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EU provides €58mln for water security, education in Balochistan

ISLAMABAD: The European Union has agreed to provide €58 million to support provincial Balochistan government in its efforts to manage water scarcity and improve access and quality of primary...

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ISLAMABAD: The European Union has agreed to provide €58 million to support provincial Balochistan government in its efforts to manage water scarcity and improve access and quality of primary and middle-level education.

Androulla Kaminara, the EU ambassador, Noor Ahmed secretary, ministry of Economic Affairs signed financing agreements on Friday.

The five-year €40 million 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 will include incentives for farmers to use water more efficiently and unleash the potential of livestock by supporting sustainable rangelands management, with a special focus on the most vulnerable groups,” a government statement said.

“This will not only contribute to improved productivity by making better use of scarce water resources, but also help improve groundwater recharge in the medium to long-term.”

The programme will also focus onstrengthening 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 of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with local partners.

The EY will also provide €18 million in support of the Balochistan government’s efforts to strengthen the education systems in 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.

The four-year programme will be implemented by the United Nations Children's Fund.

It will involve local communities in school development planning, help enhance the training of teachers, and support stronger education institutions.

In the COVID-19 context, the programme will also focus on SOPs for safe school reopening and operation, as well as on enrolment and retention drives in targeted districts to avoid massive dropouts due to the pandemic.

The programme will also introduce innovative elements, such as work on inclusion of parallel education systems in mainstream education policy.

Ambassador Kaminara said these new programmes will tackle the substantial development challenges in the province and unleash its potential.

Balochistan is one of the regions of Pakistan at greater risk from climate change, which threatens livelihoods. Also considering the socioeconomic impact of Covid-19, it is crucial to invest in low water agriculture to reduce poverty and malnutrition.

Ambassador reiterated commitment of EU to broaden and deepen the development cooperation with Pakistan, and to launch next Multi-annual Indicative Programme 2021-27 which will primarily be focused on priorities of Pakistan


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