Thursday July 25, 2024

EU envoy impressed by scale, outreach of grassroots development

By Bureau report
June 14, 2019

PESHAWAR: European Union Ambassador Jean-François Cautain on Thursday said he envied the outreach and networks the grassroots development institutions had developed in Pakistan.

He made the remarks during a farewell courtesy call at the head office of the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) in Peshawar.

The ambassador contrasted the present situation with the lack of capacity and outreach the civil society organisations had during the early years of his career when he was based in Pakistan way back in 1986.

SRSP Chief Executive Officer Masoodul Mulk highlighted the government’s policies that had enabled the EU to fund post-conflict recovery programmes under Programme for Economic Advancement and Community Empowerment (PEACE) and Community Driven Local Development (CDLD) in the Malakand Division. Both these programmes were based on the post-crisis needs assessment (PCNA) and development policies of the provincial government which were aimed at building trust between the citizens and the state.

It was for the first time that the EU had used local institutions to fund such programmes.

Evaluations had shown that programme implementation in comparison to other area development programmes in the region was prompt, low cost and reached the remotest regions, efficiently. He stressed the need for focussing on poverty and collective actions within communities to address poverty which was the main driver of instability in the region.

Masoodul Mulk said the thin spread of population, the poor state of infrastructure and historical neglect called for innovative approaches to address issues of service delivery in this region. The EU ambassador thanked the SRSP for the contribution it had made in the field because the provision of aid and accountability was important at his level but the major difference, in the end, was made by the frontline workers and functional organisations working at the grassroots levels.

European Union is a major aid partner for Pakistan and also offers opportunities for export and trade through special quotas. He said the cooperation would continue and the EU would support the sustainability of the benefits of these programmes

Meanwhil, Ambassador of European Union Jean-Francois Cautain has advised the law students to focus on the implementation of rule of law and dispensation of justice in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This he said during his visit to Frontier Law College, Peshawar, along with his spouse Sonia Cautain. The ambassador had an interactive session with law students on EU-Pakistan relations, primarily with regard to rule of law projects underway in KP.

At the end of the session, there was a question-answer session where students asked the ambassador’s thoughts on good governance progress in the country, judicial trainings, legal education and Fata merger with KP.