There has been increase in funds allocation for Public Sector Development Programme especially for health and education in recent budget which reinforces Government resolve to achieve Millennium Development Goals: Minister

Islamabad, September 27, 2013 (PPI-OT): With less than 900 days left to the deadline of 2015, the world is making a final push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by the UN member states in September 2000. Despite various socio political changes, economic challenges, natural disasters and internal and external security issues, Pakistan has upheld its commitment to achieve the MDGs.

The Government of Pakistan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have worked closely to promote this agenda through a number of joint initiatives that reflect the adoption of the MDGs in public policy and their adaptation to the local context.

The Planning Commission of Pakistan has played a lead role in setting policy direction for MDGs, monitoring progress and coordinating efforts of different stakeholders. Centre for Research on Poverty Reduction and Income Distribution (CRPRID) established in the Planning Commission with UNDP’s support, served as a hub of knowledge and policy advice on MDGs through empirical, qualitative and policy-oriented research on key developent issues.

The centre was instrumental in poverty measurement, research and analysis of public policies on poverty, progress monitoring of MDGs through the development of four National MDG reports, and technical support to the Government of Pakistan in pro-poor policies and programmes.

“There has been an unprecedented increase in funds allocation for Public Sector Development Programme, especially for health and education, in the recent budget, which reinforces the Government resolve to achieve MDGs,” said Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms. Mr. Iqbal further said that “We need to invest in youth, technology and innovation to find quick-win solutions to some of the constraints hampering the achievement of MDGs”. In his message, Mr. Nicholas Rosellini, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific UNDP said, “Today when the Prime Minister of Pakistan is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly, UNDP reaffirms its support to the Government of Pakistan for accelerating progress towards MDGs”. “With the level of commitment that the Government has demonstrated through its different actions in the recent past, I am confident that Pakistan will make substantial progress on some of the lagging MDGs by 2015,” Mr. Rosellini said in his message.

The Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, strategic planning documents first formulated in 2000, which identified targeting the poor and vulnerable, as one of the key pillars and focused on MDG targets, have significantly influenced pro poor policy-making and spending in Pakistan.

Part of the success can be attributed to the PRSP Monitoring unit created in the Ministry of Finance, which, with UNDP’s support became the Government’s core function for PRSP monitoring at the federal and provincial levels, gender-responsive budgeting and impact assessment of public sector pro-poor programmes. A testament to the work of the PRSP secretariat has been the increase in pro-poor expenditure from 3.8% in 2001 to 9.86% in 2011.

The current evidence and estimates suggest that Pakistan’s progress towards achieving the MDGs is lagging. Of the 33 indicators for which data is available at the national level, Pakistan is on track on only 9 indicators.

Provincial MDG reports developed by provincial governments with UNDP’s support (2010-2012), have revealed inter and intra provincial differences in the pace of progress towards MDGs. Recognizing the collective efforts and resources needed to accelerate progress, the process of preparing the Pakistan MDG Report 2013 is underway in the Planning Commission with UNDP’s support.

The 2013 Report will document Pakistan’s experience in terms of successes and challenges in the journey towards MDGs, will narrate Pakistan’s priorities for the post-2015 development agenda and will motivate a final push for the MDGs in Pakistan. The Federal and Provincial Governments acknowledge the need for accelerated actions and have embarked upon a number of initiatives.

The recently announced Prime Minister Programme for Youth is a testimony to this commitment. With this and other initiatives, the Government is making a renewed effort to create jobs, especially for the youth.

For more information, contact:
Fatimah Inayet,
Communications Analyst
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan
4th Floor, Serena Office Complex,
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-8355650
Cell: +92300 535 8225
Fax: +92-51-2655014-15

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