Fighting poverty and helping the country on its path towards inclusive and sustainable growth are the aims of EU support to Pakistan. The EU considers that such goals will only be achieved by increasing political stability, improving the rule of law, bringing about human and social development, creating productive and decent work opportunities and diversifying the economy.

Pakistan has a population of 150 million and the highest population growth rate in South Asia. The country has made slow progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially those for infant mortality, child malnutrition, and primary school enrolment. Its social sectors require more resources. It also faces major environmental problems, including serious water shortages due to demographic pressure, deforestation and degradation of rangelands. The economic growth of recent years appears to have had little impact on poverty, affecting over a third of the population. The country is also afflicted by natural disasters. The 2005 earthquake and the floods in 2010 and 2011 caused widespread destruction throughout the country.

The EU’s support to Pakistan aims to fight poverty and put the country on a path of sustainable growth. This will succeed only if growth is founded on political stability, social cohesion, the creation of productive and decent work opportunities, human and social development, the rule of law, and diversification of economic activity.

EU-Pakistan cooperation 2007-13

There are two priority areas for EU-Pakistan country cooperation strategy (2007-13):

  • Rural development and natural resources management – with a particular emphasis on halting environmental degradation and water conservation. The aim is to improve livelihoods, income generation and employment in rural communities;
  • Education and human resources development – the aim being to increase access to basic education and to improve vocational training to prepare a growing number of youths for the job market.

EU funding to address the priorities amounts to €213 million for the 2011-2013 period. A €200 million funding sum was allocated from 2007 to 2010.

EU thematic programmes and Asia-wide programmes also provide support to Pakistan, e.g. in the areas of human rights, civil society and the environment. EU support is also developing EU-Pakistan trade.

EU programmes in Pakistan are aligned, as far as possible, to the strategies set out by the Pakistani government.


Key country statistics

  • Total population (2015): 188 925 000
  • Life expectancy (at birth) (2015): 65 years (male), 67 years (female)
  • Human Development Index - Low human development (2014): 0.538
  • Population living below $1.90 a day (2010): 8.3%
  • Income share held by lowest 40% of income distribution (2010): 22.8%
  • Lower middle income country - Gross National Income per capita (2014): 858 US$ (constant 2005 US$)
  • Average Gross Domestic Product growth over 5 years (2011-2015): 3.9%

Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015

Good Governance and Human Rights

  • 280 brick kiln families received legal aid services to support freeing workers from their bonded labour status
  • 120 brick kiln workers were mobilised to increase awareness for the rights and social protection of brick kiln workers
  • Employment and Social Protection
  • 300 brick kiln workers received social security cards
  • 600 female brick kiln workers participated in vocational skills training
  • 75 brick kiln workers benefitted from vocational training sessions on occupational health and safety and on innovative methods and tools for producing quality bricks

Public Finance Management

  • The provincial policy for community-driven local development has been drafted and formally launched; 500 million Pakistani rupees (PKR) were allocated from the provincial resources of the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province for community led-initiatives


  • 700 brick kiln children benefitted from access to non-formal education services
  • 140 brick kiln children enrolled in formal education schools after completing non-formal education schooling


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