Video On Demand

The Red Zone: Humanitarian and Climate Finance Barriers in Afghanistan

May 15, 2024 • 1:00 – 2:15 pm EDT

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Afghanistan is ranked as one of the top ten countries at risk of climate disasters and faces significant humanitarian funding hurdles due to U.S. and UN sanctions and bank de-risking. As a result of the Taliban's return to power, the United States froze Afghan Central Bank assets and sanctioned the regime’s leaders, and the U.S. and other donors, including the EU, significantly reduced investments in development assistance. Caught between the international response and the Taliban’s leadership, Afghans have withstood a deteriorating political situation, limited financial services, constrained humanitarian access, rampant violations of women’s rights, and exposure to climate disasters. Both funding and financial access constraints have limited NGOs’ capacity to provide aid and have reduced Afghans’ resilience against climate shocks. This multifaceted crisis has resulted in nearly 24 million Afghans in need of humanitarian assistance in 2024 and requires urgent attention.  

Despite these challenges, donors, NGO partners, and Afghan leaders have devised innovative workarounds to respond to the most pressing needs in Afghanistan. Multilateral and private sector funding initiatives have created opportunities to address the humanitarian crisis and climate disasters. These initiatives must be scaled up, and pathways to increased, inclusive financial access must be initiated to bolster resilience in Afghanistan. This panel brings together experts to discuss the delicate balancing act donors face, including financial hurdles, the nexus of current humanitarian and climate initiatives, and how prospective financing approaches can mitigate existing challenges for Afghans. 

To register to attend the Red Zone Conference, please visit: The Red Zone: Charting Paths to Resilience in the Climate-Conflict Nexus.

This event is made possible through the generous support of USAID.

Kathryn Striffolino

Director for Humanitarian Policy, Mercy Corps

Simin Wahdat

Senior Officer, Programs and Partnerships, Aga Khan Development Network

Afsana Rahimi

Chairperson; Vice Chairperson, Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Afghanistan International Chamber of Commerce