Humanitarian Response Plan Afghanistan (2018 - 2021)
25 June 2020
Response Plan Overview
The mid-2020 update to the Afghanistan multi-year Humanitarian Response Plan 2018-2021 requests US$1.1 billion and aims to reach 11.1 million people who are acutely affected by the humanitarian consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s four decadeslong conflict, as well as natural disasters and other vulnerabilities.
The complexity of needs and response in this environment cannot be underestimated with every one of the cross-cutting problems identified in the 2020 Global Humanitarian Overview 1 currently affecting the people of Afghanistan.
The revised response strategy reflects the wider scope of humanitarian action for Afghanistan that was adopted in September 2019 to include vulnerable people with ongoing needs for support, such as protracted IDPs, and people with specific needs such as women who are heading households, people with disabilities and those experiencing mental health issues. The Plan also provides some support for people who require resilience and recovery assistance to prevent them from slipping into more serious humanitarian need. Several sectors have included a range of resilience and recovery activities which, while more expensive in the short-term, will create savings and reduced suffering for beneficiaries in the long-term.
The need to respond to the multi-faceted impacts brought on by the pandemic has also spurred on accelerated planning between humanitarian and development actors, resulting in agreement on the number of people in need of an emergency social safety net. Organisations including the World Bank, the Asia Development Bank, UNDP, UNICEF and ILO, as well as OCHA and the Food Security and Agriculture Cluster worked together to develop this concept which establishes common planning parameters and visualises need in an innovative way to ensure that no one is left behind. These 35 million people (93 per cent of the population) are living below the international poverty line of $2 per day. About one-third of this group (11.1 million people) will be assisted by humanitarian organisations but the rest remain outside of the scope of the HRP and are in urgent need of a broader response through development assistance. This underlines the reality that humanitarian action is just the first part of a more comprehensive package of measures needed from the Government and development organisations. If these development needs are not met in a timely manner, people risk falling into humanitarian need, threatening hard-fought development gains and requiring a more expensive humanitarian response.
Cross-cutting response priorities for 2020 include continued action on prioritised recommendations from the 2019 Peer-2-Peer mission; an expansion of in-country cash capacity and improved decision-making on the use of cash; expanded thematic preparedness planning; a focus on Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP), including through expanded Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE); improved monitoring of response coverage; and better analysis of the gender, disability and mental health dimensions of the response.
This mid-year revision has also included the reinsertion of a refugee chapter at the recommendation of UNHCR. While progress had been made since the 2018 decision to transition coordination of the response for the 72,000 refugees in Khost and Paktika to the Government, the need for aid agencies to provide ongoing support and assistance has led to its re-insertion in the HRP. Refugee response activities are incorporated into each cluster’s plans but the refugee chapter consolidates these plans allowing for better overall visibility of refugee needs and responses. The mid-year revision has also provided an opportunity for clusters to revisit activity costing, with general maintenance of the existing cost-perbeneficiary ($102 for mid-2020 compared to $103 originally planned for the year) despite an arguably more challenging response environment. While specific activity costs for the majority of clusters have reduced or maintained, activity costs for the Protection Cluster have increased significantly. This is mainly due to a revised methodology which corrects severe under-estimations in previous approaches.
Given the dynamic nature of the context, projected figures for people in need and planned reach in 2021, at 9 million and 6.6 million people respectively, have not been updated during this revision. Forecasts for 2021 will be revisited later in the year when more information is known. It is expected these will be substantially higher than originally forecast.