ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will benefit from funds worth 6.5 billion euros recently announced by the EU for countries and organisations in Asia and the Pacific for the period 2014-2020.
Funding for EU-Asia cooperation comes from the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) which is part of the overall EU budget, according to the EU delegation in Islamabad.
The new funds will address key priorities such as social protection, better health and education, job creation and better integration of partner countries into regional and world markets.
In addition to Pakistan, the other countries who are eligible for bilateral development programmes include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
As most countries in the Asian region are facing challenges due to uneven regional development and increasing income inequality, EU funding for national and regional programmes in Asia for the time period from 2014 to 2020 increased by 20 per cent compared to the financing period of 2007-2013 to the tune of 5.1bn euros.
While Asian economies have shown remarkable recent growth, poverty is still widespread on the continent, with 800 million people in the Asia and Pacific region still living in extreme poverty on less than $1.25 a day, according to the Asian Development Bank.
In 2013 an EU-financed sector budget support programme was launched to support community led initiatives in Swat.