With greater turmoil, crises and conflicts around the world the importance of international development cannot be understated. The Government has indicated its desire to return to 0.7% and CFID welcomes this direction of travel. However, understanding, explaining and valuing international development comes through seeing and hearing first-hand about the challenges faced and the work undertaken by UK based aid agencies.
As a result, CFID has set up regular briefings on humanitarian situations across the globe. Most recently our co-chair, Anthony Mangnall MP held a meeting on the situation in Afghanistan. Members from Halo, Save the Children and War Child joined to discuss the crises being faced by the Afghan people and Times journalist Christina Lamb, recently returned from Afghanistan to update us on the situation on the ground.
Afghanistan is deteriorating and is likely to become the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. Children are sold by impoverished families, a health crisis is emerging with measles and tuberculosis widespread, the economy is faltering as sanctions bite and access to cash diminishes. On top of which a famine is expected as harvests fails and food costs rise. The Taliban promises are worth little as girls are barred from returning to school or taking on meaningful work.
The list of problems faced is almost endless, the insight from the panellists highlighted them all while also pointing out the aid to Afghanistan is severely diminished as the international community looks elsewhere.
Solutions to help the people of Afghanistan were wide and varied. From formal recognition of the Taliban in the hope of better engagement, to lifting sanctions that are adversely impacting the people, to ensuring that the UK’s aid budget keeps Afghanistan as a top priority.
Members of Parliament left this meeting with a better sense of the reality on the ground and the forthcoming problems we are likely to see unless we act. The 39 million Afghans face a bleak future unless global action is taken. The UK can take that action and provide the leadership necessary to help those most in need.