Pakistan

Netherlands to contribute towards education for all in Pakistan

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Pakistan can count on the Netherlands' support for basic education during the coming four years. For 2006 an amount of 35 million US dollars is available. This was announced by the Netherlands Minister for Development Cooperation, Mrs. Agnes van Ardenne, at her meeting with Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz today. In Pakistan too, all children should be able to attend school. In the coming years the Netherlands wants to contribute towards this goal. Special attention will be paid to early childhood education as well as the quality of education and textbooks. The Minister's announcement means that the Netherlands will expand its development cooperation with Pakistan to include not only the areas of good governance and environment, but also basic education.

Van Ardenne: "By the year 2015 there should be education for all children in Pakistan, with equal opportunities for girls and boys. The contribution by the Netherlands is meant to stimulate provinces in Pakistan to develop and implement their own education plans, aiming to achieve these Millennium Development Goals. Pakistan is responsible for providing education to its children. The Netherlands can support through financial assistance and advisory services".

Minister Van Ardenne also received first-hand information on the effects of the earthquake disaster. Together with her Irish colleague Mr. Conor Lenihan, the Minister visited the earthquake hit areas in northern Pakistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir. This took her amongst others to the NATO Netherlands military field hospital in Bagh where some 100-150 patients are being treated each day. The relief operations have already reached many of the victims and every day mobile medical teams and relief organizations provide shelter, food and medical care in the most remote areas. In many villages people have started constructing temporary shelters in order to survive the harsh winter season. Van Ardenne: "Above all we must enable and empower the people to build their own future and to actively participate in rebuilding their country. This will build confidence." There is much appreciation in Pakistan for the speed with which both the Netherlands Government and the Netherlands relief organizations were able to mobilize and provide relief following the earthquake two months ago. The Red Cross/Red Crescent was enabled to distribute relief supplies to survivors within 2 days after the disaster. Doctors of the World and Save the Children were able to provide medical relief within days, as a result of the financial pledges made by Minister Van Ardenne. In total the Netherlands Government allocated 33 million US dollars for emergency relief to Pakistan out of which 12 million US dollars are currently being used for emergency education. Private donations by the Netherlands people so far reached 35 million US dollars which will be used for relief and rehabilitation of Pakistani victims.

For more information please contact:

- Ministry of Foreign Affairs Netherlands, Department of Media Communications
Mrs. Marie-Christine Lanser-Reusken, spokesperson, mile + 31 6 3180757

- Royal Netherlands Embassy Islamabad
Mrs. Margriet Struijf, relief coordinator, mobile 0300 856398