27. Prior to September 11, DFID was working within the UN's Strategic
Framework for Afghanistan,
which provided a principled approach to ensure assistance was
focused on the needs of the most vulnerable. Between 1997 and
September 2001 DFID provided £32 million for emergency food,
shelter, healthcare, water supplies, support for agriculture,
mines clearance, education, and monitoring and advocacy on human
rights. The bulk of DFID's programme was focused on providing
assistance to the refugees in neighbouring countries.
On September 11, DFID had sixteen commitments in the Afghanistan
programme, totalling £5 million, of which ten projects were
supporting refugee populations in Iran and Pakistan and only six
were in Afghanistan (focusing on emergency relief but also food
28. DFID has responded well to the current crisis. It was the
first donor to respond to the inter-agency donor Alert and has
been, after the USA, the second largest donor overall. DFID made
£25million available from existing funds on 19 September.
Initial grants from the £25 million included:
- £1 million to UNOCHA to improve coordination
- £3 million to UNHCR for refugee assistance and protection
- £3 million to UNICEF for a programme preparing the vulnerable
- £3 million to WFP for emergency feeding programmes
- £2 million to WHO for coordination, technical assistance
and disease surveillance
- £3 million allocated to the Red Cross
29. On 28 September DFID announced £11 million was being
made available to assist the poorer communities in Pakistan, particularly
those most affected by the new influx of Afghan refugees. On 1
October DFID allocated £0.6 million of the £25 million
to strengthening UN security arrangements (thus fully funding
the UN security operation). By 12 October allocations to NGOs
had been agreed with £21.5 million of the £25 million
having been allocated to UN agencies, the Red Cross movement and
NGOs. A further £15 million was made available on 18 October,
from the Central Reserve, to remove blockages and help the international
system respond to the needs of the Afghan people.
A full listing of the humanitarian projects being supported by
DFID at 15 November is contained in the evidence printed with
this report. We were
impressed that there was typically only four or five days between
the approval of a disbursement and the funds being made available.
We visited two projects in Pakistan which were already receiving
money from DFID's £11 million programme. Inevitably, where
there is a need for money to be spent quickly, the scope for evaluating
whether projects will benefit the very poorest is limited. The
Sarhad and Lady Health Worker projects are in our view sound choices.
The fact that DFID was able to channel the money to projects so
speedily is a vindication of its policy of maintaining an engagement
in Pakistan despite the military coup of 1999.
30. In addition to the donations in cash and in kind, DFID has
provided specialists to assist the UN agencies. We understand
from talking to a number of people during our visit to the region
that DFID's technical contributions were and are valued as highly
as the cash donations it makes. DFID's Conflict and Humanitarian
Department is highly thought of by UN agencies and NGOs alike
- deservedly so.