Transitional Assistance Programme for Afghanistan 2003

Originally published

Humanitarian Context
Contrasted with the situation in Afghanistan less than a year ago, the humanitarian situation has improved immeasurably. Over 1.7 million refugees and 400,000 internally displaced have returned to their communities of origin in 2002, attesting to their belief in a future climate of stability and economic opportunity. Reconstruction activities are underway in many rural communities and cities throughout the country. However, immense challenges remain. Despite a good harvest in 2002, the effects of years of conflict, drought, isolation and impoverishment still affect millions of Afghans. Some 2.2 million Afghans are highly vulnerable to the expected effects of the harsh winter weather and are receiving emergency food aid and support for shelter and warmth to combat the cold. After 23 years of conflict, social service infrastructure is fragile at best. Basic health facilities and schools have been destroyed. Child and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world. Literacy rates, for men and women, boys and girls, are among the world’s lowest. Yet throughout recent years, massive social mobilisation has brought Afghanistan close to polio eradication, while at least three million children returned to school in 2002, emphasising the huge demand for learning by Afghans in all walks of life. Finally, Afghanistan remains one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. Capacity for mine action increased markedly in 2002 but enormous efforts and investment in this sector will be required for years to come.

United Nations and Government partnership

For the first time in many years, an internationally recognised and United Nations (UN)-supported government leads Afghanistan. To demonstrate the commitment of the UN and its partners to support national recovery and reconstruction priorities, the Transitional Assistance Programme for Afghanistan (TAPA) for 2003 is presented as a joint initiative, drawn up by both the Transitional Government of Afghanistan and the UN. In the preparation of this appeal, the international community and the Government have worked together to forge a blueprint that not only reflects the priorities outlined in the new National Development Budget but also, in this period of transition, seeks to respond to the underlying causes of humanitarian needs still prevailing in many parts of the country.

Strategic Goals

The vision guiding TAPA is composed of four main objectives:

  • To increase UN/Government programme cooperation, both at national and sub-national levels, to respond to the immediate needs of the most vulnerable populations while simultaneously responding to national recovery and reconstruction priorities;

  • To increase the emphasis on the particular needs of women and girls in health care, education and employment. Support to their active role in the workforce and in decision-making processes that affect their lives at community and national levels will have a multiplier effect on the reconstruction of Afghanistan;

  • To assist in building the capacity of counterpart entities so that Afghan central, provincial and district administrations and community organisations can increasingly manage humanitarian response and national reconstruction initiatives;

  • To attain the highest standards of accountability, efficiency and effectiveness of the UN assistance community and its partners.

Priorities of the Transitional Assistance Programme

The TAPA aims to build on progress achieved in 2002 and address the many challenges that still confront the most vulnerable in Afghanistan. Given the long-term effects of the structural problems the country has faced for many years, some 4.1 million Afghans are expected to need emergency food aid in 2003 - a substantial reduction from the 2002 caseload. To enhance food security, large-scale labour-intensive work programmes will continue to be supported by the UN and other partners as a means of injecting much-needed cash into local economies. Targeted food aid will also help create work for impoverished Afghans. The aim is to encourage children - especially girls - to return to and stay in school, and to assist many widows and their families to make ends meet.

Afghanistan remains a predominantly agrarian society, thus restoration of agricultural opportunities, recuperation of agriculture, seed stocks, irrigation systems and pasture lands, pest control, environmental protection and recuperation of livestock are significant elements of the 2003 programme, supported by off-farm income-generating initiatives. Special initiatives will address the particular needs of nomadic pastoralist Kuchi populations, whose way of life has been disrupted or destroyed by years of conflict and drought. In 2002, poppy cultivation has increased markedly in the country, thus the UN is participating in a multi-partner, long-term strategy to combat production, provide alternative livelihoods, reduce demand and strengthen law enforcement networks as part of a national counter-narcotics strategy. In parallel, TAPA will address the survival, shelter and livelihood needs of Afghanistan’s growing urban population, supporting urgently-needed sites and services development as well as longer-term urban planning. Throughout the country, the UN and its partners will be supporting skills-training and work programmes for former combatants, as part of a massive national Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration programme.

In the sphere of social infrastucture, the 2003 TAPA will support the reconstruction of shattered basic health services and address the nutritional conditions and diseases that contribute to very high rates of mortality and morbidity among the population. It will also continue to support expanded learning opportunities for millions of additional students throughout the country.

In the case of returnees, a further 1.2 million refugees and 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are expected to return home in 2003. The Transitional Appeal addresses the needs of returning populations on their homeward journey and assists them to re-establish their lives in their home communities. The TAPA prioritises integrated UN action in communities of return, to help assure sustainable livelihoods, essential community services, potable water supply and sanitation, and to address problems of debt and asset depletion. Continued assistance is foreseen for those refugees and internally displaced unable to return home in 2003.

A common thread running through all TAPA activities is support for regeneration of public administration at national and sub-national levels, with extensive capacity-building and skills-training activities foreseen. UN agencies will continue to second technical capacity to counterpart departments and provincial authorities, and to support institution-building in a wide range of fields, from disaster management to culture, and from security sector reform to the building of a new judicial system.

A new mine action strategy aims to clear high impact areas contaminated with mines and unexploded ordnance (UXOs) within five years and low impact areas within ten years. TAPA seeks support to assure that mine action capacity will allow the programme to address high numbers of mine/UXO victims, return much-needed land to productive use, allow returning refugees and IDPs to resettle more quickly, provide mine clearance resources for reconstruction projects, and educate adults and children about the dangers of mines and UXOs.

Because of the commitment to collaborative programme preparation with the Government, and in order to ensure the production of a quality framework that reflects joint UN/Government priorities, the UN system in Afghanistan is not able at the time of the Global Launch of the 2003 Consolidated Appeals to specify the financial resources required to undertake the foreseen activities in 2003. At the time of the Global Launch, the TAPA will still be in the process of being finalised in Kabul. While its principal elements and an explanation of the planning process can be presented on 19 November, the completed TAPA will be formally launched in association with the Afghanistan Support Group meeting in Oslo on 17-18 December.

For further information, please contact:

Director, Field Coordination, Ms. Margareta Wahlstrom
Tel: +93 70 282 165; Fax: +92 51 2214 379

Note: The full text of this appeal is available on-line in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format and may also be downloaded in zipped MS Word format.

Please visit the Afghanistan TAPA 2003 page here

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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