Afghanistan

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, Closing remarks at the launch of the 2022 Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan, Geneva, 11 January 2022

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Thank you Dominique, thank you Filippo, and thank you all for your statements today, which are very encouraging.

They are very encouraging for a number of reasons, because I think what we are hearing here today and in the discussions nationally and internationally on the needs and the situation, and frankly, on the opportunities that are available in Afghanistan, there is a high degree of consensus, and that’s helpful.

And I want to restate some points here at the end, that we have heard particularly from Filippo but also from others in the room.

The first remark I’d make is on the appeal for the two plans which is in front of us. It’s a large appeal. The largest ever. Over US$.5 billion. Take note that in 2021, Afghanistan was the bestfunded humanitarian response plan and that appeal – launched in September – was funded at 130 per cent. We are confident that Member States’ solidarity and generosity will come through in 2022 as it did in 2021.

But we don’t underestimate the cost. What we want to assure those present is exactly the point that Filippo was making: this plan is feasible. The capacity to deliver on it by agencies – some very eloquently here today – are ready and willing and actually already engaged in the issues and the activities contained in these plans. They are prioritized. They are possible. They are doable.

They are necessary.

As Filippo has said and as Lisa also said, humanitarian space has improved. That does not mean to say that there should not be more improvements. That’s very true. We monitor very carefully with our partners in Afghanistan, for example the promises that were made for the UN in September by the Taliban to do with humanitarian space, and in particular to do with essential right of women to operate within the humanitarian space, without which delivery will of course be severely impeded. We monitor it carefully and there has been continued progress in these months with more to come, we hope.

I want to emphasize the first point: this is a feasible plan and a necessary plan.
The second point, I think has been made by many people, which is, of course, the issue of coherence. Lisa made a very clear reference to our liquidity as an essential priority for the operation of national partners, national NGOs and also of society more generally as well as humanitarian operations.

We are very conscious – as I think many people in this meeting know – of the need to address liquidity, the need for the banking system to function. Not just for the benefit of the economy of Afghanistan but for the benefit and foundation of the humanitarian operation which is now under our review and which is now the urgent priority. Without economic measures and without liquidity, delivery won’t happen.

So we are very well aware of the need – or what people here have called the nexus – and it is beyond the nexus frankly, if there are specific issues to do with currency availability, to do with foreign exchange, to do with liquidity, to do with restoring the banking system, very particular to Afghanistan because of what happened by the end of August, understandably was, of course, a suspension of normal operations.

A lot of work has been done in many capitals on this. And we are very pleased in the UN to be part of that process and I need to reassure people here about the coherence that exists. We will be, under the leadership of the Resident Humanitarian Coordinator of UNAMA in Afghanistan, launching later this week the Transitional Engagement Framework, which has been referred to, which indeed has been produced while these two plans were being produced, tied together, a focus on basic needs life-saving assistance, on regional support. We do this as a whole, even if we distinguish between different aspects of the need.

So we want all those here to understand that while we are very grateful and keen to have support for this appeal, we’re also very conscious that, as many people said, it is essential, but it is not sufficient and more neds to be done.

And in that regard, finally, I want, as Filippo has said, to confirm that we will be planning together a pledging conference, probably in the middle of March, to take another look at these plans, to confirm pledges, to identify progress made and adaptations if needed, and we will soon be together putting out some ideas on that process.

And thank you very much indeed for this opportunity.

Thank you.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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