Conclusions, lessons and recommendations

AuthorDirectorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) (European Commission), Landell Mills International
Final Evaluation Report: Part A- Afghanistan Country Programme Evaluation
4. Conclusions, lessons and recommendations
4.1. The evolving context and DG ECHO’s role
Afghanistan is a country in protracted conflict and is likely to remain so in the foreseeable future.
Both the scale and nature of displacement have changed, with the latter becoming more protracted, with
multiple waves of displacement over time. Increased insecurity in parts of the country will require changes
to the way humanitarian and development assistance is delivered. According to the United Nations
Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report for the period April-June 2016, the Afghanistan
government had access to only about 60 per cent of districts, the lowest figure recorded since 2007.116
This has declined further in the past two years.
Afghanistan is as much a development crisis as it is a protection crisis. Though development efforts
immediately after the fall of Taliban made enormous strides in improving village life, increasing access to
health, education and livelihoods, this trend was reversed after 2011, when conflict started to escalate.
Failure of development aid over the past decade to ensure even the basic survival needs of a large
section of population, compounded by protracted conflict, has caused increasing impoverishment, to the
extent that the ‘normal’ borders on emergency threshold. With national poverty rate rising at an annual
rate of 3.5 per cent during 2011-12 to 2016-17, it now stands at 55 per cent,117 not taking into account
those pushed into poverty on account of drought and floods during 2018. It comes as no surprise that 6.3
million people are now in need of humanitarian aid in 2019, of which 3.6 million people are experiencing
emergency levels of food insecurity, a 24 per cent increase on the same period of 2017. The combined
total of internally displaced increased from over 1 million in 2015 to over 3.5 million at the end of 2018.
Most of the displaced people and returnees have moved to the cities, where provision of basic services
is struggling to cope, given the limited capacity of the government, leading to increased vulnerability and
It needs to be recognised that the state building and security agenda that has dominated all aid discourse
and assistance to the GoIRA will continue to rule the roost in development aid, and any genuine emphasis
on pro-poor development strategy has to be predicated on this dominant narrative. DG ECHO has been
perspicacious in appreciating that in the scenario unfolding in the country, its humanitarian actions would
not add up to much, unless a responsive development framework capable of addressing the minimum
basic needs of the ultra-poor and poor are addressed, something beyond the mandate and capacity of
DG ECHO. DG ECHO is working with other humanitarian agencies, donors and development agencies,
including the World Bank, in shaping a collective response to this, in partnership with the Government of
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. DG ECHO has positioned itself as a key interlocutor, with its
credentials as a neutral (non-political), multilateral humanitarian organisation, not influenced by
any government agenda, and a leader in the current discourse on resilience and nexus. As a major
humanitarian donor funding on average about 10 per cent of common humanitarian appeals, DG ECHO
has been a vocal advocate of the need to manage the development and humanitarian interface in the
country better, with a focus on the poor and vulnerable in all development policies.
116 World Bank Afghanistan. Country Partnership Framework For Islamic Republic Of Afghanistan for the period FY 17 to FY 20, 2016
117 An OCHA document (OCHA (undated). Key messages on Afghanistan uses a figure of 80 per cent population living below the
international poverty line of US$1.25.
118 DG ECHO (2018). 2018 Humanitarian Implementation Plan (HIP) Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran And Central Asia, Version 3

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