Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR)

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 Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, with the support of UNHCR, and endorsed by the international community in 2012, continues to provide 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 remains to date as a regional 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 Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan and UNHCR, was formed in 2012 to guide the implementation of the SSAR at the regional level. The last meeting of the Committee was held in December 2022, hosted by the Government of Iran. 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 became members of the Core Group of the Support Platform to ensure sustained support for the SSAR. To date, the Core Group members are:

The Core Group and its members are requested to galvanize more predictable and sustained financial, political and technical support for the SSAR, with emphasis on additional contributions, as well as raise awareness and visibility of the Afghan refugee situation. With the changing circumstances in Afghanistan in July and August 2021, the Core Group has emerged as agile and action-oriented coordination platform, close to the realities on the ground, to provide support at the political, financial, and technical levels in an evolving Afghanistan context, as part of more international equitable burden and responsibility-sharing in the medium- to long-term.

The Core Group holds meetings at the headquarters level (called ‘Global Core Group’). It has also composed local Core Groups in each of the main SSAR countries – Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan (called ‘local Core Groups’).

Read more:

Statement by the Core Group of the Support Platform of the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) ahead of the United Nations High-level Pledging Event on Supporting the Humanitarian Response for Afghanistan (31 March 2022)

Afghanistan: Statement by the Chair of the SSAR Core Group on continuing support for increased displacement needs in Afghanistan and for neighbouring countries hosting refugees (1 October 2021)

More about SSAR here.