“Denmark celebrates key milestones of its Pakistan development program”

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

Islamabad(Ume Laila)Around 5.7 million people have benefited from the Government of Denmark’s support to the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) which has supported in revitalizing the economy and improving education and health services in KP, FATA and Balochistan. Denmark’s partnership with MDTF was one of the many partnerships and achievements presented at an event organized by the Embassy of Denmark, marking the end of its development program 2010 – 2017 in Pakistan.

Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Dr. Ahsan Iqbal represented the Government of Pakistan at the event as the Chief Guest for the inauguration, joined by the Ambassador of Denmark, H.E. Ole Thonke. While addressing the ceremony, Dr. Ahsan Iqbal said that “Pakistan is overcoming its challenges and is on the path of progress. Pakistan 2025 Vision is our roadmap to ensure that we achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are particularly important for Pakistan. We sincerely appreciate the support provided by Denmark to Pakistan at all levels. We value our partners and look forward to further enhancing our cooperation in all sectors.”

The event included dedicated sessions on Media and Democracy, Human Rights, Gender Equality and Enhancing Economic Growth through livelihood opportunities and creative industries. During the session, both key experts and development partners discussed achievements and the continuous challenges in the country within these issues, highlighting the benifits of strong partnerships between the Government of Pakistan, civil society and the international donor community.

Since 2010, Denmark has supported a series of interventions both through multilateral and local partnerships with civil society in Pakistan, promoting key priorities for meeting the SDGs. The results were also showcased at the different partner stalls and through documentaries. Denmark’s support to UNICEF Pakistan’s Country program provided more than 7.3 million young women and girls health education while 2.3 million people (1.2 million women) gained access to improved sanitation and almost 1 million gained access to safe drinking water. The program also enrolled 400,000 children in school for the first time during the Every Child in School initiative. Other support provided by Denmark includes promoting gender equality and sexual and reproductive rights (Oxfam), support to the Youth Parliament Pakistan (PILDAT), promoting humanitarian values (Human Rights Commission Pakistan) and support to media on content skill development and safety (International Media Support)

Ambassador H.E Ole Thonke said that Denmark wants to see a strong, open and progressive Pakistan as the country is a key player in the process of building regional peace and development. The Ambassador appreciated the Government of Pakistan for taking many laudable steps to strengthen people’s rights such as increasing focus on education and health services and passing legislations on children and women rights. He said that human rights was the backbone of Denmark’s development strategy, as social justice was a key pillar in building democratic societies. Ambassador Thonke also underlined the benifits of instilling the youth with democratic values such as equality, freedom and justice.

“Our future focus will be on creating government and business partnerships, which will result in knowledge sharing, job creations and innovative solutions. By doing so, we hope to support Pakistan with key challenges in energy, water and health.We will continue to be a partner for a sustainable, peaceful and progressive Pakistan”.

Some of the experts in the panel sessions included Mr. Adnan Rehmat, Country Director IMS, Ms. Chris Munduate, Deputy Country Representative Unicef Pakistan, Ms. TahiraAbdullah , National Council Member Human Rights Commission, Mr. Jamal Shah, Director Hunerkada and Mr. Anthony Cholst, Operations Advisor (Acting Country Director), World Bank, Mr. Ahmad Bilal, Executive Director PILDAT and Ms. Tasneem Ahmar Executive Director UKS Research.

The Government of Denmark launched its first development program for Pakistan in 2010 with a total budget of USD 28 million, which aimed to support Pakistan within the areas of human rights, democracy, and peace and gender equality. After three years of successful partnerships and development interventions, the Danish Government expanded its collaboration and engagement in Pakistan and launched a new program up to 2017 with a budget of USD 50 million. Islamabad, March 20, 2017