KABUL: The United Nations in Afghanistan has revealed a new strategic framework for 2023 to 2025 aimed at providing support to millions of Afghan people with emphasis on the rights and necessities of the most vulnerable groups including women and girls, children and youth, internally displaced persons, returnees, refugees, and ethnic and religious minorities.
Roza Otunbayeva, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, stated that the Strategic Framework serves as a comprehensive offer of assistance to the people of Afghanistan, focusing on their basic human needs while complementing the ongoing delivery of lifesaving humanitarian aid. The development of the UN Strategic Framework involved close consultations with Member States, partners, and stakeholders.
The United Nations Country Team and its partners have identified three interconnected and mutually reinforcing priorities to support the basic human needs of the Afghan population. Firstly, there is an emphasis on sustaining essential services in key sectors such as health, nutrition, education, employment, water, sanitation, hygiene, social protection, and non-discriminatory protection. These services aim to be accessible to all, affordable, and devoid of any forms of discrimination.
Secondly, the framework highlights the importance of creating economic opportunities and resilient livelihoods. It aims to foster an enabling environment that facilitates economic growth and provides decent work opportunities, with a particular focus on marginalized groups, including women.
Thirdly, the framework underscores the significance of social cohesion, inclusion, gender equality, human rights, and the rule of law as prerequisites for sustainable development and peace in Afghanistan. It aims to strengthen civil society engagement and advocate for aligning Afghanistan’s normative and legal frameworks with international human rights instruments.
Daniel Endres, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim, acknowledged that humanitarian aid alone would not be sufficient to address the extensive and escalating human suffering of the Afghan people in the medium and long term. Therefore, the UN Strategic Framework acknowledges the need for a broader approach.
The framework specifically addresses the increasingly restrictive environment faced by all Afghans, particularly women and girls. It recognizes the ban on Afghan women working for the UN, along with earlier restrictions on women working for NGOs and other diplomatic entities, as well as limitations on girls’ access to secondary and tertiary education and their ability to visit public parks, baths, and gyms. These constraints curtail the physical mobility of women and girls and hinder their participation in economic, social, and public life.
The successful implementation of this framework will depend on the actions taken by the de facto authorities and the support received from donors, according to Daniel Endres. The UN Strategic Framework places special focus on the delivery of principled assistance in response to these challenging circumstances, with the aim of addressing the needs of all Afghans, particularly women and girls, who face significant obstacles to their well-being and empowerment.