Agreements signed amongst Government of Gilgit Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and UNDP to protect millions of vulnerable people from GLOFs in Northern Pakistan

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Islamabad, 6 April 2021: Under continued efforts to mitigate the impacts of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed Letter of Agreements (LoAs) for the year 2021 with the Government of Gilgit Baltistan, and Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under its flagship project called: Scaling up of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF-II) risk reduction in Northern Pakistan in a virtual ceremony today. The Letters of Agreement were signed by Resident Representative, UNDP Mr. Knut Ostby, Syed Abrar Hussain, Additional Chief Secretary (Planning & Development Department) Gilgit-Baltistan, and Lt (R) Amer Sultan Tareen, Special Secretary Planning & Development Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

These agreements build on the ongoing partnership between the Government of Pakistan and UNDP, to set the stage for stronger cooperation to have a common understanding on the GLOF risks in provinces and the importance of resilience building of communities against climate induced disasters. Provincial P&DDs, KP and GB will act as lead partners for the project and provide support in coordinating activities with respective line departments in each province. The activities to be carried out under the LoAs will achieve significant results in the form of studies undertaken for risk assessments, GIS mapping of hazard locations and completion of forestry surveys. In addition, Provincial Climate Change Adaptation Action Plans will also be formulated. Specific set of interventions for each selected site will also be carried out in the form of building small scale infrastructure, promotion of water efficient, risk-informed farming technologies, and documentation of indigenous best practices to demonstrate nature-bases solutions. The LoAs will also focus on community mobilization activities for mass sensitization awareness, disaster risk reduction trainings and outreach through media.

The signatories agreed that the project scale in 18 districts of GB and KP gives all partners a tremendous opportunity to expand their development agenda towards a more secure and risk averted Pakistan to climate change impacts.

Glacial melt has resulted in formation of over 3,044 lakes in Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, putting some 7.1 million people at risk from potential GLOFs. Led by Ministry of Climate Change, with support from UNDP and funding support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the project targets the most vulnerable rural communities in the high-altitude regions of the country. The project will also install scaled-up early warning systems and automated weather stations to mitigate the impact of GLOFs. Amongst the target project beneficiaries, more than half will be women, propelling Pakistan’s efforts to reduce inequalities and ensure gender equality by 2030.

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