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The Foreign Minister, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, held a meeting with the heads of all UN agencies resident in Islamabad today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The participants included Mr. Timo Pakkala, UN Resident Coordinator and Heads of UN agencies in Pakistan namely UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, FAO, ILO, IFAD, IOM, UN HABITAT, UNAIDS, UNAMA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNIC, UNMOGIP, UNODC, UNOPS, WFP, WHO, UNIDO, UNDSS, UNWOMEN and OCHA. The Foreign Secretary Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani also attended the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange views on promoting cooperation and coordination between the Government of Pakistan and the UN agencies.

The Foreign Minister informed the participants of the high importance that Pakistan attached to its interaction with the United Nations, and its specialized agencies and funds and programmes. She acknowledged the assistance of the UN system during the calamities of earthquake and the devastating floods in Pakistan in the recent years. She also appreciated the contributions which the UN agencies have been making in promoting the present government’s development agenda in Pakistan. The Foreign Minister underscored the significant work done and progress achieved by the democratic government in many of the priority areas of the UN, including protection of the rights of women, children, the vulnerable, and minorities. In this context she cited the successful Benazir Income Support Program which seeks to empower the most vulnerable segment of the society.

In her key messages, the Foreign Minister sensitized the participants about the parameters within which the UN activities could best function in Pakistan. It was stressed that the UN development system should be guided by the nationally and internationally agreed principles of cooperation. She emphasized that full national ownership of the UN development assistance and its alignment with national programmes and policies remained vital for a coherent partnership between the Government of Pakistan and the UN agencies. It was hoped that the UN agencies will work in partnership with the relevant government Ministries and provincial and local departments and fully utilize the potential of our national public and private systems in simplifying and harmonizing the business practices, common support services and long term standardised agreements.

The UN Resident Coordinator and the other participants appreciated the idea of organizing the briefing session for the UN agencies. He welcomed the emphasis on enhanced and effective coordination and cooperation between the Government and the UN agencies in achieving the common objectives. The representatives of various UN agencies offered their suggestions for the improvement of UN operations in Pakistan.

In his remarks, the Foreign Secretary underscored the need to maintain close coordination between the UN agencies and the Ministry to facilitate UN operations in Pakistan and fulfilment of the shared objective of enhancing the national capacities and promoting the welfare of the people of Pakistan.

26 February 2013

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