UN relief chief stresses need to stay and deliver for all Afghans |
UN Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Griffiths, who briefed the ambassadors, reported on the continuing difficulties and uncertainty facing Afghans, nearly half of whom – 24 million people – need help to survive.
#Afghanistan is more than a humanitarian crisis. But this is not a hopeless crisis.
Maintaining the provision of basic services alongside humanitarian aid remains the only way to avert an even greater catastrophe than the one we experienced last year.
My remarks :
— Martin Griffiths (@UNReliefChief) August 29, 2022
“The Afghan crisis is a humanitarian crisis, but it’s not just that. It is an economic crisis. It’s a climate crisis. It’s a hunger crisis. It’s a financial crisis. But it’s not a hopeless crisis,” he said.
A critical situation
Although conflict, poverty, climatic shocks and food insecurity have long been a “sad reality” for Afghanistan, Mr. Griffiths explained why the current situation is so critical.
First, large-scale development assistance was halted for a year in a country that was already facing severe levels of food insecurity and malnutrition, which only worsened.
Humanitarians also face an “exceptionally difficult” operating environment, he added, facto authorities are ‘labour-intensive’.
Liquidity crisis, reversal of rights
Also there are no confidence in the national banking sector which triggered a liquidity crisis, which affected the delivery of aid. A humanitarian swap facility to partially alleviate the liquidity crisis is still being negotiated with Taliban leaders.
Meanwhile women and girls “have been sidelinedadded Mr. Griffiths. Rights gains have been reversed and the teenage girls have been out of school for a year.
“In the 21st century, we shouldn’t need to explain why girls’ education and women’s empowerment matter to them, to their communities, to their countries, and indeed to all of us,” he said.
The UN relief chief stressed that preserving basic service delivery alongside humanitarian aid “remains the only way to avert an even greater catastrophe than we have experienced in these many months”.
He reported that poverty continues to worsenthe population continues to grow and de facto the authorities have no budget to invest in their own future, making it clear that “some development aid needs to be restarted”.
A $4.4 billion humanitarian response plan for Afghanistan currently has a shortfall of $3.14 billion, he said.
As winter approaches, more than $600 million is urgently needed to support priority preparedness activities, such as shelter upgrades and repairs, and the provision of warm clothing and blankets.
Additionally, $154 million is needed to pre-position supplies, including food and livelihood assistance, before winter conditions cut off access to parts of the country.
Prosperity and Security
“The Afghan people are still there. They have shown incredible resilience over the decades and over the past year. Our job is to help them prosper, thrive and be safe,said Mr Griffiths, who also called for action by the de facto authorities.
“Interference and bureaucratic procedures slow down humanitarian aid when it is most needed. Women aid workers – national and international – must be allowed to work unhindered and safe. And girls must be allowed to continue their education.
Markus Potzel, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, reported on the UN’s continued engagement with the de facto authorities, as well as efforts to promote inclusive governance, rights and freedoms.
He said the Taliban have been “ambiguous” about the extent to which they want to engage, based on adherence to their interpretation of Sharia.
Mr. Potzel stressed the vital need to go “beyond an exchange of hardened positions” towards a sustained dialogue between the Taliban, other Afghan stakeholders, the region at large and the international community.
“Such dialogue must put the interests of all Afghans at its center,” he advised. “The future stability of Afghanistan hinges on meeting the needs of the Afghan people, preserving their rights and accommodating the country’s diversity in all governance structures.