Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) Afghanistan: Quick Guide to Quick Response

Objectives of the Fund

Afghanistan’s Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), is a Country Based Pooled Fund (CBPF) directed by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, with operational support from OCHA. Established in 2014, the CHF is used to respond to crises triggered by the conflict and natural hazards, such as floods and droughts. The distribution of funds is based on the assessment of needs, within the overall strategy given in the annual Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). Contributions to the CHF have been made by eight donors thus far, including DFID, Sweden, Australia, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and the Republic of Korea. To date, the CHF has received approximately US$161 million for Afghanistan. This multi-donor financing mechanism is used to provide funds quickly to priority needs and fill critical gaps. Allocations include national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as UN agencies and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). To avoid duplication and ensure the complementary use of available CHF funding, other funding sources are taken into account, including the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and bilateral funding. Two of the strengths of the CHF are its flexibility and timeliness. The programmatic focus and funding priorities of CHF are set by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) of Afghanistan and may shift rapidly, especially in the volatile humanitarian context. The CHF is able to adapt to changing priorities and allow partners to address humanitarian needs in the most effective way. Secondly, the CHF has the advantage of timeliness, to allocate funds and save lives as humanitarian needs emerge or escalate during the year. Further, the CHF enables donors with limited field access or presence in country to access a broad range of partners and geographical areas to ensure most pressing humanitarian needs are addressed first, wherever they arise.

The CHF is a strategic funding tool with three key objectives:

  1. to support humanitarian partners to address the most pressing evidence-based needs in accordance with humanitarian principles;

  2. to improve the relevance and coherence of humanitarian response by strategically funding assessed humanitarian action as identified in the HRP process;

  3. to strengthen leadership and coordination through the function of the HC and the cluster system.

OCHA has managed pooled funds such as the CHF since 1995, when the first Emergency Response Fund was established in Angola. Since then, CBPFs have been established in more than 20 countries. OCHA opened an office in Afghanistan in early 2009, providing a coordination framework to support an Emergency Response Fund (ERF) to fund NGOs directly and serve as a timely and flexible source of much needed funding for urgent humanitarian activities. With the government of Afghanistan in agreement that humanitarian funding should fall outside its aid management policy, there was a window of opportunity for establishing the CHF, supported by the Pooled Fund Working Group (PFWG), a global platform with representatives of donor governments, implementing agencies and OCHA. With the introduction of the CHF in Afghanistan, a decision was made by the HC to phase out and close the ERF Afghanistan in mid-2014.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

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