Disaster resilience in Pakistan

Technical support to Pakistan's national disaster risk reduction policy

08/11/2018 - 

"Aid efforts remain inadequate without proactive risk management, early action and investment to enhance resilience." Minà Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan.

  • Technical support offered to 300 villages

Pakistan is vulnerable to severe and frequent floods and droughts, hitting resource-poor smallholder farmers, pastoralists and fishing communities the hardest. With more than 190 million people, Pakistan is the sixth most populous country and most of its population is rural.

In the past decade, over 80 percent of the country was hit by natural disasters, impacting 33 million people. Flooding causes an estimated annual economic impact of between 3 and 4 percent of the federal budget. The FAO two-year project ‘Technical Support to Stakeholder Capacity Development for Effective Implementation of Pakistan’s National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy’ aims to help disaster-affected populations in Pakistan to better anticipate, manage and recover from shocks and stresses.

The project is part of a grant to the Government of Pakistan for ‘Building Disaster Resilience in Pakistan (BDRP)’ implemented in Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur districts of Punjab Province and Kashmore and Ghotki Districts of Sindh province. It supports capacity development of government departments and local NGO partners in the implementation of community based disaster risk reduction (DRR) and disaster risk management (DRM) strategies. Beneficiaries of technical support in 2017 included 300 villages in 27 Union Councils, 2 500 households that had benefitted from Farmer Field Schools and Women Open Schools, and 90 government officials. Through the project, 12 DRR/DRM plans and strategies were developed by target stakeholders, 3 260 people were trained with new DRR/DRM skills, and 5 940 people from education, health services and DRM sectors trained in disaster preparedness and response planning

Supporting the provincial government of Punjab to review and update agro-ecological zones was another key achievement last year. Defining agro-ecological zones is critical for land degradation assessment, livestock productivity modeling, population support capacity assessment, and land-use optimization modeling. It facilitates informed decision-making and boosts socioeconomic development in the agriculture sector.

Due to the proactive work by the United Nations consortium agencies led by FAO, and the INGO consortium led by Concern Worldwide during the inception phase, the project achieved its intended targets and received a top ranking in a 2017 annual review, which provide a solid foundation for the remaining 18 months of the pilot phase. Discussion is underway for the second phase involving both consortia to expand the programme to another 20 hazard prone districts of Punjab and Sindh.

The project’s innovative method of working across sectors and jointly between United Nations Agencies, government counterparts and CSOs ensures support to vulnerable communities in line with their livelihood needs. These synergies reinforce the project’s impact. As part of the initiative, agriculture resilience building was also adopted and replicated by target communities in Pakistan.

As a result, demonstration sites for climate smart agriculture (CSA) practices were set up and communities are starting to understand the benefits of adopting CSA practices, leading to behavioral change as CSA is replicated and adopted in the context of disaster-affected rural populations.

Resource partner: United Kingdom (DFID)

SDGs: 1, 13

Regional Initiative: RIN3 - Building resilience for food security and nutrition for the Near East and North Africa 

Photo: Empowering women in agriculture in Pakistan ©FAO/Virginia Morgan