Time for change: UNDP to help G-B enhance local government

Published: April 4, 2014
Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Assembly. PHOTO: FILE

Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Assembly. PHOTO: FILE


Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Assembly will get technical assistance from United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in forming legislation for local government.

A select committee of G-B, headed by regional Law Minister Ali Madad Sher, has sought UNDP’s support in accordance with constitutional provisions, provincial perspectives and best practices.

Triggered by the introduction of the 18th Amendment in 2010, this initiative is one more chapter in the ongoing discourse and efforts regarding policy initiatives on the local administrative level. The UNDP has been playing an advisory role in discussing ways to make grassroots representation more effective. It launched its first development magazine in the country in January 2014, with the first edition focusing on ‘A New Way Forward for Local Governance in Pakistan.’

In helping G-B carve out a new way forward, UNDP identified a few areas where it could help, such as drafting local government law and organising multi-stakeholder consultations to get feedback in this regard, as well as reviews of other provincial laws and best practices.

“The basic format for the assistance has been discussed and agreed upon,” said Altaf Hussain, Director Programmes at Gilgit-Baltistan Policy Institute (GBPI), a non-profit organisation set up in 2009 to explore policy options for the region.

UNDP had advertised for independent organisations to assist the government’s select committee, and GBPI won the bid. “We will be holding sessions with stakeholders during the next two months,” Hussain told The Express Tribune on Thursday.

UNDP formally announced its support during a meeting attended by UNDP Country Director in Pakistan Marc-Andre Franche, G-B Assembly Speaker Wazir Baig, Deputy Speaker Jamil Ahmed and GBPI officials on April 1.

As part of GBPI’s role, Hussain said the NGO would be presenting a detailed analysis of all local government laws and regional best practices to the select committee and other senior government officials. GBPI will also provide legal advice to the committee in drafting new laws.

“Based on stakeholder’s feedback, a report will be prepared on the entire process, finally to be submitted to UNDP,” said the GBPI programme director.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2014.

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