Denmark supports UNHCR efforts to empower Afghan refugees in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD, June 17 (APP): Danish Charge’d Affaires Jakob Rogild
Jakobsen on Friday said empowering Afghan refugee youth in Pakistan
“through enhanced vocational training and livelihoods projects” was an important initiative to shore up the human capital of Afghan refugees.

He was talking to Indrika Ratwatte, UNHCR Country Representative
who called on him to discuss the current situation of Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons in Pakistan.

Empowering Afghan refugees would allow them to contribute to
the reconstruction and development processes upon return to Afghanistan, he said according to a statement of the embassy here.

Denmark has allocated approximately USD three million towards
UNHCR programmes in Pakistan for 2016. Its contribution will support the implementation of Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees,

UNHCR’s activities towards voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and efforts to empower refugee youth in Pakistan through provision of vocational training and technical skills.

The total of Danish funds for UNHCR Pakistan amounts to
a total of USD 13.2 million since 2013 to date. Ratwatte
highlighted that due to the generous support from Denmark
and other donors, UNHCR was able to implement a five year
Health transition strategy (2014 2018) which has been developed
by UNHCR and has gradually been rolled out and aimed at
implementing the progressive disengagement of UNHCR from
the existing parallel system of Basic Health Unit (BHUs)
exiting in the Rural Villages (RVs).ö

Pakistan continues to generously host over 1.5 million
Afghan refugee Proof of Registration (PoR) cardholders. Children and youth constitute approximately 70 percent of the total refugee population.

While Afghan refugees are dispersed across more than
70 countries, an overwhelming 95 per cent continue to be hosted by Pakistan and Iran. Some 3.9 million Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan since 2002, including more than 58,000 in 2015, said the statement.

While discussing the current status of refugees and the
voluntary repatriation process, Jakobsen appreciated UNHCR’s work and said that Denmark looked at the Afghan refugee crisis from a regional perspective .

It focuses on sustainable solutions that would help
refugees and internally displaced persons secure access to
protection as close to their home as possible. Denmark is among
the biggest contributors to UNHCRÆs regional program in South
West Asia.

Ratwatte said that UNHCR Pakistan supports youth empowerment
through a nexus of inter linked interventions in the areas of education, skills training and livelihood support.

He recalled that inclusive and equitable education and
promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all has been
agreed upon in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said the statement.