WFP Afghanistan Country Brief, January 2017

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 31 Jan 2017

Highlights

  • The resource outlook for WFP Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 200447 is critical. As 2017 begins, WFP has confirmed USD 7.2 million for 2017 under the PRRO, a small portion of the total USD 62.7 million required for the first six months of 2017 to continue its planned activities, including food and nutrition assistance in the country.

  • The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) air service will run from January to December 2017 by transporting humanitarian workers and small cargo and medical/security evacuations in the country. The total budget of the special operation is USD 17 million. In January 2017, due to lack of funding UNHAS struggled to provide air services to humanitarian workers. Unless new contributions are received in the coming weeks, WFP will need to shut down the operation in February.

Operational Updates

  • Humanitarian assistance: After pilots in several cities in late 2016, at the end of January, WFP started cash distributions to vulnerable returnees, displaced people and members of the host community in Nangarhar province. The distribution was conducted in close coordination with the Department of Refugees and Repatriation (DoRR) in Jalalabad. This kicks off WFP Afghanistan’s capacity to deliver cash transfers at-scale, and marks the first time WFP has provided cash transfers to Afghan returnees from Pakistan. In February 2017, WFP Afghanistan plans to provide 70,000 people with cash via Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). The objective of the cash distribution is to empower households and increase their purchasing power to meet their immediate food needs.

  • Beneficiary Management System “SCOPE”: WFP is now in discussions with the Government of Afghanistan to roll out SCOPE to support government ministries, so they can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of social safety nets. In Afghanistan, WFP is currently implementing SCOPE for its emergency operation for the migration crisis and plans to scale-up the use of the system to support all WFP operations in the country. As part of this effort, WFP will partner with other humanitarian actors, including NGOs, to harmonize and improve the coherence and efficiency of humanitarian programming.

  • Winter Pre-positioning: For the 2016/17 winter season, WFP has delivered 3,972 mt (75 percent) of the planned 5,297 mt of food to pre-position for 152,227 people in high elevation areas where access becomes difficult during winter, to ensure the food supply for vulnerable households in remote mountainous communities. However, due to insecurity (ongoing conflict), the food delivery has been suspended to some of the targeted districts.

Challenges

  • Access remains one of the main constraints faced by WFP to maintain existing humanitarian corridors to operational areas. This is as a result of the prevailing and fluid security situation within the country. During winter, access is also hampered by inclement weather affecting movement through both portions of the main communication arteries e.g. Salang Pass and remote areas. During this period of the year, clashes between Afghan national Security Forces (ANSF) and Non-State Armed Groups’ (NSAG) are prevalent in the southern and eastern regions where the climate does not have a significant impact on movement. This results in insecurity along the main supply route (highway) connecting Kabul-Kandahar-Herat. To minimize the impact on the movement of WFP commodities and assets along this route, WFP Access Team has been working hard to identify alternative operational modalities to minimize risks affecting the delivery of food to final destinations.

Impact of Limited Funding

  • If funding is not predictable and timely this year, WFP may have to suspend parts of the programme or reduce its presence in some regions. In 2016, as a result of limited funding and a lack of food in the pipeline in early months of the year, WFP prioritized nutrition activities, reduced ration sizes and further targeted the most vulnerable beneficiaries (this included a reduction of up to 50% reduction in natural disaster and conflict-affected caseloads for two months, and a suspension in non-lifesaving activities such as vocational skills training for a period). While these mitigation measures were for a limited period of time to better manage available resources, these sporadic interruptions in WFP’s interventions threaten to reduce the overall impact of WFP assistance in Afghanistan.