Canberra – Australia’s peak body for aid NGOs – the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) – has welcomed the Australian Government’s decision to boost its funding for Afghanistan today by an additional $40 million (AUD).
At the United Nations Pledging Event on Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan, the Australian Government announced new humanitarian funds, bringing its total commitment to $140 million for the period 2021-2024.
ACFID’s Director for Policy and Advocacy, Jessica Mackenzie, said:
“This is very welcome news and helps meet the target of $100 million per annum that the aid and development sector has been asking for. We urge the Government to disperse this funding as quickly as possible.
“We ask that they continue to commit this volume in future years and remain transparent on the outcomes being delivered to the Afghan people.”
Australia’s Special Representative to the United Nations Daniel Sloper relayed the Government’s announcement overnight (Australian time) at the UN Pledging Conference on Afghanistan, which was held virtually.
He said Afghanistan is one of the world’s most severe and protracted humanitarian emergencies, where drought coincides with the collapse of the government and government services.
“The level of human and institutional need is unprecedented. We are gravely concerned about the outlook for women and girls in Afghanistan, whose situation continues to deteriorate,” he said.
There are 12 Australian NGOs and humanitarian agencies working with Afghan aid workers and organisations, generously supported by donations from the Australian public. AFCID urges the Government to provide some of the humanitarian funding through these organisations.
ACFID’s Humanitarian Advisor Natasha Chabbra said: “The government has said the money will go towards meeting urgent needs, particularly in food security and other basic requirements such as shelter and livelihoods.
“We welcome their recognition of the plight of women. Australia’s words showed their solidarity with the women and girls of Afghanistan. What we would now like to see is immediate funding of programs that directly help women.
“Since the Taliban takeover women and girls have seen their rights and autonomy be stripped away. By funding programs on sexual health, gender-based violence and protection, Australia will prove its commitment to them.”
ACFID also welcomes the Government’s announcement of an additional 16,500 humanitarian places for Afghans over the next four years.
However, Ms Mackenzie said:
“Those in Afghanistan who are at risk cannot wait four years. The government should make their resettlement an urgent priority.”
Details on ACFID members’ humanitarian appeals can be found here: https://acfid.asn.au/content/consolidated-appeal-launch-afghanistan
For more information or to arrange interviews, contact 0401 721 064 or [email protected].