Afghanistan: Humanitarian Access Severity Overview (April 2022)



In March 2022, OCHA Afghanistan conducted its first bi-annual Access Severity Exercise. The methodology combined quantitative and qualitative aspects - convening focus group discussions with UN agencies, and National and International Non-Governmental Organisations operating in each of the six regions to collect and distill an agreed understanding by the humanitarian community of the access environment in Afghanistan. The findings by the three organisation types for all the regions at the district level are applied to a three-point severity scale of low, moderate, and high access constraints, followed by an average final scoring for each district based on the impact on programs. Data was collected through an approximate 40 focus group discussions covering 401 districts during the month of March 2022.

Prior to the Access Severity Overview, consolidated access reporting across Afghanistan was informed by the classification used in the Hard-to-Reach Districts Product (up until June 2021) and a set of constraints monitored in the Monthly Humanitarian Access Snapshot. In view of the change in context, the overview aims to complement incident-based reporting through a perception-based understanding of access dynamics.

Key Findings (as of March 2022)

Consolidating access severity scores across all humanitarian partner groups -- UN Agencies, International NGOs and National NGOs -- reveals that from the 401 districts across Afghanistan, the level of access constraints were found to be:

  • High in 19 districts (representing 5 per cent of all districts).
  • Moderate in 93 districts (23 per cent).
  • Lower in 289 districts (72 per cent).

Interferences by the de facto Taliban authorities are the most common impediments faced by all humanitarian partners, including for those ranked with lower access constraints. 82 per cent of the districts across Afghanistan face high (32) and medium (297) priority of needs, 26 per cent of which are also perceived to have high (14) and moderate (70) access constraints. Findings in this document thus reveal that while physical access has markedly improved since August 2022 - mainly due to the significant reduction in armed conflict - various access constraints nevertheless persist, with varying impact on humanitarian actors ability to implement programmes and deliver assistance and services. Note that 1) the mere existence of an access impediment according to the criteria - such as the establishment of a checkpoint - does not necessarily slow down or hinder the response; and 2) the perception of quality of access is informed by severity and the magnitude of the potential impact on affected people and humanitarian staff, and not just by frequency (which speaks to the low perception of access constraints compared to the high number of impediments reported).


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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