Governments Must Urgently Make Funding Available to Help the People of Afghanistan Tackle Food Insecurity and the Climate Crisis.

Yesterday's pledging conference fell just under $2 billion short of the original $4.4 billion target. Despite collective efforts so far, the failure to sufficiently fund vital humanitarian relief is catastrophic for the people of Afghanistan, and means there is as yet very little light at the end of the tunnel. Political instability, economic collapse, drought, climate change and COVID-19 have created unprecedented human needs for 24 million people inside the country: 80 percent of the population are facing debt and millions of Afghans facing the prospect of starvation. 95 per cent of the population are not eating enough food. That percentage rises to almost 100 per cent for families headed by women. 

These catastrophic figures underscore the depth of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the urgent need for increased, high quality humanitarian aid. The huge upsurge in food insecurity in Afghanistan over the last six months is largely due, of course, to the economic crisis that ensued following the takeover by the Taliban in August of last year and the subsequent economic sanctions placed on the country - a situation which unfolded against the backdrop of the worst drought Afghanistan had experienced in years. The collapse of the banking system, non-payment of salaries, and rising unemployment have left millions in urgent need of life-saving cash and food assistance to feed their families. The situation cannot be addressed without immediate action to stabilise Afghanistan’s financial system and wider economy. Coordinated efforts to support a functioning central bank, allowing financial institutions to restart their activities and salaries to be paid, will be crucial. Also vital is the release of all frozen assets to give the Afghan economy a chance to recover. 

However, to make a lasting difference to food security outcomes, support to Afghanistan must also take the form of longer-term engagement with the underlying drivers of poverty and food insecurity. Specifically, Afghanaid’s decades of experience working hand in hand with Afghan farmers have proved the imperative to take action against the effects of climate change, changing weather patterns and the depletion of natural resources, which undermine rural communities’ livelihoods and abilities to cope.

You can read our full statement here.