Considering the gravity of the spread of COVID-19 in Pakistan particularly in the most vulnerable communities living in urban slums and informal settlements (Katchi Abadis), UN-Habitat launched ‘Pakistan COVID19 Urban Slums Response Programme’ (PCUSRP) with the objective to prevent spread of COVI19 in urban slums and empowering local communities to mitigate its economic impact. The programme is launched in collaboration with Ministry of Climate Change, Shehersaaz, and National Cleaner Production Center (NCPC) and Akhtar Hameed Khan Memorial Trust (AHKMT), Aman and Rawalpindi Waste Management Company. Pilot Implementation will be in Dhok Hassu ad Dhok Mangtal, Rawalpindi.
The Advisor to the Prime Minister, Malik Amin Aslam, while virtually inaugurating the ‘Pakistan COVID19 Urban Slums Response Programme’ on 11th May 2020 highlighted that Prime Minister has expressed his concerns of the impact of COVID19 on health and economic conditions of population living in urban slums and called for immediate actions for prevention of the spread as well as the mitigation of socio-economic impact. He emphasized that an inclusive approach is needed for urban slums in Pakistan that aligns and integrates efforts to suppress transmission to stop the pandemic and save lives with sustainable solutions to cope with the impact.
Mr. Jawed Ali Khan, Habitat Programme Manager, UN Habitat explaining the salient features stated that the programme focuses on the following major components:
- Awareness and Advocacy: creation of Virtual Community Coordination Platforms (VCCP) to effectively engage the community;
- Access to Preventive Measures and WASH facilities: Adoption of preventative measures to control spread of COVID 19 and ensure environmentally save collection and disposal of solid, liquid and hazardous waste;
- Provision of income generation opportunities and capacity building: Creation of income generation opportunities for the local communities through skill development and engaging them in the project activities;
- Rapid assessment of key challenges and issues of urban slums: Virtual Community Coordination Platforms (VCCP) will be used for detailed baseline assessment to identify vulnerabilities, challenges, existing capacity and community concerns for developing a full-scale follow-up programme.
On the basis of the lessons learnt from the pilot, the PCUSRP will be launched on full scale in collaboration with federal and provincial governments and other stakeholders. UN Habitat will seek cooperation from the interested federal and provincial governments, UN Agencies and donors to join hands in implementing the PCUSRP at the country level.