The UN revised their humanitarian financing needs for Afghanistan upwards by US$129 million this week to meet increased humanitarian needs associated with slow onset drought. This follows however, a US$282 million downwards revision of appeal requirements in June this year.
Afghanistan has been a major humanitarian aid recipient for the last decade, but its relationship with humanitarian aid has been complex, controversial and often unpredictable.
Humanitarian aid to Afghanistan increased dramatically in the year following the US-led invasion before falling sharply again the next year. Development aid continued to grow steadily throughout the decade, while humanitarian aid remained at relatively low levels until a major escalation in humanitarian needs in 2008 put humanitarian needs in Afghanistan back on the international agenda.
Afghanistan has participated very sporadically in the UN Consolidated Appeals process. Afghanistan has only participated in the UN consolidated appeal process (CAP) just three times between 2000 and 2010 and only began to prepare a humanitarian work-plan from 2009, with the establishment of a UN OCHA office in Kabul.
There have however been five ‘non-CAP appeals’ in this period. Non-CAP appeals are by definition lower priority and typically receive a poorer donor response. The use of non-CAP appeals is illustrative of the low priority given to humanitarian needs in the post invasion period when many of the major donors prioritised state-building and stabilisation agendas.
The donor financing response to these various UN funding appeals has been extremely variable.
While the analysis and articulation of the scale and severity of humanitarian needs and humanitarian financing in Afghanistan has improved latterly with reinforced humanitarian leadership in Kabul, this latest statement of increased financing requirements happens at a time of unpredictability in donor financing responses. We commented elsewhere on the disappointing donor response to the UN CAP appeal up to the mid-year point, and noted recently the very disappointing response to the Pakistan flash appeal to date. In this climate of uncertainty, it is apposite that the revised Afghanistan appeal calls for an increased emphasis in responses on ‘more sustainable, longer term, disaster risk reduction interventions, by government and development partners over the next years.’
We will monitor donor responses to the Afghanistan appeal through this blog. You can access the data referred to in this blog here and we plan to update our report on resource flows to Afghanistan early next year.