The Islamic Republic of Pakistan began receiving refugees in 1979 following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which led to a mass refugee exodus. Since that time, Afghan refugees have been welcomed and have settled throughout the country. There are more than 1.4 million Afghan refugees registered in the Government’s Afghan National Registration (ANR) database whose custodian is the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). UNHCR has also registered approximately 13,000 Afghan and nonAfghan refugees and asylum seekers under its mandate. The majority of Afghan refugees reside in urban areas (68%) and just over a third in 54 refugee villages (32%).
UNHCR and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (GoP) supports refugees, with a focus on protection, solutions and fostering self-reliance to meet their basic needs, including refugees’ access to existing public services. Voluntary repatriation remains the preferred solution for Afghan refugees. Since 2002, despite a fragile security situation in many parts of the country and a range of socio-economic and political challenges, more than 4.3 million Afghan refugees have voluntarily repatriated to Afghanistan and received a cash grant to meet their immediate humanitarian needs as well as other services. UNHCR Pakistan supports refugee and host communities through the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA) program. More than 4,260 RAHA projects in 47 districts have been implemented over the last 10 years in the education, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health and livelihood sectors and provided services and fostered peaceful co-existence. GoP with UNHCR support, has provided documentation and registration to over 1.4 million Afghan refugees; and has applied a community-based protection approach for the provision of individual and community support and the promotion of more resilient communities. UNHCR’s Information Management support serves the UNHCR operation, GoP counterparts and partners with the collection, analysis, presentation and use of data necessary for the design and delivery of evidencebased protection and solutions interventions.
Information Management (IM) in UNHCR’s work, refers to the capture, handling, storage, analysis, visualization, geo-references and dissemination of data, pertaining specifically to UNHCR’s operations and its persons of concern. This includes demographic and statistical information, information on protection and sector-specific concerns related to needs, delivery and impact across a spectrum of issues, including health, education, nutrition, water/sanitation, core relief items, shelter, community-based responses, and registration, tracking and responding to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), as well as the coordination and management of sites, camps and refugee villages.
Information Management is inherent in the roles and responsibilities of every UNHCR staff member and improvements in this area have a direct impact on the quality and efficiency of the response to UNHCR’s persons of concern (POCs). The improvement of information management data related to POCs, strengthens UNHCR responses to be more predictable, targeted and transparent and accountable to the communities served. The sharing of information is essential to highlight the needs of UNHCR’s persons of concern and to support advocacy and resource mobilisation.