UN / AFGHANISTAN PLEDGING CONFERENCE

31-Mar-2022 00:04:00
A total of $2.4 billion were promised today at the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan, co-hosted by the United Nations and the Governments of Germany, Qatar and the United Kingdom. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / AFGHANISTAN PLEDGING CONFERENCE
TRT: 4:00
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 31 MARCH 2022, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UN headquarters exterior

17 MARCH 2022, NEW YORK CITY

2. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
"Some 95 percent of people do not have enough to eat. Nine million people are at risk of famine. UNICEF estimates that a million severely malnourished children are on the verge of death, without immediate action. And global food prices are skyrocketing, as a result of the war in Ukraine. This spells catastrophe for both Afghans struggling to feed their families, and for our aid operations. Without immediate action, we face a starvation and malnutrition crisis in Afghanistan. People are already selling their children and their body parts, in order to feed their families."
3. Wide shot, UN flag
4. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
"Humanitarian needs have tripled since last June. Yes, tripled. And they are growing, day by day and month by month. Excellencies, the international community must find ways to spare the Afghan people from the impact of the decision to halt development support to Afghanistan, and to freeze nearly $9 billion in Afghan assets overseas. It must make cash available, so the Afghan economy can breathe, and the Afghan people can eat."
5. Wide shot, UN flag
6. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
"I deeply regret that girls’ education above sixth grade remains suspended – a violation of the equal rights of girls that damages the entire country and leaves girls more exposed to violence, poverty and exploitation. There is simply no justification for such discrimination. Educated girls become educated women who lift their families and communities into a better future. The inclusion of women and girls in all sectors of society and the economy is essential to overcoming Afghanistan’s intersecting economic, humanitarian and human rights crises. I call on those with influence to use it to pressure the de facto authorities to fulfil their promise to reopen schools for all students, without discrimination or further delay."
7. Wide shot, UN flag
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
"One five-month-old baby was so weak she couldn't cry. Shes imply stared up at me, glazed expression. As she opened and closed her mouth silently. Next to her, her mother cried, silently. I met another woman who was trying her best to keep her three months old baby alive. She told us that she'd already lost two of her children to starvation. Hospital staff told me that three babies had already died, the day we visited, in that ward of about 20."
9. Wide shot, UN flag
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
"Many humanitarian donors rightly point out the need for the de facto Taliban authorities to play their part. Many are especially frustrated by the recent decision to restrict access to education for girls, and I completely share this frustration, as we all do. Yet, and I will say this plainly as plainly as possible. Please don't make the people of Afghanistan suffer twice. They desperately need help. please don't reduce assistance because of this wretched statement that we heard last week."
11. Wide shot, UN flag
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, United States:
"The United States is announcing today nearly $204 million in new humanitarian assistance funding for the UN and our non-governmental partners to deploy in Afghanistan and in support of Afghans in the region. This humanitarian aid, like all aid from the United States, will go directly to NGOs and the United Nations. The Taliban will not control our humanitarian funding."
13. Wide shot, UN headquarters

STORYLINE:

A total of $2.4 billion were promised today at the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan, co-hosted by the United Nations and the Governments of Germany, Qatar and the United Kingdom.

The UN-coordinated relief operation – the largest but not the only one in Afghanistan – is asking for $4.4 billion, three times the amount requested in 2021. Fund-raising will continue for the remainder of the year.

Opening the conference, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, noted that some 95 percent of people in the country do not have enough to eat. Nine million people are at risk of famine and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates that a million severely malnourished children are on the verge of death, without immediate action.

"This spells catastrophe for both Afghans struggling to feed their families, and for our aid operations", Guterres said. "Without immediate action, we face a starvation and malnutrition crisis in Afghanistan. People are already selling their children and their body parts, in order to feed their families."

According to the UN chief, humanitarian needs have tripled since last June and are growing, day by day and month by month.

Guterres urged the international community to "find ways to spare the Afghan people from the impact of the decision to halt development support to Afghanistan, and to freeze nearly $9 billion in Afghan assets overseas."

"It must make cash available, so the Afghan economy can breathe, and the Afghan people can eat," the UN chief said.

Guterres also condemned that girls’ education above sixth grade remains suspended, calling it "a violation of the equal rights of girls that damages the entire country and leaves girls more exposed to violence, poverty and exploitation."

"There is simply no justification for such discrimination", he argued. "Educated girls become educated women who lift their families and communities into a better future."

Just returned from a trip to the country earlier in the week, UN humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, recalled some of the scenes of desperation he witnessed.

"One five-month-old baby was so weak she couldn't cry. Shes imply stared up at me, glazed expression. As she opened and closed her mouth silently. Next to her, her mother cried, silently. I met another woman who was trying her best to keep her three months old baby alive. She told us that she'd already lost two of her children to starvation. Hospital staff told me that three babies had already died, the day we visited, in that ward of about 20," he recalled.

Also addressing the issue with the education of girls, Griffiths said, "Please don't make the people of Afghanistan suffer twice. They desperately need help. please don't reduce assistance because of this wretched statement that we heard last week."

Announcing nearly $204 million in new humanitarian assistance funding for the UN and non-governmental partners, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, stressed that "this humanitarian aid, like all aid from the United States, will go directly to NGOs and the United Nations."

"The Taliban will not control our humanitarian funding", she assured.

Last year, international donors disbursed $1.8 billion, allowing aid groups to reach 20 million people with life-saving food, clean water, healthcare, protection, shelter, education and winter supplies as Afghanistan went through profound turmoil and international isolation.

Fund-raising has so far secured only 13 per cent of the requirements of the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan.

Years of conflict have caused prolonged suffering in Afghanistan. Now the country faces economic collapse and its worst drought in 30 years, creating unprecedented levels of need. Aid organizations warn that while emergency response is necessary, it is not enough to meet the totality of needs in Afghanistan. The economy, basic institutions of the state and essential service delivery must be preserved to stave off worsening food insecurity and a breakdown in the social fabric.

More than 24 million people – or 60 per cent of the population - need humanitarian assistance to survive. Needs are 30 per cent higher than last year and acute hunger is a daily reality for half the population. Basic health, education and other services are severely strained, livelihoods have been crushed and households are spending 80 per cent of their meagre income on food.

In the first eight weeks of 2022, humanitarian partners reached 12.7 million people with life-saving assistance, prioritizing women, girls and minority groups.

Deliveries have included nutritious food for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children, pregnant and breastfeeding women; nutritious meals for school-children; getting seeds and tools into the hands of farmers; training unemployed workers in basic skills; supporting protection for vulnerable groups; ensuring clean water supply in communities; and supporting trauma treatment and reproductive healthcare.
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