EU announces €10m grant for Afghan refugees, Pakistanis affected by COVID-19 pandemic

10 million euros is being provided by the European Union (EU) to boost the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) assistance for Afghan refugees and their respective host communities in Pakistan.

The funding focuses on mitigating the short- and medium-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the report, the UNHCR will expand with its funding, its health response as well as improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in refugee and host communities, according to an official statement issued on Tuesday.

Another essential component of the new project will be implementing activities that help protect and empower vulnerable Afghan refugees and host communities, including through livelihood opportunities.

The three-year project will be implemented across Pakistan and is expected to benefit some 370,000 Afghan refugees and host communities.

The Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Pakistan, Androulla Kaminara, and UNHCR’s Representative in Pakistan, Noriko Yoshida, signed the agreement at a ceremony on Monday.

The agreement accords with the quadrennial Afghanistan Conference held in Geneva, which is intended to present an important opportunity for the Afghan government and the international community to commit to common objectives for promoting sustainable development, prosperity and peace in Afghanistan.

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Kaminara at the signing ceremony stated, “As the world faces a second surge of Covid-19, it is clearer than ever that we must assist the most vulnerable and the most in need. We are glad to partner with the UNHCR in assisting the Afghan refugee community, which is generously hosted in Pakistan, as well as the Pakistani host communities.”

Placing the support for refugees in a larger political context, the envoy underlined: “The European Union has reaffirmed its strong support to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process which ultimately would ensure safety, fundamental rights and prosperity for all Afghans and allow refugees to return to their homeland in safety and dignity.”

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