United Nations Strategic Framework for Afghanistan
02 July 2023
The past several years have been extremely challenging for the people of Afghanistan. Already suffering from decades of conflict and instability, Afghanistan’s human rights, governance, humanitarian, and development situations deteriorated sharply after the Taliban takeover in August 2021. This transition impacted not only the political and security situations but also had particularly severe implications for human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment. The country’s economy contracted by about 30 per cent between 2020 and 2022. With 24.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and more than 9 in 10 living in poverty, the country is in the midst of a crisis on an unprecedented scale.
The United Nations and its partners recognize that humanitarian aid alone will not be enough to sustainably address the large-scale and increasing human suffering of the Afghan people in the medium and long term. As such, humanitarian efforts should be complemented and reinforced with interventions addressing basic human needs that aim to reduce the humanitarian caseload over time and support Afghans, particularly women, girls, and other vulnerable groups, to a) build resilience to shocks, b) sustain livelihoods, c) protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, d) strengthen social cohesion and build social capital, and e) preserve hard-won development gains achieved over the past two decades, including with regard to service delivery. This approach is also important for the identification and achievement of durable solutions to displacement caused by conflict, climate change, and sudden onset natural disasters.
In close consultations with our Member States, partners, and stakeholders, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) has identified three complementary and mutually reinforcing joint priorities as it supports the basic human needs of the Afghan people.
Priority 1: Sustained Essential Services
Priority 2: Economic Opportunities and Resilient Livelihoods
Priority 3: Social Cohesion, Inclusion, Gender Equality, Human Rights, and Rule of Law
With the Humanitarian Country Team, the UNCT has also agreed on two collective outcomes: to 1) reduce food insecurity and 2) reduce maternal and child mortality rates. Partners across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus have agreed to work together toward these outcomes.
The United Nations Strategic Framework for Afghanistan articulates the UN’s approach to addressing basic human needs in Afghanistan. Anchored in the principle of leaving no one behind, the UN Strategic Framework prioritizes the needs and rights of those most vulnerable and marginalized, including women and girls, children and youth, internally displaced persons, returnees, refugees, ethnic and religious minorities, geographically isolated communities, sexual and gender minorities, the Kuchi community, persons with disabilities, human rights defenders, people who use drugs, and people living with and affected by HIV.
This Strategic Framework is an offer of assistance to the people of Afghanistan. Whether the UN can implement this framework depends in part on external factors, most notably on actions by the de facto authorities and on donor support. The UN expects to be deeply engaged in maintaining and expanding the access and operational space necessary for implementation.