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Sweden and FAO strengthen their partnership in Afghanistan to link humanitarian response to long-term development and resilience building


Sweden’s International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and FAO are reinforcing their partnership through an innovative long-term development programme to build resilience at community and ecosystems level, boost local rural economies in conjunction with the ongoing humanitarian response, and contribute to building peace in Afghanistan.

“The new Climate Resilient Ecological and Agriculture risks’ Management (CREAM) programme aims to reinforce the humanitarian response while enhancing long-term risk reduction and resilience building based on the conflict-sensitive programming and Humanitarian-Development-Peace (HDP) Nexus approach. It is another step forward in our longstanding and fruitful collaboration with Sweden,” said Rajendra Aryal, FAO Representative in Afghanistan.

“Sweden is committed to stand by Afghanistan in these difficult times of complex humanitarian emergency. But as much as we need to provide urgent humanitarian assistance – as we are currently doing so, we also need to work with a long-term holistic perspective like the nexus approach towards the development of the country. Building resilience is an imperative to achieve economic development and contribute to building peace. FAO has the technical expertise and reach to make it happen,” said Maria Lundberg, Head of Unit for Afghanistan.

Inception phase

Sweden and FAO will initiate this joint programme with a 10-month inception phase. This initial step will analyse vulnerabilities and risks of those smallholder farmers and livestock owners and herders in need, as well as the resilience levels of households and local ecosystems. This phase will lay the foundation for formulating a long-term implementation phase that is expected to follow.

The results of the various multidisciplinary context analyses will also help understand conflict dynamics and the drivers of local disputes, as well as smallholders’ ability to access agricultural inputs and sustainably link to local markets.

“The idea is to provide entry points for Nexus issues with a holistic approach to climate risks’ sensitive development, linking the humanitarian response to resilient development and localized peace building,” said Rajendra Aryal.

This inception phase will also implement a small pilot voucher programme to sustainably link 300 herding / livestock keeping families to local markets for livestock inputs. Based on the market assessment and feasibility studies to be conducted to address geographical needs, this pilot will be implemented in one province out of the six that will be analysed during the inception phase.

Promoting gender equality will be a cross-cutting priority in the design of CREAM implementation phase. Together with youth and people with disabilities, women will be prioritized in the various assessments, "Programme Clinics”, and in the selection criteria to access support from this Sida-funded programme.

Solid partnership

CREAM builds on the long-standing collaboration between FAO and Sweden, whose funding (USD 3.5 million) is currently enabling FAO to deliver emergency and resilience building assistance, during the ongoing drought, to 168 000 of the most vulnerable livestock owners and farmers in Badakhshan, Daikundi, Nuristan, and Samangan provinces in 2021.

Previously, between 2018 and 2020, the partnership between FAO and Sweden also focused on providing humanitarian support to protect the agriculture-based livelihoods of the most vulnerable population. In that period, 28 200 vulnerable livestock herding households (242 845 people) were supported with an emergency livestock protection package; also, the livelihoods of 29 120 vulnerable smallholder farming households (268 977 people) were protected with the provision of a wheat cultivation package. This support led to a total wheat production of 37 856 metric tonnes of wheat production, and ensured subsistence level food security for the families supported in some of the acutely food insecure provinces across Afghanistan.

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