FATA Development Programme

Programme description

Title: FATA Development Programme
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Pakistan
Lead executing agency: FATA Secretariat
Overall term: 2009 to 2015

Pakistan. Involving the people in decision-making processes is an important step on the road towards democracy and peace in the FATA region. © GIZ


Based on socio-economic indicators, Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) make up one of the country's poorest regions. Changes in the geographical influence of militants, offensives by Pakistan's armed forces and a whole host of other overlapping and often violent conflicts make life difficult for the inhabitants of FATA. While the government has drawn up general development strategies for the region, the individual and institutional conditions necessary for planning and implementing results-based measures according to need are lacking within the state administration. In the absence of democratic and administrative structures at local level, the government appoints tribal representatives known as Maliks as the primary means of liaising with the population. Originally introduced under British colonial rule, they serve as a link between the tribes and the state administration. The last few years have seen them lose much of their backing from the population or fall victim to targeted attacks by militants. As of yet, there have been no moves to involve the population in a broad dialogue on development issues or in transparent decision-making processes.

The marginalisation of large swathes of the population, a dearth of opportunities for participation in decision-making processes, and a lack of access to basic state services and income-generating activities have all engendered a deep sense of government distrust among the population. The associated sense of powerlessness and deep frustration serves as a breeding ground for extremism. The FATA region is very difficult for outsiders to access, with most of the population cut off from the progress being made within Pakistan generally.


The capacities of government actors and civil-society groups for the provision of services, for self-help and for constructive mutual dialogue have improved.


The FATA Development Programme is based on the relevant government strategies (FATA Sustainable Development Plan 2006–2015, Post Crisis Needs Assessment). It pursues an integrated approach intended to enhance the credibility of the government by improving basic social services, while also increasing the transparency of planning processes and allowing the population to assert their right to public services. Engaging societal players in constructive dialogue on development issues and change processes is a central element of the programme. It thus promotes both good governance and sustainable poverty reduction as key themes of international cooperation.

Its many partners and target groups include managers from the FATA Secretariat, school and health care staff, local authorities, elder groups and councils (jirgas), civil-society representatives, the University of Peshawar, and private-sector service providers. The programme consists of three result areas:

  1. Promoting basic education
  2. Strengthening the health system
  3. Improving livelihoods

These activities are supplemented and supported by an independent project reporting (IPR) approach, run in cooperation with the University of Peshawar.

The three result areas and the IPR approach complement one another by operating in the same geographical area and with the same target groups. Together, they contribute to the achievement of the programme's overarching development-policy goals: to strengthen the legitimacy of state structures, increase accountability by state and civil-society actors, improve transparency, promote political participation, foster a constructive relationship between society and the state, and help to reduce poverty.

Additional information