Humanitarian donors urged to step up again for Afghanistan

  • Afghanistan is trapped in a humanitarian crisis with 23 million people facing acute food insecurity. We need to act now to stop the situation from getting worse
  • Humanitarian agencies have scaled up assistance and are ready to expand, stressing the central role of women in delivering aid
  • Hosted by the United Nations and the Governments of the United Kingdom, Germany and Qatar, donors are meeting today to pledge essential humanitarian funding
  • The pledging conference is live streamed here from 1500 CET / 0900 ET. Link to download the video file of pre-conference press briefing is here and photos from Afghanistan are freely available here

(Geneva, 31 March 2022): Last year, international donors showed remarkable generosity for Afghans in need. With US$1.8 billion disbursed, aid groups were able to reach 20 million people with life-saving food, clean water, healthcare, protection, shelter, education and winter supplies as Afghanistan went through profound turmoil and international isolation.

Today, donors convene to keep the funds flowing and growing again this year. The UN-coordinated relief operation – the largest but not the only one in Afghanistan – asks for $4.4 billion, three times the amount requested in 2021.

Fund-raising has so far secured only 13 per cent of the requirements of the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan. At today’s pledging conference, hosted by the United Nations, the United Kingdom, Germany and Qatar, pledges of support are urgently needed to ramp up deliveries. Fund-raising will continue for the remainder of the year.

Years of conflict have caused prolonged suffering in Afghanistan. Now the country faces economic collapse and its worst drought in 30 years, creating unprecedented levels of need. Aid organizations warn that while emergency response is necessary, it is not enough to meet the totality of needs in Afghanistan. The economy, basic institutions of the state and essential service delivery must be preserved to stave off worsening food insecurity and a breakdown in the social fabric.

More than 24 million people – or 60 per cent of the population – need humanitarian assistance to survive. Needs are 30 per cent higher than last year and acute hunger is a daily reality for half the population. Basic health, education and other services are severely strained, livelihoods have been crushed and households are spending 80 per cent of their meagre income on food.

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said: “We have the power to stop the downward humanitarian spiral in Afghanistan and it is our moral duty to use this power by pledging generous, flexible and unconditional funding today. That is how humanitarians can scale up operations now and save lives.”

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “The UK is rallying countries in support of the Afghan people and helping lead the way in providing life-sustaining food, shelter and medical supplies. Together with allies and partners, we can do more and will do more to help Afghanistan.”

H.E. Mr. Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said: “The key factor for improving humanitarian situations is the achievement of sustainable peace. Accordingly, The State of Qatar has made extensive and successful efforts over the past years to support reaching this desired goal. With the continuing deterioration of the humanitarian situation, the economic collapse, and the increase in the number of people in need of humanitarian aid to survive in Afghanistan, it is our collective responsibility to maintain the commitment and to provide the necessary humanitarian support and funding.”

In the first eight weeks of 2022,  humanitarian partners reached 12.7 million people with life-saving assistance, prioritizing women, girls and minority groups.

Deliveries have included nutritious food for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children, pregnant and breastfeeding women; nutritious meals for school-children; getting seeds and tools into the hands of farmers; training unemployed workers in basic skills; supporting protection for vulnerable groups; ensuring clean water supply in communities; and supporting trauma treatment and reproductive healthcare.

By pledging generously, the world can send a strong signal of solidarity to the people of Afghanistan, who have already been through far too much. 

At today’s high-level event, H.E. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, will deliver opening remarks. He will be joined by H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Deputy Prime Minister of Qatar; H.E. Rt. Hon Elizabeth Truss, Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom; Annalena Baerbock, Federal Foreign Minister of Germany; and Martin Griffiths, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. Member States and partners will also take the floor for interventions.