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Published Date: Nov 29, 2012

SDPI PRESS RELEASE (29 NOV, 2012)

Conflict and crisis in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had inflicted heavy damages to public and private infrastructure, reduced local economic activity with  limited households’ livelihood opportunities and destruction of social fabric.  This was the gist of a stakeholder consultative meeting titled “Mapping Strategies for livelihood, Basic Services and Social Services in Post Conflict Areas” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Thursday.

The consultation was held to share SDPI research work with the stakeholders and also to seek expert opinion to refine research output in ongoing mapping study. Participants were informed that SDPI is conducting research study with Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium to map livelihood options, social protection and basic service delivery in conflict affected areas of northwest Pakistan. The research study would also analyze aid effectiveness to know that whether such interventions are appropriate to the needs, activities and aspirations of people.

Anam Khan, Research Associate, SDPI presented research methodology of the study and  informing that a special technique, ‘Mixed Methods Research (MMR)’, was employed in the research, which was essential while studying topics such as violence and conflict. Giving a background, she said that  combination of conflict and natural disasters has left KP with levels of poverty and food insecurity significantly higher than the national average. It was important to generate evidence that will help to inform livelihoods policy and response in KP, and other affected regions.

Earlier, Akbar Ali of SDPI briefed participants on the findings of study and presented ‘Country Evidence Paper’ based on the finding of first year of research. He said that that war has led to destruction of agriculture, markets and transport infrastructure, including shops, storage space, transport vehicles and roads leading to reduced economic activity. Citing different coping strategies adopted by the local people, he said that, people resorted to migration to big cities, compromising on nutritious food intake, borrowing money and seeking non-natural resource-based livelihood strategies.

Talking of impacts on basic services, he said that education sector, and particularly the female education, is one of the most severely affected sector by conflict in the region. He lament that social safety nets in conflict areas are influenced by elites and are least accessible by the less powerful or less well-connected people in crisis-affected areas.

He also suggested policy action including rebuilding of households in KP and FATA, restocking of livestock, short-term cash transfers to reduce debt and maintain household consumption and provision of agricultural tools and seeds to the needful.

There was lively debate among participants during question answer session producing some very important suggestions.  The participants argued that while mapping the impacts of conflicts, the ‘Host Communities” must also be studied along with ‘Affected’ population as influx of IDPs imprint a heavy toll on their resources, food security, service delivery and law and order situation. They also urged to study impact on tourism industry which was one of the main source of livelihood in Swat and northern areas. Discussing the effectiveness of aid, the participant urged for greater public accountability and transparency by involving local people in mechanism. They also stressed on diversifying livelihood options for local people and further research studies having greater emphasis on domestic and informal sector. They also urged for greater synergies between development organizations on data and knowledge base, and suggested further integration of UN cluster system with development  organizations.