UNDP Pakistan Annual Report 2020

UNDP AR 2020

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UNDP Pakistan Annual Report 2020

June 16, 2021

The year 2020 posed challenges unlike any the world has experienced before. These ranged from the direct impacts of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which are overwhelming health care systems, to enforced changes in ways of working, to the economic impacts on large parts of the global and national economy, including major job losses and increased poverty. More than one year into the pandemic, the impacts have been devastating for Pakistan’s most vulnerable people, and concerted, focused and persistent efforts are needed to overcome setbacks and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UNDP is a key partner of the Government of Pakistan in the response to COVID-19 . In the early phases of the pandemic, we collaborated with our sister agencies in the United Nations to conduct a rapid assessment of socioeconomic impacts, with recommendations for the Government to address the implications of the pandemic on Pakistan’s most vulnerable. This, along with UNDP’s support for a COVID-19 Secretariat established in the Planning Department and business continuity planning to key ministries, was critical to ensuring a coordinated and effective social protection response in 2020. As this report will show, UNDP was able to rapidly design and implement programmes to support the national response, including through improved access to health care via telemedicine, communication and supplies for infection prevention and control, and helplines to address stigma, discrimination and provide mental health support.

Like all other organizations UNDP faced the challenge of providing support to government and communities where face-to-face interaction was severely limited. I am proud that our team stepped up to this challenge, engaging in innovative approaches to remote working to continue our regular programmes all over the country with local communities and government counterparts, while responding to COVID-19 and spreading information on preventing its spread, and helping  maintain essential services to the highest standard possible.

The COVID pandemic has also had important gender dimensions, and previous advances towards gender equality have suffered. I am particularly proud that, despite the pandemic, UNDP Pakistan was awarded bronze-level certification for the Gender Equality Seal, celebrating significant progress towards gender equality.

Amidst the challenges posed by the pandemic, it was thanks to our partners’ commitment and support that we maintained momentum in all of UNDP’s focus areas.  

This is also the year that UNDP’s country support platform, Pakistan’s SDG Units – which bring together innovation, smart policymaking and new investment tools to design and deliver integrated solutions to SDGs – came into its own. UNDP Pakistan is proud to be one of the global pioneers of the Social Innovation Platform approach to development. This approach responds to the needs of these extraordinary times to reimagine development initiatives not as simple projects to be implemented, but as complex, multi-layered portfolios which draw directly on deep and honest conversations with people at grassroots level, and mobilize partnerships to respond directly to the needs prioritized by local communities.


As we all look forward to the world’s emergence from the pandemic, we must not forget that an even greater challenge still remains: the fight against climate change. This global, national and individual imperative is becoming more and more urgent, and both adaptation and mitigation measures must be accelerated. As one of the places most vulnerable to climate change globally, Pakistan has made a number of innovative advances on both fronts, and plans to showcase these on World Environment Day 2021, hosted by Pakistan, as well as at COP26, hosted by the United Kingdom. UNDP is proud to continue to support Pakistan’s efforts to implement sustainable, climate-conscious development and disaster preparedness. A notable example is the disaster prevention work related to possible glacier lake outbursts in the Karakoram and Himalayan regions caused by climate change.

I would like to thank all UNDP staff, government counterparts and partners for their untiring efforts during a challenging time. Despite the tumults of the past year, we remain committed to working closely with government, the private sector, communities and all stakeholders towards achieving our ultimate goal: a future of peace, development and human rights for all, where no one is left behind. 

Knut Ostby

Resident Representative
UNDP Pakistan