The activities proposed hereafter are still subject to the adoption of the financing decision ECHO/WWD/BUD/2012/01000
In 2011, the internal armed conflict opposing national and international forces to Armed Opposition Groups has further escalated. The epicentre of the fighting, which used to be in the south and east of the country, has now also spread to most Afghan provinces, particularly to the North. This is the thirty-fourth year of conflict in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is a natural disaster prone country with weak means and mechanisms in place to mitigate risks and respond to emergencies. It is affected on a regular basis by floods, epidemics, earthquakes, landslides, periods of extreme temperature and storm as well as drought. There is an average of over eight significant natural disasters per year. The 2011 drought is likely to have repercussions on food security levels of 2.8 million people if it is not addressed in one way or another.
There is widespread and significant displacement caused by conflict and natural disasters amongst the Afghan population. 5.7 million Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan since 2002, leaving 2.7 million Afghans predominantly in neighbouring Pakistan and Iran. Internally Displaced People (IDPs) figures are on the rise. However, it should not be neglected that these displacements can also be linked to poor economic conditions.
International assistance has been closely linked with political and military objectives and advances. Numerous nations support both the international military effort in providing troops and the reconstruction / stabilisation process in providing funding. A "traditional" humanitarian agenda based on humanitarian principles has been less prominent, despite substantiated evidence of greatly increased humanitarian needs.
The intensification of the conflict and subsequent exposure to greater security risks, the confusion related to the multiplication of actors and a general lack of transparency and accountability, have contributed to erode the humanitarian space and have made Afghanistan one of the most challenging environments in the world for humanitarian actors.
International forces operate under the UN mandated framework of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and there is a UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) mission under the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Afghanistan’s population is estimated at around 26,000,000. It was ranked 155/182 countries in the UNDP Human Development index in 2009. In 2011, UNDP found it impossible to classify Afghanistan due to the conflict. Under-five mortality is 191/1000; maternal mortality is 1.600/100.000 live births, the second highest rate in the world. Severe malnutrition is not considered as an issue in Afghanistan. However, stunting of children is reaching alarming levels.
Afghanistan is in category 3 (most severe) of DG ECHO’s Vulnerability and Crisis Index for 2011.