New UN Development Programme emergency initiative to support Afghan people in need

October 21, 2021

Launch of UNDP's ABADEI Programme in Afghanistan with cleaning of Enjil Canal in Herat. Photo: UNDP / Farhad Zalmai / 2021

Geneva, 21 OctoberThe United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today launched a new crisis response initiative embedded as part of the overall UN system’s response that will contribute to preventing a humanitarian catastrophe and the breakdown of the country’s economy by supporting the most vulnerable populations and the collapsing micro businesses in Afghanistan.

The programme - called ‘ABADEI,’ which denotes communities being resilient and inspires hope for a better future in several local languages, will see UNDP, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations providing community level solutions which complement the urgent humanitarian interventions.

“The country needs immediate humanitarian assistance, but we also need to keep the local economies going – this is fundamental to ensure that people still have livelihoods and feel that they have a future in their communities,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner at a press conference in Geneva.

The initiative will channel funding into community activities, including:

  • Providing grants to support small and micro businesses, especially those owned by women;
  • Cash-for-work projects offering short-term income to the unemployed, to restore local small infrastructure;
  • Support to people with disabilities, the elderly, and the most vulnerable, through temporary basic income;
  • Assistance to strengthening natural disaster mitigation and resilience, for example through rehabilitation of canals and flood protection to protect farmland.

All assistance provided will be delivered to beneficiaries directly, based on impartial assessments carried out in conjunction with local community leaders, and independently of authorities.

UNDP released an economic rapid appraisal in September which projected that up to 97 percent of the population may be at risk of sinking below the poverty line next year, unless a response to the country’s political and economic crises is urgently launched.

 “ABADEI is a concrete contribution to the efforts of the United Nations to protect the hard-won development gains achieved over the past 20 years and prevent further deterioration of Afghanistan’s fragile local economy,” added Achim Steiner.

ABADEI activities will be funded from contributions to UNDP, as well as through the newly created “Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan,” a UN inter-agency and multi-partner funding mechanism to enable UNDP, UN agencies and non-government organizations to coordinate their support for community level initiatives.

Germany has decided to support the UN Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan and is providing 50 Mio. EUR earmarked for the first window of the Area Based Programme in order to ensure that the Afghan people’s humanitarian needs are met, especially concerning health and food security.

“We thank Germany to be the first Government to contribute to the Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan that will address the essential needs of the Afghan people and call on other donors to join us in these vital efforts to save lives. With this support, we can protect a generation’s worth of investment in the people of Afghanistan,” concluded Achim Steiner.  

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