Country program estimate 2011–12: $79 million
Total estimated official development assistance (ODA) 2011–12: $92.8 million
Government Primary School, Bogharmang Union Council, Siran Valley, Mansehra district, Khyber–Pakhtunkhwa. The objective, through co-curricula activities, such as sports and other play activities, is to engage children and increase the retention rate at schools (drop-out rate in Pakistan is 50 per cent).
These activities contribute to the teaching of values such as discipline, team work and individual performance. Photo: Giacomo Pirozzi.
Australian assistance to Pakistan is growing, as part of a substantially increased Australian engagement with Pakistan. Since 2008, Australia’s aid to Pakistan has increased steadily.
In 2010 Australia’s program grew in response to the devastating floods which swept through Pakistan in July of that year. More than 1.7 million homes, 8,000 schools and 24,000 kilometres of road were damaged or destroyed, reversing many development gains the country had achieved. The relief and early recovery needs were estimated by the United Nations at US$2 billion, while the World Bank and Asian Development Bank estimated reconstruction and rehabilitation costs at up to US$8.9 billion. The impact of the floods has increased Pakistan’s need for humanitarian, reconstruction and development assistance dramatically. The Australian aid program was affected by the impact of the floods, and had to be quickly adjusted to respond to the new, immense and immediate needs that arose. Australia will continue to support Pakistan as it recovers from the floods, including for the ongoing early recovery and reconstruction phases.
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Overall, the objective of the Australian aid program is to work with the Government of Pakistan (GoP) towards a stable, secure, democratic country through broad-based social and economic development and poverty reduction in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Australia’s program to Pakistan will be guided by the Australia–Pakistan Development Partnership (APDP) expected to be formalised in 2011. The Partnership will set out the principles, mutual commitments and priorities for development cooperation as agreed to by the Australian and Pakistan Governments. It will form the basis of ongoing engagement on the GoP’s development priorities and the performance of Australia’s aid program to Pakistan.
Australian assistance to Pakistan focuses on health (particularly maternal and child health) and basic education, aligning with key Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 4 (child mortality), MDG 5 (maternal health) and MDG 2 (universal education).
The program also seeks to build human capital through Australian Development Scholarships and provides assistance to the rural development sector and to improving standards of democratic governance.
Australia responded quickly and generously following the July 2010 floods, providing $75 million in humanitarian and early recovery assistance. Australia also provided humanitarian relief and reconstruction support following the devastating earthquake in 2005, and provided substantial humanitarian assistance in response to the crisis in Pakistan’s North West due to conflict in 2008 and 2009.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has a population of over 180 million people. The official languages are Urdu and English. Regional languages—Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and Balochi—are widely used.
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The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is made up of four provinces—Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier) and Balochistan. In addition, the Federal Government administers seven areas (‘agencies’) on the border with Afghanistan. These are known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Pakistan also administers approximately one-third of the area of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir—Gilgit-Baltistan—also known as the ‘Northern Areas’ of Pakistan which has a quasi provincial status but does not currently have representation in parliament. Islamabad is a special ‘Federal Capital Territory’.
Pakistan lies in the Indus Valley and is bordered by India to the east, China to the north, Afghanistan to the north and northwest, Iran to the west and the Arabian Sea to the south. Both the boundaries with China and with northern Afghanistan are in very high mountainous terrain. The Karakoram Highway, constructed under Chinese supervision, provides the major link between Pakistan and China along the Indus Valley.
Pakistan’s economy was significantly affected by the global economic downturn in 2008, which has diminished its capacity to deliver services across the country. In November 2008 the GoP was forced to accept a US$7.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which was extended in August 2009 to US$11.3 billion. Under the conditions of the loan, the IMF has identified three priority areas that the GoP needs to address to boost economic growth: increase electricity tariffs (prices); reform of the tax base to increase Government tax revenues; and increase support for social safety nets.
Much of the economic recovery the country had begun to make in 2009–10 (including increased GDP growth and reduced inflation) was reversed following the July 2010 floods. The GDP growth forecast for 2010–11 fell from 4.1 per cent pre-floods to 2.6 per cent in December 2010. Inflation is high. The State Bank of Pakistan has forecast an inflation rate of 14.5 per cent for 2010–11, with food price inflation recorded at over 20 per cent in October 2010. Pakistan’s population is expected to grow by another 40 million by 2020, meaning GDP growth will need to average eight per cent per year to generate employment and provide adequate social services and education opportunities for the growing population.
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Pakistan’s development challenges are considerable and were exacerbated by the unprecedented floods in July 2010. In the 2010 United Nations Human Development Index, Pakistan ranks 125 out of 169 countries. It is estimated that one third of the population lives on less than US$1 a day and almost one-quarter of the population is malnourished (including up to 38 per cent of children).
Progress against the MDGs has been slow, particularly against MDG 2 on primary education, MDG 4 on child mortality, and MDG 5 on maternal health.
The maternal mortality rate is high, with 320 out of 100,000 mothers dying during childbirth and only 39 per cent of births attended by skilled medical personnel. Child health and nutrition are a particular concern, with two out of every five children malnourished and one in ten children dying before reaching the age of five. Poor access for disadvantaged groups and poor quality of care are issues undermining the delivery of effective health services. It is anticipated that these already low development indicators will worsen as a result of the floods.
National education indicators in Pakistan are amongst the lowest in South Asia. Gender disparities in education access and outcomes, limited access to schooling in remote and rural areas, lack of adequate infrastructure, and poor quality of teaching and teaching materials are systemic challenges facing the education sector. More than 42 million children between the ages of five and 19 do not attend school. Half of the adult population is illiterate (including two-thirds of women) and only 62 per cent of primary school-aged children are enrolled in school. The 2010 floods will impact on education indicators with the floods damaging over 8,000 schools across the country.
The 2010 floods have had a devastating effect on development progress across Pakistan. Approximately 20 million people were affected. More than one million homes, and 24,000 kilometres of road were damaged, while over two million hectares of planted crops were washed away and millions of livestock and poultry were lost.
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The floods seriously impacted upon Pakistan’s already fragile economy and further constrained development, including the country’s progress against the MDGs. According to the United Nations Development Programme’s preliminary estimates, the floods pushed a further four per cent of Pakistan’s population below the calorie-based poverty line, mostly in rural areas. As a result, the MDG of halving the proportion of people living under one dollar per day and the proportion of people suffering from hunger is now even less likely to be achieved.
Australian aid to Pakistan
Pakistan is an important bilateral partner for Australia. Australia’s aid program has increased since 2008. In 2010-11, Australia’s total Official Development Assistance (ODA) for Pakistan is estimated at $119.3 million.. Total ODA to Pakistan for 2011-12 is estimated at $92.8 million.
Australia’s assistance to Pakistan includes support for basic health care and education given the slow progress against the MDGs in these areas. Significant investments in health will strengthen national systems for improved service delivery, including through a major national program in maternal and newborn child health, which is being delivered in partnership with the Government of Pakistan and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Australia, through the Fred Hollows Foundation, is also providing continued support to reduce blindness through enhanced district eye care, and targeted assistance for the emerging problems of childhood blindness and diabetic retinopathy.
Australia is making significant investments in basic education in Pakistan, with a focus on improving access to, and quality of, education, particularly for girls. Current partners in delivering this assistance include the United Nations, DFID and the Aga Khan Foundation.
Building human capital is a major focus of the aid program. Australia has been providing scholarships since 1991. In addition to 42 Australian Development Scholarships provided in 2011 Australia will also be providing 100 long term and short term agricultural scholarships between 2011 and 2014.
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The agricultural scholarships complement Australia’s ongoing assistance in the agriculture and rural development sector. Australia provides assistance to Pakistan to improve agribusiness management and agricultural research under the second phase of the Agriculture Sector Linkages Program, which is managed by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
Australia also supports an integrated rural development program for conflict-affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa delivered by the Sarhad Rural Support Programme.
Support for improved standards of democratic governance is a growing focus of the program. Australia supported monitoring efforts during the 2008 elections and works with a local non-government organisation, Strengthening Participatory Organisation, to build the capacity of local community groups that promote democratic governance and social harmony. Australia is planning further investments to improve governance in Pakistan, particularly to support the decentralisation process under the recent 18th Constitutional amendment.
In 2010, Australia provided $75 million in humanitarian and early recovery assistance in the areas of health, education and rural livelihoods. See a full breakdown of the funding. Australia is currently considering options for how to assist the GoP with post flood reconstruction and rehabilitation. Humanitarian relief to help meet the immediate and medium term needs of internally displaced people affected by law enforcement operations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas is an ongoing priority. Over three million people have been displaced by fighting since mid-2008 and the reconstruction and rehabilitation of areas affected by conflict is an ongoing priority.
Aid program successes 2008–2011
• In 2010 Australia’s emergency relief and early recovery assistance in response to the July 2010 floods was provided to support projects delivered by trusted and experienced partners including United Nations agencies, the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and international and Australian non-government organisations, such as the World Food Programme, the World Health Organisation and Save the Children Australia. Australian funds have supported the provision of:
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o food, shelter, blankets and cookware to over 200,000 people and the distribution of health and sanitation assistance to almost 50,000 people, by Caritas International
o water and sanitation services to 670,333 people and distribution of 358,465 tarpaulins and 66,882 shelter kits to communities displaced by the floods, by the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement
o emergency shelter, essential household items, hygiene kits and mosquito bed nets to prevent dengue fever and malaria to around 24,480 people in Punjab and Dera Ismail Khan District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, by Save the Children International.
Australia also established the joint civilian-military medical facility in Kot Addu, Punjab, which provided medical assistance to over 11,000 people including 2,480 confirmed or suspected cases of malaria, 894 cases of diarrhoea, 485 cases of acute respiratory infection and 169 pregnant women.
• Between 1999 and 2009, Australia has worked with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to enrol more than 53,000 primary school aged children in Balochistan. This includes enrolment of 46,000 girls between 1999 and 2009, and 7,691 boys between 2008 and 2009 (prior to 2008, the program focused solely on girls’ education).
• In 2009–10, 51 students commenced study in Australia under the Australian Development Scholarships (ADS) program. 48 per cent of ADS awardees were women. It is expected that around 42 Australian Development Scholarships will be offered in 2010–11, as well as 8 long-term Australia Pakistan Agricultural Scholarships.
• Since 1998 Australia, through the Fred Hollows Foundation, has supported nearly 200,000 cataract surgeries in Pakistan allowing people to return to their lives with restored vision.
• Through the Fred Hollows Foundation, fifty district hospital eye units have been upgraded and 660 eye doctors, paramedics and technicians have also been trained.
• In 2009–10, Australia contributed to the training of 15 ophthalmologists from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab in laser application at the Pakistan Institute of Community Ophthalmology and College of Allied and Vision Sciences Lahore, in partnership with the Fred Hollows Foundation. 25 District Headquarters Hospitals were provided with upgraded infrastructure and ophthalmic equipment.
• Since 2008, Australia has contributed towards the screening of over 18,500 patients in diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina) and helped provide expert children’s eye care training to four teams of eye care workers in Punjab, Sindh and conflict-affected Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
• Since May 2008, Australia has assisted the World Food Programme to deliver food to food insecure households in conflict-affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. In 2009, over 21,000 tonnes of food were distributed to approximately 842,000 people, over half of which were women. Over 5,300 tonnes of food went to 73,000 children in nearly 600 targeted primary schools, resulting in an 82 per cent increase in enrolment.
• In 2005, a massive earthquake in Pakistan’s north killed over 70,000 people and destroyed hundreds of schools. In partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund and the Asian Development Bank, Australia has supported the construction of 511 transitional and permanent schools in earthquake affected regions since 2005, benefitting nearly 43,000 children.
• Since August 2008, over three million people have fled from law enforcement operations in north-west Pakistan. In 2009, Australia was the tenth largest bilateral donor to the crisis, providing $44.9 million in humanitarian assistance. This helped to provide education to 40,000 children and water, sanitation and hygiene services for 285,000 affected people, and supported the delivery of 330,000 metric tonnes of food assistance.
• Through ACIAR, Australia has worked since 2006 to improve farm management practices in Central Punjab, Pakistan’s most important agricultural area. Supporting agricultural livelihoods in Pakistan has become even more important since the floods; two million hectares of planted crops were washed away and millions of livestock and poultry were lost. The ASLP program is adjusting to provide specific assistance to post-flood needs. To date, the program has contributed to the following development outcomes for farmers and smallholders:
o improved farm management practices in Central Punjab, increasing daily milk production on average by 1.5 litres per cow and farmers’ incomes by around 50 cents per day
o improved irrigation methods, reducing water usage by 66 per cent, trialled through field training to 576 growers
o improved capacity to manage the post-harvest quality of key export crops, resulting in a 20 per cent increase in farmers’ income.