.
The programme would involve local communities in school development planning, help enhancing the training of teachers and support stronger education institutions.
In the coronavirus situation across the country, the programme would also focus on standard operating procedures for safe school reopening and operation as well as on enrolment and retention drives in targeted districts to avoid massive dropouts due to Covid.
EAD Secretary Noor Ahmed hailed the EU and Pakistan’s long-term partnership and appreciated the EU’s support in rural development, education, good governance and rule of law under the Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP 2014-20).