ISLAMABAD, (Parliament Times) : Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman chaired the second meeting of the International Partners Support Group (IPSG) in the Prime Minister Office, Islamabad, today. The meeting was attended by the Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Secretary Ministry of Economic Affairs, Secretary Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Secretary Poverty Alleviation Division, and representatives from the Ministries of Finance and Planning Development & Special Initiatives.
The meeting was attended by a large number of bilateral and multilateral development partners, and senior diplomats, including Ambassadors & High Commissioners. Further, Country Directors/Representatives of the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), UNRC, UNDP, IMF, USAID, FCDO, Italian Cooperation Agency, KfW, GIZ also attended the second meeting of the IPSG.
In her opening remarks, the Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Rehman welcomed the distinguished participants and expressed gratitude for their continued support and commitment towards building Climate Resilient Pakistan. She highlighted the purpose of constituting IPSG as a forum to facilitate coordinated implementation of the 4RF. The Minister expressed hope that IPSG would be helpful in securing financial and other commitments for the implementation of climate resilient projects over the coming years. She appreciated the role of UNDP as the secretariat of IPSG.
“The recovery process is the most significant opportunity to build forward better for the people in Pakistan,” Mr. Knut Ostby, UNDP Pakistan’s Resident Representative, highlighted during the meeting. “The IPSG can and should play an important role in supporting the Government of Pakistan with the flood recovery process by ensuring coordination in implementing the 4RF, assessing gaps, and mobilizing resources.”
During the meeting, the Economic Affairs Division provided a comprehensive update on the implementation status of foreign assistance pledges made during the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan, held in Geneva on January 9, 2023. The follow-up on the total pledges of USD 10.9 billion and its apportionment in specific projects was included in the presentation. The presentation not only highlighted the considerable achievements since the previous IPSG meeting but also outlined the necessary actions for the future. Importantly, it was announced that there is now almost complete clarity regarding the nature of the pledges made. Furthermore, specific projects totaling US$575 million have been identified under ADB’s US$1 billion pipeline funds, with a focus on enhancing flood resilience. Additionally, a negotiated amount of US$400 million with the World Bank has been allocated to the National Post-Flood Emergency Rehabilitation Project, while a separate agreement of US$50.26 million with IsDB has been established for the Sindh Integrated Health & Women Empowerment Project.
The Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, World Bank and UNDP made a joint presentation on monitoring and evaluation system and flow of funds mechanism. The Platform, prepared with the support of the World Bank, UNDP and ADB, will ensure transparency and accountability of the financial resources being allocated for flood recovery and enhance capabilities to better coordinate recovery planning and implementation.
The Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division presented an overview of the Benazir Income Support Program’s (BISP) interventions during the meeting, focusing on the efforts to address nutrition issues following the floods. Additionally, updates were provided on the ongoing reconstruction and rehabilitation endeavors in the housing sector of flood ravaged Balochistan. Notably, a total of Rs. 70 billion has been disbursed to support 2.8 million families across 84 districts affected by the floods. Moreover, the Secretary of the Poverty Alleviation Division emphasized that BISP has entered into agreements worth US$82.6 million with ETDB, KfW, and PIDSA, aimed at catering to the needs of vulnerable communities in prioritized districts.
The presentations were followed by detailed discussions amongst Government representatives and International Development Partners, including the UN, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and bilateral development partners including the USA and Germany. The international development partners appreciated the setting up of the forum and frequent meetings in line with the Geneva declaration. UN Resident Coordinator stressed that there is still an urgent need for humanitarian assistance in flood affected areas of Sindh and Balochistan, as well as focus on the nutrition related initiatives.
Secretary EAD assured the development partners of complete support to IPSG. He appreciated the fact that the IPSG was invaluable as a high-level coordination forum between the government and international development partners. The IPSG also bid farewell to Mr. Knut Ostby Resident Representative UNDP, who will be retiring this month, for serving Pakistan extensively during his tenure.
It is pertinent to mention that the Ministry of Economic Affairs notified IPSG on 17th March 2023. It is a 41 members group comprising of Federal Ministries and International Development Partners. The first meeting of the IPSFG was held on 30th of March, 2023.
Minister for Economic Affairs is the convener of IPSG, whereas UNDP Pakistan provides secretariat support.