The Islamic Republic of Iran is host to one of the largest urban refugee populations in the world and has provided asylum to millions of Afghans for over four decades. Afghans constitute the second-largest refugee population in the world and the largest in protracted displacement.
UNHCR’s Iran operation is guided by the “Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees” (SSAR). This strategy, developed by the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, with the support of UNHCR, and endorsed by the international community in 2012, provides the primary regional framework for cross-border engagement and lawful stay arrangements for Afghan refugees in the two major hosting countries. The SSAR emphasizes enhancing the resilience of Afghan refugees and their co-existence with host communities and advocating for greater and more equitable responsibility-sharing by the international community – in line with the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). As such, it provides a blueprint for governments, international organizations, and other stakeholders to ensure that host communities get the support they need and that refugees can lead productive lives.
A Quadripartite Steering Committee (QSC), consisting of the three Governments of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan and UNHCR, was formed in 2012 to guide the implementation of the Strategy at the regional level. The last meeting of the Committee was held in October 2020.
In addition, national steering committees, composed of representatives of line ministries and UNHCR, have been established in all three countries to support the implementation of the SSAR and the related Pillars at the national level. The national committees review and endorse project proposals consistent with the goals and objectives of the SSAR and report to the regional QSC.
On 16 December 2019 during the Global Refugee Forum (GRF), Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan came together with UNHCR to launch a Support Platform for the SSAR, a mechanism that brings together supportive States and other engaged actors to refocus attention on the Afghan Refugee Situation, including by mobilizing additional financial support.
The SSAR Support Platform seeks to achieve more equitable and predictable burden and responsibility-sharing with host countries and communities, and to support the search for solutions, including, where appropriate, through assistance to countries of origin.
Since the launch of the Platform, several actors, including the Asian Development Bank, Denmark, European Union, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Qatar, Switzerland, Turkey, United Nations Development Programme and World Bank, became members of the Core Group of the Support Platform to ensure sustained support for the SSAR. In addition to their concrete commitments in the areas of financial, material, and technical assistance, Core Group members are requested to ensure their sustained and continuing engagement with the SSAR and the Support Platform in the medium- to long-term.
Download the “SSAR Support Platform document – A Partnership for Solidarity and Resilience”