Review of Opportunities and Challenges for Strengthening Humanitarian and Development Linkages for Nutrition with Examples from Myanmar, Niger and Afghanistan - Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Case Study

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This country case study and its accompanying recommendations include inputs from members of the Nutrition Cluster (NC), members of the Afghanistan Food Security and Nutrition Agenda (AFSeN-A) multi-stakeholder platform, representatives from the civil society and United Nations (UN) agencies and secondary data and information sources. The lists of key documents and persons interviewed can be found in the annex and reference sections.

This study has been commissioned by the Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC) and the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN) Secretariat to capture experiences from crisis affected States and to suggest options to strengthen the Humanitarian-Development Nexus (HDN) for greater nutrition outcomes. The objective of the study is to identify practical opportunities and solutions. The analysis is therefore not exhaustive but purposive. Only relevant aspects of the contexts are presented. A particular emphasis is given to the factors impeding and enabling collaboration and commitment for nutrition.

This country case study is part of a series of three country case studies, comprising of Afghanistan, Myanmar and Niger. The study was conducted between July and September 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the case studies had to be conducted remotely, limiting the representativity of the contributors, due to language and technical limitations.

To reflect the complexity of the Afghan context, the UN has developed a triple-nexus model. The model encompasses short-, medium- and long-term humanitarian, development and peace-sensitive actions. The triple-nexus approach links three key plans: the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), the One UN Plan and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan’s (UNAMA) peace mandate. For this study, only the humanitarian and development dimensions were studied.

For this study, the HDN is understood as the central point where humanitarian and development actions converge around the need to prevent, prepare and address crises – particularly for the most vulnerable and at-risk populations – balancing short-term responses with longer-term solutions, allowing humanitarian and development interventions to be more genuinely complementary and mutually reinforcing.

The study found great progress had been made towards a multisectoral approach to nutrition with the adoption in 2017 of AFSeN-A and its strategic plan: the integration of nutrition treatment in the BPHS, acknowledging its development dimension, and the well-developed and functioning coordination mechanisms offering space for the actors to exchange and collaborate.

The resources allocated to nutrition remain limited and the coverage of all nutrition interventions – nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive – is insufficient. The AFSeN-A implementation will gain from involving more actors – especially humanitarian and local civil society organizations – technically and operationally, as well as reinforcing planning and accountability to strengthen advocacy and resource mobilisation.