Pittsburgh: The World Bank and Pakistan have announced the establishment of a trust fund to improve infrastructure, services and livelihoods in the country’s conflict-affected areas.
The initiative was announced at Friends of Democratic Pakistan Summit meeting held in New York, co-chaired by US President Barack Obama along with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
The Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) will support a comprehensive reconstruction and development strategy in Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and also parts of Balochistan, the World Bank said in a statement.
The work will be guided by a post-conflict needs assessment currently being prepared by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations, and European Commission.
It will assess damage and reconstruction needs and provide a strategy for addressing the underlying grievances fueling the conflict such as social inequities, endemic poverty, and weak governance, it said.
Noting that a strong international response is needed to help Pakistan overcome development challenges, the World Bank president, Robert B. Zoellick, said: “We hope to see a strong support from Pakistan’s development partners to this important trust fund.”
The strong military action by Pakistan in the NWFP and FATA early this year led to one of the worst security crises in Pakistan’s history, displacing 2.7 million people and severely disrupting the lives, livelihoods, and provision of normal public services.
“Today, three months after the military campaign in the Swat Valley began, security is improving and schools have reopened in most places,” Zoellick said.
“It is critical now to reach the millions of people touched by this massive disruption with quick and effective assistance,” he said.
“I am delighted to announce that the World Bank has agreed, at the request of Pakistan and its partners, to create and manage this trust fund which will provide a coordinated financing mechanism for investments to support reconstruction and peace building,” he added.