Islamabad, 21 December 2021 (TDI): The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths; addressed the assistants of the 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, on 19 December.


Griffiths first mentioned that Afghanistan’s economy is now in free fall, and warned that if the community doesn’t act decisively and with compassion; the fall will pull the Afghans with it.

He then remarked that twenty-three million people are already facing hunger, and health facilities are overflowing with malnourished children. According to Griffiths, some 70 percent of teachers are not receiving their salaries; and millions of children are out of school.


In his speech, Griffiths also mentioned that the value of the Afghani currency is plummeting, trade is low due to the lack of confidence in the financial sector. He also mentioned the constriction of the space for borrowing and investment.

Griffiths warned that the need for liquidity and stabilization of the banking system is now urgent. Furthermore, he stressed the urgency for liquidity to save the lives of the Afghan people; and to enable humanitarian organizations to respond.


Griffiths also welcomed the decision of the World Bank’s Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund. According to Griffiths, that decision was to transfer US$280 million by the end of December to UNICEF and the World Food Programme and will be followed by reprogramming the whole fund to support the Afghan people this winter.


Then Griffiths mentioned that Afghan families do not have the cash for everyday transactions; and also that the prices for key commodities continue to rise. The cost of wheat and fuel is up by around 40 percent and food now accounts for more than 80 percent of the average household expenditure.

Griffiths also remarked that the basic social services that all Afghans depend on are collapsing; as international development support has frozen up. He then added that by the middle of 2022, universal poverty, which now reaches 97% of the population; could be the next grim milestone.

According to Griffiths, within a year, Afghanistan’s gross domestic product could lose 30%, and that male unemployment may double to 29 percent. He mentioned that the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation reunited to express their willingness to assist. They also expressed their willingness to contribute to the humanitarian endeavor.


Griffiths reaffirmed the commitment of the UN to the OIC’s efforts, and in solidarity with the Afghans. He also mentioned that the UN will seek funding for their US$4.5 billion to help at-risk Afghans.

The plan is to stopgap measures for over 21 million people who need lifesaving assistance and must be funded as a matter of priority. Griffiths then added that the crisis is huge but the UN humanitarian response is effective and continues to scale up, thanks to generous donor support and your sustained engagement.

That is because Afghanistan will not get through the winter on emergency aid alone. He also mentioned that the UN needs flexible donor funding that can be used to ensure salaries for public sector workers and support basic services. Those services are health, education, electricity, and livelihoods.

Griffiths remarked that it is necessary to maintain constructive engagement with the de facto authorities in a process of dialogue. That dialogue is to clarify what we expect of each other.

He warned that the consequences of inaction on these three fronts are clear: Afghanistan will collapse, people will run out of hope. Finally, the region and the world will see destabilization increase. In his address, he remarked that the world has the advantage of the early warning of the possible fate. That terrible fate is if the world does not act.

According to Griffiths, the world has the responsibility of being forewarned. He then added that the world fully knows that if we do not act with urgency and with a collective will; then there will be a terrible reckoning. He also mentioned that the organizers of the meeting allowed doing that.