NewsAddressing humanitarian and basic human needs with UN pooled funds in Afghanistan
STFA and AHF - Ramiz Alakbarov, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, talks about the nexus experience in Afghanistan, highlighting the work of the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund and the Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan—pooled funds articulated under his leadership.
The transcription has been edited for purposes of clarity.
"Thank you for inviting me to discussions on how the humanitarian, peace and development nexus is implemented in Afghanistan, and the difference pooled funds at the country level are making to achieve this objective.
In the context of Afghanistan, we have an Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund and the Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan as the two pooled fund mechanisms working in complementarity. As of early next year, the STFA also is moving under the umbrella of the UN Resident Coordinator. The two funds are part of the integrated One UN Strategic Funding Framework for Afghanistan.
The idea is to make sure that when we address the humanitarian needs, and then we call for allocations on the humanitarian side through the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund, we immediately collect information and organize the necessary call for appeals on the side of basic human needs.
That's how we address in the sanctioned environment, development aspects of our work in Afghanistan. Through application of this approach, a considerable effort is being made to identify what are the specific needs, which are of humanitarian nature, and what are more specific needs of a longer term, durable solutions, and the livelihoods-oriented support, which needs to be implemented and started almost at the same time or in parallel with the humanitarian response.
Therefore, having a 'nexus window’ in the STFA is an important element we are putting in place now to make sure that, starting in 2023, when we do these allocations we follow up with the specific programs on the ground.
This is very much in line with the Transitional Engagement Framework for Afghanistan, which brings together planning on the humanitarian side and the Humanitarian Response Plan, and planning on the basic human needs side because many of the issues we address, such as sustaining health services, sustaining access to water, making sure that medical services are provided all over the country… humanitarian needs have been addressed.
Adding to that, investments in livelihoods, creating agri-food systems, income is being generated for ordinary Afghans and the people have a chance to organize small and medium enterprises, going to the market and linking activity to a broader scope of livelihood recovery. Sustaining their existence is very important. This approach on agri-food systems on area-based-development by supporting ordinary Afghans is mitigating increase in number of people in need.
Humanitarian aid itself is very much appreciated. It addresses the immediate needs of people in food, shelter…., but does not address the underlying causes of that vulnerability. In case of Afghanistan, this vulnerability is climate change-related. Most of the problems we are facing are because of drought, which has been here for several consecutive years. It's not going anywhere. It's going to stay with us and we need to adapt. So, adaptation solutions are also part of the nexus approach we are implementing.
I would like to thank all the generous contributors who are supporting both pooled funds at the country level in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund is the largest pooled fund we are using in the field and it has benefited from decades of donor generosity and support.
The Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan is a new add to the family and is now entering its second year, and complements humanitarian fund efforts.
All contributions are very much appreciated. Thank you for staying with us and making us live the nexus in Afghanistan, helping the people that live in Afghanistan at this particularly difficult time."
The UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office thanks the generous contributions of partners to both pooled funds.