ISLAMABAD: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Friday signed annual work plan with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)-Pakistan. NDMA Chairman, Lt Gen Omar Mehmood Hayat and UNFPA Country Representative Dr Hassan Mohtashmi signed the document. The MoU envisages cooperation between the two organisations for gender mainstreaming, specifically in humanitarian crises to cater for the needs and concerns of vulnerable groups in the entire disaster risk management spectrum. The work plan is part of the multi-year agreement (2018-22) signed between the two organisations in December 2017 to address issues of gender-based violence and protection of women during, pre and post disasters phases. Speaking on the occasion, the NDMA Chairman said that work plan will strengthen capacity building of key government departments to generate evidence for prevention and response to gender-based violence (GBV) during disasters. “Engaging the government machinery will ensure design, implementation and strengthening of systems and policies that are gender transformative” he added. The UNFPA country representative said that the programme will address root causes of gender inequality, women empowerment, girl/ child protection, in particular social norms and practices, which pose structural obstacles and prevent women from making informed decisions on their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Interventions/activities in the work plan are focused on the preparedness, response and resilience in sexual reproductive health and gender-based violence (GBV) including the development of a minimum initial service package (MSIP) tool to pilot the gender component of Pakistan School Safety Framework in schools across Pakistan. The work plan will support research, knowledge management and capacity building in areas of women resilience in disasters; in order to formulate informed interventions and protocols/SOPs to strengthen the multi-sectoral coordination mechanism among public institutions for prevention and response to gender issues in humanitarian and development settings. Published in Daily Times, January 13th 2017.