Humanitarian needs driven by conflict, natural disasters and acute vulnerability, resulting from the cumulative impact of shocks and lack of recovery, continue to affect millions of people in Afghanistan. In 2019, $462.5 million was received from donors towards a well-coordinated response that reached 6 million people with life-saving assistance across the country. Humanitarian partners were able to reach more people than they planned to originally assist at the beginning of the year (4.5m), due to a successful push into hard-to-reach areas and a huge response-wide effort to address lingering needs from the 2018-19 drought. Significant resources received towards the response at the end of 2018 ($111m) could only be spent in 2019, assisting partners to reach additional people in need. Despite security and access challenges, some 147 partners were able to reach people in 395 out of 401 districts across the country (98 per cent) with assistance, in the last quarter of the year.
The 2018-2021 Multi-Year Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) was originally developed with the aim of spurring multi-year funding to mobilise early and timely responses, particularly towards predictable crises. The original strategy applied strict parameters to the scope of ‘urgent and lifesaving’ responses, often focusing only on those facing recent shocks and largely leaving those whose needs extended beyond the ‘first phase’ of an emergency to the Government and development partners. During the first two years of the Multi-Year HRP, four critical themes emerged and have guided a mid-term revision of the strategy – several revisions to the HRP had to be done to account for new disasters that were not foreseen during the initial development of the plan; multi-year planning did not necessarily yield aligned multiyear funding commitments from donors; partners exceeded the number of people they planned to reach within each year of the multi-year HRP and people’s coping capacity was becoming dangerously eroded with each new year of war.
From the 2018-2019 response, many clusters observed that routine response packages were not adequately addressing needs across the country. This was particularly evident for the Food Security and Agriculture Cluster (FSAC), the Emergency Shelter and Non-Food Items Cluster (ES-NFI) and the Nutrition Cluster who saw more people slipping into a state of worsening, acute needs, year after year. In light of this, the Humanitarian Country Team undertook a mid-term stock take of the 2018-2021 Multi-Year HRP and agreed that the current trajectory of needs did not align with forward projections which had originally been framed during less uncertain times at the end of 2017. It was noted that the cumulative impact of decades of war and recurring disasters had driven large-scale asset depletion and diminished coping capacities among those affected. Their ability to withstand conflict and disaster-driven shocks had deteriorated, pushing them into humanitarian need more quickly and for longer.
Based on this analysis, for 2020, the humanitarian community has agreed to apply a revised response strategy which maintains the prioritisation of emergency needs but also extends the scope of the response to include vulnerable people with ongoing needs for support, as well as people who require resilience and recovery assistance to prevent them slipping into more acute humanitarian need.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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