UNDP Announces the Launch of $667 Million funding Initiative to Help Afghans through Economic Crisis

The UN reported on Thursday that Afghanistan’s economy is collapsing, with all but 3% of households set to descend into poverty in the next months. 

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has announced the introduction of a “people’s economy” initiative to deliver much-needed cash to regular Afghans. 

The fund will use donations that have been suspended since the Taliban took power in August. UNDP president Achim Steiner told media in Geneva that Germany has already pledged $58 million of the more than $660 million needed over the next 12 months. 

Mr Steiner noted that UNDP is now in contact with other donors in order to mobilise money. In light of the current economic crisis and the international community’s repeated vow not to desert the Afghan people, discussions over the last several weeks have centred on how to find a mechanism to deploy these resources. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres asked the international community to help amid a “make or break” moment for the country last week. While stating that “humanitarian assistance saves lives,” UN Secretary-General warned that “it will not solve the problem if Afghanistan’s economy collapses.” 

The fund is part of ABADEI, a new programme for the country that stands for community resilience. 

It’s aimed to help prevent a humanitarian disaster and the country’s economy from “totally collapsing” by assisting the most vulnerable populations and collapsing micro-businesses in Afghanistan. 

UNDP, UN agencies, and non-governmental groups will participate in ABADEI which will provide community-level solutions to supplement urgent humanitarian measures. 

Community groups and Afghan employees involved in public works projects such as drought and flood prevention will get cash in local currency. 

Micro-enterprises would be awarded grants, and the vulnerable elderly and crippled will receive a temporary basic income, according to Kanni Wignaraja, Director of UNDP’s Asia Pacific regional bureau. 

This will allow people to stay and work on their farms and in their houses, earning an income while also providing them with “the respect and dignity that they deserve and call for” according to Ms Wignaraja. 

All support will be based on unbiased assessments conducted in collaboration with local community leaders and without the involvement of authorities. 

According to the UN Spokesperson, who briefed journalists on Thursday, a COVID-19 immunisation push for Afghanistan began this week in Kandahar, targeting people in at-risk areas. 

A polio vaccine campaign, coordinated by WHO, UNICEF, and other partners, is set to begin in the region on November 8, along with the distribution of Vitamin A. 

The Afghan Flash Appeal, which aims to raise more than $606 million, is currently 45 % funded. 

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