Research Terms of Reference: Afghanistan Assessment of Priority Areas of Return and Reintegration (PARR3) 2022 AFG2202 (January 2022, Version 1)


2. Rationale

2.1 Background

Afghanistan is currently facing a major humanitarian and displacement crisis in the aftermath of over 40 years of conflict and integration of a new de-facto government. Afghanistan faces an incredibly dynamic humanitarian crisis in 2022, as divulged in the 2022 Humanitarian Needs and Planned Response, an estimated 24.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these populations, 9.2 million are displaced including 700,000 within the last year alone. Furthermore, the country faces a record number of returns, including 1.04 Million from Iran and Pakistan during 2021. The displacement crisis throughout many areas of Afghanistan has created challenges for many communities where refugee-returnees and host communities are sharing facilities with other displaced populations such as various IDPs. There are numerous challenges for many displaced populations including lost livelihoods, access to viable economic opportunities, destroyed shelters and assets, and a lack of key services available for long-term solutions. The increasingly dire economic situation has made situations for displaced communities even worse, as cash shortages have led to both a collapse of market activity and overall livelihoods opportunities, and a decline in public services. In addition, the declining economic situation has led to a similar rise in crime and other protection issues, which have raised concerns about longer-term peacebuilding and protection concerns at the local level. While the majority of the humanitarian sector has focused their efforts towards the emergency response, very little funding or attention has been dedicated to longer term, early recovery or development programmes, making the surge in funding likely unstainable in the longer term.

Since 2017, UNHCR has been supporting sustainable reintegration and durable solutions through its Community-based Protection and Solutions Programme Response (Co-PROSPER) programme in Priority Areas of Return and Reintegration (PARR). The PARR is a key component of UNHCR’s work by improving key services and infrastructure facilities in areas where Afghan refugees (refugee returnees) are returning to through an area-based, multi-sectoral, and multi-stakeholder nexus (humanitarian-development-peace) approach that support creating the conducive conditions for long-term, sustainable reintegration and durable solutions. Following the expansion of the PARR to its previous 40 locations, UNHCR’s efforts target 1,346,907 persons of concern, including 698,797 Host Community, 508,388 Refugee returnees, and 72,000 Refugees, across nine different sectors of intervention, including livelihoods, education, health, WASH, Shelter, Energy, Infrastructure, Special assistance, and Community development.

In November 2021, UNHCR expanded the PARR caseload from its present 40 locations to 51 Districts (and 5 Municipalities which will not be assessed in these evaluations.) UNHCR’s current efforts target 5,995,122 persons of concern, including 3,223,624 refugee returnees, and 2,011,398 protracted IDPs, 479,740 recent IDPs (within 2021), 78,720 IDP-returnees, and 201,640 climate-induced IDPs. This does not include the 13,146,552 Host Community in the sites of interest, many of whom share similar needs. Before implementation, understanding of the baseline vulnerabilities, stakeholders, and the community needs in these locations, is the key in outlining the response interventions in the short, mid, and long-term, and also to guide the interventions through inclusive partnerships, and to track the degree of reintegration of populations of concern through provision of required data on the conditions of households and the community as a whole. This understanding will be established through the implementation of a baseline study using household (HH) surveys. In addition and through utilising secondary data, an infrastructure mapping component/assessment as part of this assessment, will provide much-needed programmatic information on how best to engage with the communities and strengthen the local capacities of different services. REACH has already conducted an evaluation of the Co-PROSPER Programme in the original 20 PARR locations, and has recently conducted a baseline for the new 20 locations, as well as conducted similar baselines in other countries.