A shepherd in Naran Valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan

Governance Decentralisation facilitates more participation by the people

In 2013, new local government systems were introduced in Pakistan's four provinces, with many tasks being handed over to municipal authorities, some of which were newly founded on that occasion. This administrative reform enables municipalities to align public services more closely with people's needs and to make them more effective and transparent, and to give citizens a greater say in decision-making processes, for instance on local development planning and budget planning.

Germany assists provincial and local governments in the Provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab in delivering their new tasks, improving local governance, increasing tax revenue and reinforcing their dialogue with citizens.

Advice is being provided to both provinces' tax authorities to help them improve their administrative regulations and processes. The number of registered taxpayers and, thus, the volume of tax revenue have already increased significantly in the two provinces.

In order to enforce the right to information and participation that has been laid down in the constitution, there are training sessions on citizen participation and participatory development planning. Between 2016 and 2021, efforts in the Afghanistan border region have reached over 10,000 households in 343 villages in five districts through 411 community-based organisations (including 22 women's organisations).

Thanks to German support in the former tribal areas along the Afghan border, more than 630,000 schoolchildren (including some 225,000 girls) have been given access to education since 2016. More than 700,000 people are benefitting from improved health services. In communities that host large numbers of Afghan refugees, Germany supports the development of social and economic infrastructure.

Social protection

The reduction of social inequality is considered the greatest development challenge in the country, and also a key measure for poverty reduction. Social inequality in Pakistan has many forms – the most dramatic being inequality between urban and rural areas, between women and men, between social strata, and between generations.

About 20 per cent of Pakistan's people live below the national poverty line. 72 per cent of all job holders are working in the informal sector without any social protection. This means that illness can quickly jeopardise their livelihoods.

Germany therefore supports the development of the social protection system. Initially, German support has been used to introduce health insurance in a number of pilot districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. This gave rise to popular interest in such schemes, so that the provincial government expanded the insurance programme to all districts in the Province, using its own funding. Since the introduction of insurance in 2016, about nine million underserved families have been reached. The insurance scheme covers inpatient treatment at 400 hospitals and has about 37 million customers, of whom 16.5 million are women. The health insurance for inpatient treatment has now been made available to 100 per cent of the population, and it is planned to expand the scheme nationwide.