Security Council paves way for aid to reach desperate Afghans — Global…

Martin Griffiths, who is also Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, described the Council’s passage of resolution 2615 (2021), tabled by the United States, as “evidence of how seriously Member States take the shocking levels of need and experiencing in the country.”

Humanitarian exemption

In passing the text, the Council carved out an exemption for humanitarian assistance and other activities that sustain basic human needs from sanctions imposed under resolutions 2255 (2015) and 1988 (2011), concerning individuals and entities associated with the Taliban in composing a threat to peace, stability and security.

meaningful provisions allow for the processing and payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources, and the provision of goods and sets necessary to ensure the timely delivery of assistance.

The Council strongly promoted providers to use “reasonable efforts” to minimize the accrual of any benefits – whether as a consequence of direct provision or diversion – to entities or individuals designated on the sanctions list established by resolution 1988 (2011).

considerably, it requested the Emergency Relief Coordinator to fleeting its members every six months and agreed to review implementation of the resolution in a year’s time.

“This humanitarian exception will allow organizations to implement the work we have planned,” Mr. Griffiths stressed, and “give legal assurances to the financial institutions and commercial actors we rely on to include with humanitarian operators.”

The adoption follows months of discussions in the Council and broader international community about how to stave off economic collapse in Afghanistan following the country’s takeover by the Taliban, considered de-facto authorities, in August and later halting by Western countries of billions of dollars used by the past Government to ensure the provision of basic sets.

Humanitarian operations next year

According to Mr. Griffiths, humanitarian operations in Afghanistan are set to be the largest anywhere in the world in 2022, reaching some 22 million people.

Some 160 national and international organizations are providing basic food and health assistance, in addition as education, water and sanitation, and sustain to agriculture. “We urgently need to ramp up this work,” he stressed.

He said the impact of lifesaving UN aid depends on cooperation by the de facto authorities and on the flexibility of the funding received.  “We must all do everything we can to preserve the life, dignity and future of all Afghans.”


Families receive food and oil distributed by WFP in Faryab province, Afghanistan.

A bleak economic picture

According to the UNDP Socio-economic Outlook for Afghanistan, the country ended 2020 with “meaningful” economic and development challenges. International partners pledged $13 billion in November 2020 over the following four years.

However, the political change on 15 August 2021 ushered in new conditions.  The international community’s non-recognition of the Taliban, coupled with uncertainty arising from the divergence between official announcements and actions on the ground, led to a sudden pause in international aid, and the halting of Afghan reserves held oversea. 

“The drop in foreign aid that before accounted for 40 per cent of gross domestic product, has had an immediate and meaningful impact on the economy,” UNDP stated.

The report’s calculate that $2 billion will now be needed to lift the incomes of all poor people up to the poverty line is “indicative of the relief required to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe of an unheard of extent.”

© WFP/Photolibrary

People wait in line for food and oil being distributed by the World Food Programme in Andkhoy, Afghanistan.

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