WB launches $80m fund for KP, Balochistan, Fata rebuilding -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

WB launches $80m fund for KP, Balochistan, Fata rebuilding

By Mehtab Haider

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB) on Thursday launched much-awaited Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) with the contribution of $80 million by donors in the first phase to support critical reconstruction and peace-building initiatives in crises hit Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Balochistan.

The MDTF was announced at the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) forum in Tokyo in April 2009, and it took almost one year and four months to make this initiative operational.

An official told The News that the respective provincial and Fata authorities would send development projects for specified sectors of economy and there would be no need to get approval from the WB Board of Directors. “The WB vice president for South Asia will be authorised to approve projects for the MDTF,” he said. About reaching development projects on ground, the official said it depended upon the performance of respective provincial or Fata authorities that how well they prepare development schemes and forward them to the secretariat of MDTF.

A secretariat of MDTF will be established at the World BankÂ’s office in Islamabad. However, according to a WB statement, the fund has been created at the request of the government of Pakistan and will be administered by the World Bank. Nine donors have so far expressed interest in pooling their resources into the fund.

Australia, the UK and the US have already signed administrative agreements to join the fund with a combined commitment of around $80 million. As other interested donors join, the size of the fund is expected to rise to $130 million in the initial phase. The other intending donors are Denmark, European Union, Finland, Germany, Italy and Turkey.

The recent events in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata have imposed an immense cost on the local economy as a large number of people have been forced to leave their homes and livelihoods, while considerable damage has been caused to physical and social infrastructure.

Projects funded from the MDTF will be informed by the Damage and Needs Assessment (DNA), the development plans of federal and provincial governments, and the soon to be completed Post Crisis Needs Assessment (PCNA).

They will be aimed at: (i) promoting enhanced and sustainable delivery of basic services (in terms of better access to education, improved healthcare delivery, access to energy, adequate road network and better availability of clean drinking water and sanitation); (ii) supporting livelihoods through productive activities, employment creation, especially for the youth and vulnerable groups, skills development and microfinance; and (iii) Enhancing responsiveness and effectiveness of the state to restore the public trust and foster reconciliation.

“More than the financial contribution of the fund, I see this as an instrument to ensure greater coherence among the development partners on a shared agenda of the government, and as a precedent for other such operations,” said Hina Rabbani Khar, state minister for finance and economic affairs.

“The World Bank is helping various countries in dealing with the consequences of crisis and we hope to employ our global knowledge in support of reconstruction and development initiatives for the betterment of crisis affected populations in Pakistan,” said Rachid Benmessaoud, WB country director for Pakistan.
Source: The News