UK parliament urges government to prioritize women and girls in reduced ODA budget in Pakistan

The UK parliamentary committee on international development has called upon the UK government to use its reduced country ODA budget for Pakistan to focus on assisting marginalized groups like women and girls and, religious minorities.

The committee, which published a new report on UK ODA to Pakistan, highlighted that between 2015 - 2019, Pakistan was the single largest recipient of bilateral UK ODA. However, in 2020 it dropped to seventh place with an annual UK ODA budget of £200 million (US$268 million). The report illustrated how the UK via past programming had a positive impact on helping women and girls and religious minorities via its education and economic empowerment programs; but, progress made by these projects has been put in jeopardy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and cuts to the UK ODA budget. The report urged the UK government to use its smaller ODA budget to protect the gains made in these programs, focusing on girls’ education and women’s economic empowerment in hard-to-reach communities and by supporting other programs like nutrition and sexual and reproductive health which indirectly support these goals.

The report also called upon the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to continue to support the work of Pakistan’s National Commission on the Status of Women and its National Commission on Human Rights.

In order to improve the effectiveness of UK ODA in Pakistan, the report ultimately urges the UK to communicate its policy objectives clearly to its partners via its Integrated Delivery Plan.

Report – UK Parliament