Development of a country. Director Maestripieri in Pakistan to meet partners and monitor on-going projects

Islamabad, February 10 2023_A long week of meeting and field visits has been arranged by AICS Islamabad to introduce General Director Mr. Luca Maestripieri and his delegation to the most relevant development projects on going in Pakistan.

The mission started in the historical city of Lahore, where the Italian delegation met ILO (International Labour Organization) representatives, implementing a project aimed at enhancing life conditions of brick factory workers. Pakistan produces more than 45 billion of bricks every year, in 18.000 kilns mostly located in Lahore region, Punjab. 4.5 million of people currently work in these facilities, with harsh conditions that the project is trying to alleviate. Thanks to a 1.5 MLN EUR budget, this project has also developed a social protection system for local communities, providing accommodation, water supplies and basic services for workers and their families.

In Lahore, the delegation met high profile institutional partners such as Punjab Chief Minister and Ministry of Planning Heads of Department. Director Maestripieri has been glad to hear from partner’s direct voices about the important results achieved by a project devoted to irrigation schemes and infrastructures, implemented in the framework of the Debt Swap Programme PIDSA, a first step to introduce the Region to a 360 degrees green economy.

After a stop at Rothas Fort, at the center of a UNESCO project funded by AICS and focused on cultural heritage, gender equality and work opportunities, the Italian Delegation had 2 additional field visits. First stop in Nowshera, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Region, to meet technicians and beneficiaries of the project “OliveCulture”, implemented by CIHEAM Bari, devoted to vocational training and equipment supply for olive oil farmers; second stop in Rawalpindi, out of Islamabad, where UNHCR established a hub for afghan refugees, aimed at providing basic services to refugees and fragile host communities with a proper number balance (70% afghans, 30% Pakistanis).

The Italian Cooperation is working in the Pakistani Northern Regions since long time. Thanks to solid partnerships with UNDP, EvK2 – CNR and IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature, AICS Islamabad is currently focusing its intervention on glaciers monitoring and water management for irrigation purposes and to preserve local environment. The delegation met the Ministry of Planning Additional Chief Secretary to discuss activities and goals of ETI programme, aimed at supporting agricultural activities and local communities, and then payed a visit to a dairy factory for yogurt production, supported by the project and managed by a 1.100 members cooperative. An additional field visit took place at the Central Karakorum National Park, SEED project implementing area (included in the PIDSA programme) and now partner of the new project “Glaciers and Students”, focusing on glaciers monitoring activities and hydrogeological risk prevention with a scientific approach.

Meetings with implementing partners have been arranged in Islamabad, in particular a roundtable with UN agencies working through AICS funding (UNESCO, ILO, UNHCR, UNDP) and not (UN-HABITAT, UNIDO, UNODC e WFP). The Italian Delegation had the opportunity to understand the peculiar operational background of Pakistan and the country priorities that the international community is following to fully support communities resilience to climate change, touristic and cultural heritage imrpovement, social protection and decent work, food safety and environment protection. During a side meeting, IOM and UNHCR illustrated the activities carried out in favor of afghan refugees in Pakistan through different Italian funding. The delegation also had a meeting with EU and World Bank Representatives in Pakistan, in order to coordinate joint efforts and focus on the difficulties faced in the regional context.

Last day of mission was occupied by the closing ceremony of the Poverty Reduction Programme, implemented by the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund: a good opportunity to meet representatives of several beneficiaries groups and to show to audience, media and the Director Maestripieri most relevant achieved results. It is possible to see them in the video The Same Dream.

Posted in .