Mercy Corps Urges Focus on Sustainable Economic Development Ahead of United Nations-hosted Meeting Between the Taliban and Member States

25 June 2024

Kabul, Afghanistan – Ahead of the next round of UN-hosted meetings about Afghanistan’s future in Doha, Mercy Corps urges all parties, including the Taliban, UN Member-State envoys, and other stakeholders to address the key obstacles to effective and long-term investment in Afghanistan to build longer-term opportunities for Afghans.

Dayne Curry, Mercy Corps Country Director for Afghanistan says: 

“While Mercy Corps primarily focuses on helping Afghans survive emergencies, our long-term goal is to empower Afghans to adapt, thrive, and become self-reliant. To do that, Member States attending the UN-hosted meeting must address the fact that current political sanctions disproportionately affect the poorest Afghans, including women and girls, and should prioritise long-term solutions that foster economic opportunities and resilience. The basic needs of women and their families must be a priority. Pathways for international private investment should also be strongly considered, as it is crucial for economic development in Afghanistan.”

"Empowering women to earn their own incomes is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty and instability. The interconnectedness of women's rights, economic stability, and long-term humanitarian solutions is undeniable. This includes supporting women-led businesses with not just seed money, but also with access to viable markets for local products.”

“I recently met a woman who had lived her entire life as a refugee in Pakistan. Her family, anticipating expulsion, returned to Afghanistan only after her home was destroyed by floods. But she has no home in Afghanistan. With no resources, they were left with nothing but the barest necessities. This story is all too common among returning families who lack the means to survive, let alone rebuild their lives. Women want to provide for their families and are part of the solution, but without clear international engagement to rebuild Afghanistan’s local economy, such families remain trapped in cycles of poverty and displacement, perpetuating the crisis."

"To truly support Afghans, we need to move beyond only providing emergency assistance, such as supplying unsustainable food and water distributions to displaced communities, to creating an environment and infrastructure that fosters economic opportunities and supports their long-term self-sufficiency."

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