KARACHI - The Sindh government and the United Nations have joined hands to oversee the five-year development programme address key priorities to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

It was unveiled at an inaugural meeting of the One UN Programme-II (OP II) Steering Committee for Sindh was held in Karachi to discuss the implementation of the One United Nations Programme (2013-2017) (OP II) in the province.

The steering committee meeting was chaired by the Additional Chief Secretary Planning & Development Arif Ahmed Khan and Dan Rohrmann, UNICEF Resident Representative in Pakistan. In addition to the UN Resident Coordinator Timo Pakkala, participants included key government representatives.

Additional Chief Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan said that: "The One Programme-II is an important initiative, and if we set our course right at this time, we are likely to come to the right conclusion.”

Khan also stressed the need for engaging all stakeholders and all key government departments should institutionalise OP II coordination and appoint focal points in order to ensure sustainability. He stressed the importance of inter-sectoral coordination, especially in the social sector and in efforts made to attain the Millennium Development Goals.

Timo Pakkala lauded the Sindh government for its active role in developing the One UN Programme priorities for Sindh. He emphasised the importance of UN working closely with provincial governments to ensure that their development priorities are fully reflected in UN's work in Pakistan.

Co-chairing the Steering Committee, UNICEF Representative Dan Rohrmann said, “This is a unique opportunity where the Sindh government and the UN agencies come together to jointly oversee the five-year development programme that addresses key priorities defined together with a broad range of stakeholders in the province. Now is the time to accelerate action to advance progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and realise the development plan of Sindh.” Mr Rohrmann also emphasized the need for coherence and effectiveness of the OPII initiative through the use of strategic evaluations which will pave way for key decision-making by the Government and the UN.

The One UN Programme II (2013 – 2017) is the five-year strategic development framework developed jointly by the Pakistan government and the United Nations after extensive consultations with provincial/area governments, civil society and other development partners. Key areas of UN support include: access to social services, economic growth and employment, resilience against disasters, governance and social justice as well as food and nutrition security.

In line with the 18th amendment to the constitution, nine steering committees have been formed – one at the federal level, further eight at the provincial and regional level. These committees have been established to provide strategic guidance, monitoring and oversight as well as to review the implementation of OP II in their respective province/areas.