A Humanitarian Perspective on the Independent Assessment in Afghanistan

In March 2023, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for a twelve-month period. In parallel, the council adopted Resolution 2679 (2023), which requested that the UN secretary-general provide the Security Council with an integrated, independent assessment of the international community’s approach to Afghanistan by November 17, 2023. Two years after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, the council identified the need for an independent assessment to make recommendations for the international community’s united reengagement with Afghanistan.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI) hosted a roundtable on May 16, 2023, to discuss the independent assessment process and provide input from humanitarian experts during the preparatory phase of the assessment. This roundtable provided a platform for exchanges between humanitarian organizations, the UN Secretariat, member states, civil society groups, and independent experts, including those based in Geneva and Afghanistan. The discussion offered a chance to depoliticize discussions and unite behind a single strategy at a time when the Taliban are playing on divisions within the Security Council.

The participants’ recommendations for the independent assessment team included:

  • Ensure the team includes humanitarian and gender experts;
  • Facilitate an inclusive, meaningful, and safe process;
  • Avoid duplicating other efforts and leverage existing platforms;
  • Account for the diversity and complexity of the humanitarian sector;
  • Consider the broader challenges facing the humanitarian sector;
  • Make recommendations for a sustainable response that goes beyond humanitarian action; and
  • Produce a strategic report rather than a detailed operational roadmap.