Select Committee on International Development Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the British Agencies Afghanistan Group (BAAG)


  At the International Development Select Committee session held on 23 October 2000, a Memorandum was submitted by Oxfam and CARE International Limited. During the Examination of Witnesses the following requests for information were made Part I;

  SECTION 26—Paper to outline which NGOs operate in Afghanistan, who does what and how many workers are there;

  SECTION 35—Paper to outline what are the main logistical problems;

  SECTION 60—How much food people need each day to survive.

  This paper has been prepared by the British Agencies Afghanistan Group as a partial response to SECTION 26 and 35. It is presented as Part I—"Humanitarian Aid Agency Programmes in Afghanistan"—Programmes Summary with an annotated map (plus detailed programme charts completed by agencies), and Part II—Logistical problems. In respect of SECTION 60 we would refer the committee to the "Afghanistan Food Security Assessment July-August 2001" published by the World Food Programme that can be found on

  During the week 5-9 November, UN Agencies and NGOs conducted a series of workshops in which they developed the "30 Day Emergency Operational Assistance Plan for Afghanistan: 15 November—15 December 2001". Their objectives included providing "as complete a picture as possible of which organisations are currently operating in what geographic areas and in what sectors" and "to identify those areas and groups that will not be reached, and why". The document details the difficulties and constraints within which NGOs have to operate and the difficulties involved in gaining accurate, full and up-to-date information. Particularly relevant are the "Introduction" and "Overall Operating Environment". The whole document can be found on

  We sought data from all agencies that we know are operating or may be planning to operate programmes in Afghanistan either alone or in partnership with other organisations. The Agencies were asked for the following information. (1) locations in which they work or support partner organisations, (2) the type of programme including totals of aid delivered eg numbers of tents, metric tonnes of wheat, (3) what progress had been made in meeting aims, 4) numbers of personnel, male or female, national or international (5) contact with programme staff ie how it was maintained, if at all, during the current difficulties (6) security concerns or incidents, (7) identified gaps in provision of aid (8) other comments or obstacles encountered in implementing their programmes.

  Despite time constraints thirteen agencies have responded in time for this paper to be prepared and this gives a broad indication of the geographical spread where people work and the varied programmes that humanitarian agencies are providing. Some responses are more comprehensive than others which is perhaps a reflection of individual agencies' capacity to respond quickly to external requests rather than an unwillingness to share information. Some agencies have submitted separate statements on their programmes to the Select Committee.

  This exercise has again highlighted the need for comprehensive information and an overview of NGO operations in Afghanistan in a regularly updated and easily accessible format. The British Agencies Afghanistan Group had identified this as an issue to be addressed and is planning to map who is doing what and where in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, and to report on gaps in humanitarian aid with reference to both short and long term humanitarian and development needs. Specific information will be made available on visas, logistics, supplies, access, travel options, Internally Displaced Persons and refugee flows and security. Although this paper is of necessity incomplete it will now form the first of a series of "planograms" that will evolve to become a comprehensive organic document. It will include information directly received from partners in border countries, other co-ordinating bodies, and people working in Afghanistan "in the field".

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