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Japan commits $12.8m for areas hosting Afghan refugees

02 March, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: Government of Japan and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Thursday signed an agreement on Japan's contribution of $12.8 million to support the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA) Programme in areas adjacent to the Peshawar-Torkham Expressway.

This programme aims at improving basic community infrastructure and livelihoods, rehabilitating environment and enhancing social cohesion. Charge d 'Affaires of the Embassy of Japan, Akira Kono, and UNDP Country Director Toshihiro Tanaka signed the agreement. Ministry of States and Frontier Regions Secretary Habibullah Khan appreciated the initiative and encouraged provincial governments to carry it forward. Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Additional Secretary Iftikhar Rao hosted the ceremony, while representatives of different UN agencies were also present.

On behalf of the United Nations, the UNDP country director thanked the government of Japan for its support for human development in Pakistan and said, "The contribution of the government of Japan to the RAHA will be instrumental in creating social cohesion in the affected areas and providing integrated development support to UN agencies, which were working for the disadvantaged communities of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)."

Speaking on the occasion, the Japanese charge d' affaires said, "We hope our support will build peace and help improve social fabric of refugees and refugee-affected communities through social mobilisation and livelihood generation."

EAD Additional Secretary Iftikhar Rao said that his department would extend full support to the UNDP and government of Japan in taking this important cooperation forward.

Through the current Japanese assistance, the programme will cover areas adjacent to the Peshawar-Torkham Expressway in Peshawar district and Khyber Agency in FATA. RAHA programme is designed to promote regional stability and compensate for the social, economic and environmental impacts on Pakistani communities by the presence of more than three million Afghans for the past three decades.

End.

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