Pending a lasting solution to the Afghanistan crisis, Pakistan and Iran, as the two countries which have generously hosted the overwhelming majority of Afghans for decades, need continuing support. Equally, investment and development remain critically needed within Afghanistan to bolster infrastructure and support communities to make safe and voluntary repatriation sustainable and lasting.
The Support Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees
In 2012, the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, with the support of UNHCR, developed the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees to Support Voluntary Repatriation, Sustainable Reintegration and Assistance to Host Countries (SSAR).
The Strategy has served as an enabling multilateral platform for consensus-building, strengthening existing partnerships and engaging new actors. More than 60 government agencies, humanitarian and development actors, UN agencies and NGOs, have been engaged in its implementation to date. The synergies created through this multi-stakeholder approach help to ensure complementarity of responses, avoid duplication of efforts and maximize outputs.
The SSAR is owned and driven by the three Governments in the region. Partnership and collaboration between the Governments, including through the SSAR Quadripartite Steering Committee, are central to advancing regional solutions dialogue and coordination of all aspects of the SSAR.
The Strategy is aligned with the national priorities and policies of the three Governments and seeks to mobilize resources and political support for their implementation. It acknowledges that refugee protection and solutions are a collective responsibility of the international community and require a commitment to address root causes of displacement and more equitable responsibility-sharing with host countries, particularly in support of their inclusive policies and resilience-building measures (i.e. access to education, healthcare, vocational training, employment, and income generation schemes) that benefit both refugees and host communities through investments in national and local systems.
This is a holistic, cross-border and solutions-oriented approach that helps to support host communities, empower refugees and returnees by building their capacity for self-reliance, and allows for a more strategic use of donor resources. Enhanced cost-effectiveness is particularly crucial in the current context of growing needs and competing refugee situations globally. A dedicated SSAR Joint Resource Mobilization Strategy and the well-established country-level Friends of Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (FOSSAR) networks provide important platforms for outreach, consultations and advocacy with traditional and non-traditional donors and partners, coupled with arrangements to enhance operational coordination.