ISLAMABAD (Pakistan) – As families return to their homes in FATA region, there is an urgent need to tackle livelihoods and food security situation in the region to support the returnee populations’ sustainable path to stability and prosperity, experts highlighted at a seminar.
To offer better understanding on livelihood and food security in FATA, a report has been launched recently in Islamabad by WFP. The report urge policymakers to make correct assessments of food, nutrition, rehabilitation and livelihoods challenges being faced by the FATA returnees. The report is based on information collected during field surveys in six FATA agencies including Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, Orakzai and South Waziristan.
The “Returning Home: Livelihoods and Food Security of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Returnees” report was released during an event at the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) premises in Islamabad on Thursday. This report outlines the results of a study conducted jointly by WFP and the FATA Secretariat in collaboration with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Food Security Cluster and the FATA Disaster Management Authority (FDMA).
Secretary, FATA Planning & Development, Shakeel Qadir Khan, was the chief guest on the occasion while WFP Representative, Lola Castro, FAO Representative, Patrick Evans, Country Director International Rescue Committee, Muhammd Adeel Khan, were among the key speakers.
Shakeel Qadir Khan, while commending WFP food and nutrition interventions in FATA, said that the report would serve as a guideline for policymakers to make correct assessments of food, nutrition, rehabilitation and livelihoods challenges being faced by the FATA returnees. He assured the FATA administration’s overall support to WFP projects.
Lola Castro said that “since 2008, operations for the restoration of peace and stability in Pakistan’s north-western areas have led to the temporary displacement of a significant number of people. As families have been returning in large numbers this year, joint efforts have been undertaken by the Government of Pakistan and the Humanitarian Community to support communities in the rehabilitation of their lives and livelihoods and to improve their access to social services”.
Over 1.5 million displaced individuals have been residing in Peshawar or adjoining districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). As a result of improvements in the law and order situation, the Government of Pakistan has initiated the implementation of a Return and Rehabilitation (R&R) Strategy which envisions the return of all TDPs to their areas of origin by 2016.
Krishna Pahari, Head of WFP’s Vulnerability Assessment and Mapping Unit said that “facing various challenges in terms of food security and restoration of livelihoods, the assistance of both national and international actors is crucial for the returnee populations.”
He further added that, in order to support the returnee populations’ sustainable path to stability and prosperity, it is fundamental to have a sound understanding of their livelihoods and food security situation. “The report provides a comprehensive profile of the livelihood and food security in FATA. It is based on information collected during field surveys in six FATA agencies including Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, Orakzai and South Waziristan,” he said.
The report highlights findings such as returnee populations’ high vulnerability to food insecurity, a significant decrease in domestic and productive assets, low levels of productivity of household-owned agricultural lands, dependence on unstable sources of income and important gender disparities with women having worse food security indicators in terms of food consumption scores and caloric intake.
The report also formulates key recommendations based on priorities identified by returnee households, communities and the overall analysis of the livelihoods and food security situation, which can be of significant value to all actors involved in providing humanitarian and recovery assistance to returnee populations.