Secretary-General's latest report
The UN Secretary-General's quarterly report to the Security Council released on September 2013 provides an update of UNAMA's activities since 13 June 2013, listed below. For a full copy of the report, click here.
V. Development and humanitarian assistance
41. The legal authorization of nearly 1.6 million Afghan refugees to remain in Pakistan was due to expire on 30 June. On 28 June, following an extraordinary consultation meeting in Kabul between the Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan and the United Nations, the Government of Pakistan extended the proof of registration cards for refugees and the Tripartite Agreement on Voluntary Repatriation until 31 December 2015. That allows more time to create conducive conditions — through the Regional Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees — for the sustainable reintegration of Afghan refugee returnees, key to enhancing voluntary repatriation and reducing the potential for secondary displacement or return to the host country. At the meeting, the Government of Pakistan presented its new national policy on Afghan refugees, based on the approach of the Solutions Strategy. In implementing the agreed pillars — voluntary repatriation, sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan and support for refugee-hosting communities — the new policy stresses the need for political and diplomatic strategies, promotion of technical education and livelihood skills, a public information media campaign, and new bodies at federal and provincial level. All of this requires continuous international support. A total of 26,000 refugees voluntarily returned to Afghanistan between 1 January and 30 June from both Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran, a 35 per cent decrease over 2012.
42. Increased ground engagements in Afghanistan have resulted in growing short-term displacements in rural areas, notably in Badakhshan, Faryab and Ghor Provinces, many of which remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors. As at 31 July, 584,000 persons (91,000 families) have been internally displaced owing to conflict in the country, 64,000 of them in 2013.
43. As at 15 August, 3 cases of wild polio virus were reported, compared to 15 in the same period in 2012. All three were in the eastern region with deteriorating accessibility and continuing virus circulation in the bordering districts of Pakistan. The southern region, which had never previously succeeded in interrupting virus transmission, has not reported any cases since November 2012. The number of children missed by the vaccination campaign owing to inaccessibility in the south has been reduced by almost 30 per cent, with an increasing acceptance among all parties of the value of polio vaccination. A statement purportedly by Mullah Mohammad Omar published on the official Taliban website to mark the occasion of Eid al-Fitr allowed organizations working impartially in the health, refugee or food distribution sectors in areas under Taliban control to carry out “selfless activities” subject to compliance with conditions.
44. The mine action sector, supported by the United Nations, cleared 306 minefields in 137 communities in the reporting period. On 3 July, the Governor of Badakhshan and the United Nations hosted an event where 10 districts were declared completely free of mines and explosive remnants of war. It is estimated that 4,730 minefields affecting 1,655 communities across 33 provinces remain. The first six months’ work on a 10-year plan to clear all hazards by March 2023 has proceeded on target. Estimated to cost $618 million, by the end of July $66 million had been committed.
45. On 3 August, the first of a number of flash floods hit the centre and south-east of the country. As at 15 August, it was estimated that 65 persons had been killed and 53 injured, while others remained missing. Overall, 759 families were affected, 550 of them in Kabul Province. Meanwhile, drought conditions in Ghor and Daikundi Provinces are expected to result in the failure of much of the harvest. A United Nations assessment in July recommended the provision of food aid, seeds and fodder. Initial estimates foresee that, from the month of October, up to 135,000 persons may require support.