Afghan Solutions Strategy
Solutions Strategy for Afghan refugees
Some 2.6 million Afghan refugees live in more than 70 countries around the world. An overwhelming majority, around 95 per cent, are hosted by just two countries - the Islamic Republics of Iran and Pakistan . Since 2002, over 5.8 million Afghans have returned home. More than 80 per cent of the returns were assisted by UNHCR in the largest voluntary repatriation programme ever facilitated by the Office. However, recent years have seen a reduction in voluntary return.
In the search for lasting solutions, a quadripartite consultative process was initiated in 2011, involving the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan and UNHCR. This led to the International Conference on the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees to Support Voluntary Repatriation, Sustainable Reintegration and Assistance to Host Countries (SSAR), which was co-hosted by UNHCR and the government of Switzerland in May 2012. The conference endorsed both the solutions strategy and the establishment of follow-up mechanisms for implementation through the adoption of a joint communiqué.
Designed as a regional multi-year initiative, the SSAR aims to help facilitate voluntary return and sustainable reintegration, while at the same time providing assistance to host countries. As part of it, Governments, along with more than 50 humanitarian and development partners, developed three country-specific portfolios of projects in 2014. Designed around education, health, and livelihoods, the portfolios offer an integrated framework for multilateral cooperation.
In 2015, the high level segment during UNHCR's 66th Executive Committee meeting was dedicated to the Afghan refugee situation, in a bid to reinvigorate global attention and strengthen coordinated action to promote durable solutions for Afghan refugees through protection, assistance and development. The updated SSAR Afghanistan portfolio of projects was also launched.
Additionally, the establishment of the National Unity Government in Afghanistan and the commitment it has shown to the sustainable return and reintegration of Afghan refugees, offers an unprecedented opportunity to the pursue durable solutions for this protracted situation.
Renewed multiyear commitment of the international community is essential to ensure that the progress achieved in Afghanistan so far is not lost.