Norway increases support for UN efforts targeting civilians in Afghanistan

‘We must do our part to maintain basic services for civilians and enable people in Afghanistan to support themselves. That is why Norway is now contributing NOK 200 million to a new UN fund for Afghanistan,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

There is a high risk of economic collapse and an even deeper humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. According to UN estimates, more than half the population will be facing acute hunger this winter. And almost the entire population, some 97 %, could fall below the poverty line next year. 

‘I am deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan. We must continue to provide support to civilians in the country. We are therefore now maintaining our development assistance to Afghanistan through the UN and other non-state actors. The new Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan will bridge the gap between humanitarian action and long-term development efforts,’ Ms Huitfeldt said. 

All aid to the Afghan authorities has been stopped. This additional support provided by Norway will go towards maintaining basic services for civilians and will be channelled through the Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan, which is administered by UN Development Programme (UNDP). 

‘It is vital to prevent the complex political situation from leading to a collapse in the provision of basic services, for example healthcare and education. If we are to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe this winter, there is no time to lose,’ Ms Huitfeldt said.

Norway also provides substantial humanitarian support to Afghanistan. This year, Norway has allocated NOK 275 million in humanitarian assistance, and this is now being increased by a further NOK 50 million. This contribution will support partners who are on the ground, with access to the most vulnerable. Due to the situation for women and girls, the support will go to amongst others the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and their work to provide assistance and protection to women, including reproductive health and the work against sexual and gender-based violence.

In total in 2021, Norway will be providing NOK 325 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.  

‘We are also increasing our support to organisations that are promoting women’s rights and participation in Afghan society, for example women’s organisations working at grassroots level to prevent conflict and protect human rights,’ Ms Huitfeldt said.

In addition, Norway is maintaining its support for Norwegian and international organisations operating in Afghanistan that it has cooperated with for a long time.