ISLAMABAD - The government of Japan has announced its support to the United Nations World Food Programme for Seasonal Livelihood Programme in erstwhile Fata.

The official announcement was made by Secretary Livelihood and Production Abdul Latif and the Ambassador of Japan in Pakistan Takashi Kurai. WFP Country Director and Representative Finbarr Curran and representatives from Fata Secretariat and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government were also present at the occasion. Geographically, the districts formerly known as Fata are vulnerable to disasters and poorly constructed mud and stone houses and other weak infrastructure are often washed away by rains and flash flooding. Frequency of climatic shocks as well as conflict calls for strengthening of disaster risk management systems to mitigate risk. Crisis preparedness capacities need to be boosted to reduce the time it takes for families to recover and for systems to be restored.

Seasonal Livelihood Programme is a risk-informed planning tool to identify interventions suited to a variety of contexts and time frames. It provides the foundations for resilience planning and brings humanitarian/development interventions together by combining seasonal, livelihood, gender, crisis and programme aspects. Communities, government and partners are consulted to design cross cutting plans, a statement said.

The programme will also pave the way for digitalisation of data gathering and development of a centralised data hub. This will include refinement and cleaning of data from key thematic areas and linking to decision support system of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Secretary Livelihood and Production Abdul Latif said that the government of Japan had been an active partner of Pakistan in supporting socio-economic development of the people in former tribal regions. The consultative process will help agencies and the government to establish priorities and make plans to address challenges in disaster preparedness and mitigation to sustain development gains and minimise losses to the country’s GDP, he said.

Addressing the audience, Ambassador of Japan Takashi Kurai said, “We need to start paying more attention in our assistance for former Fata to development support, rather than humanitarian, to eradicate poverty, end malnutrition and improve the quality of lives of people there. We hope that this development intervention through WFP will help them increase their self-resilience and protect their livelihoods.

“The Government of Japan has been a key partner in ensuring food security and livelihood for vulnerable people in tribal districts. Extreme weather events are expected to exacerbate already tough living conditions and crop failures can further aggravate conflicts”, said the WFP representative Finbar Curran. “Seasonal livelihood programme will help support people where pressures of climate and conflict intersect, and at the same time strengthen government plans and coordination.