BRUSSELS: The Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) has stressed the need for a strong solidarity and support by international community to Pakistan to meet the unprecedented needs of reconstruction and rehabilitation, after the recent devastating floods which affected 20 million people and caused loss and hardships. It was stressed during the Third Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) held here on Friday and was preceded by a Senior Officials’ Meeting. Hosted by the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, the Ministerial Meeting was co-chaired by Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Also attending were the foreign ministers and senior representatives of 20 countries and four multilateral institutions.
“The meeting expressed condolences for the loss and hardship caused by the devastating floods across Pakistan, which have affected 20 million people.
“The ministers noted that the unprecedented need of post-flood reconstruction and rehabilitation should be met by a strong signal of solidarity and tangible support from the international community”, according to the Joint Communique issued after the Third Minister Meeting of FoDP.
The meeting welcomed the Arab Republic of Egypt as a new member of the FODP. Foreign Minister Qureshi conveyed his appreciation and gratitude to the EU High Representative for organizing the FoDP ministerial meeting and enabling such high level attendance, which was a clear expression of international support for Pakistan.
The Foreign Minister also thanked the FoDP members for their participation, as well as their support for Pakistan’s development and prosperity and conveyed deep gratitude for their generous flood relief assistance. The FoDP members recognised that reconstruction requirements were daunting and that the Damage Needs Assessment being carried out by the Government of Pakistan, together with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank should be a good basis for an effective and sustainable national strategy aimed at early recovery and long-term reconstruction based on the concept of ‘build back better’.
The meeting welcomed the resolve of the Government of Pakistan to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
The FoDP members appreciated the steps taken by the government in constituting the National Oversight Disaster Management Council (NODMC) and the government’s commitment to ensure transparency, accountability and effective utilisation of resources.
The FoDP also noted the need for continued efforts by the Government of Pakistan under its reform programme towards economic stabilization and sustained economic revival, including widening the tax base, and taking other necessary structural measures to generate and enhance the maximum possible domestic resource mobilisation for reconstruction and long term development.
In this context, the Friends attached importance to the forthcoming meeting of the Pakistan Development Forum in Islamabad on Nov 14-15, 2010, and looked forward to presentations on Pakistan’s economic stabilization plans and a national plan for reconstruction.
The Friends affirmed that the FODP is a Pakistan-led process where international cooperation can be expressed for Pakistan’s aspirations to build a strong and prosperous society for its people and looked forward to progress on economic reform.
It was agreed that the success of Pakistan’s experience in developing a strong democratic system, the welfare and well-being of its people, combating extremism and terrorism and Pakistan’s economic prosperity and stability were critical for regional and global peace and stability.
They acknowledged that socio-economic challenges had been compounded by the devastation caused by the floods.
The Friends noted that better trade opportunities would facilitate economic recovery. In this context, the EU decision to seek a Pakistan-specific WTO waiver was appreciated and should be supported.
The FoDP members noted progress on the Malakand Development Strategy and considered the Post-Crisis Needs Assessment (PCNA). They endorsed the PCNA and confirmed their commitment to support all its recommendations, welcoming the Government of Pakistan’s commitment to lead on urgent implementation of the report.
They agreed that progress will be reviewed at the next FODP Senior Officials Meeting. In this context, they expressed satisfaction with the operationalisation of the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for financing development projects in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas.
Pakistan’s energy needs were considered in the context of the Integrated Energy Sector Recovery Report and Plan. The meeting thanked the Government of Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank for the excellent work carried out by the Energy Sector Task Force. The meeting endorsed the report and underlined that implementation of its recommendations would help stabilize the energy sector in Pakistan.
The meeting acknowledged water management as an important priority for the Government of Pakistan. It was agreed that the Asian Development Bank, through a Task Force, will prepare a strategy on water management in consultation with the Government of Pakistan.
The strategy would take into account all aspects of the issue and its critical relevance to agriculture, development and disaster prevention. It was agreed to have an update on progress at the next Senior Officials’ Meeting. The FoDP members supported Pakistan’s determination to enhance its institutional and administrative capacities and in this context the emphasis laid by the Government of Pakistan on long-term Public-Private Partnerships.
They noted that sharing of best practices on effective governance, efficient service delivery, transparency and accountability would significantly help the reform process. The meeting noted the intention of the Government of Pakistan to hold the second Public-Private Partnership conference in Islamabad some time next year and expressed its full support for its success.
It was agreed that more regular meetings among officials should be organized in Islamabad to review progress of FoDP activities. The meeting agreed that a work plan of activities under the FoDP process will be useful. The FoDP members welcomed the offer by Turkey to host a meeting of the FoDP Working Group on Institution-Capacity Building at a mutually agreed date in the near future. The next Ministerial Meeting of the FoDP will be held in the first half of 2011.-APP