The Core Group and its members are requested to galvanize more predictable and sustained financial, political and technical support for the SSAR, with emphasis on additional contributions, as well as raise awareness and visibility of the Afghan refugee situation.
The Core Group holds meetings at the headquarters level (called 'Global Core Group'). It has also composed local Core Groups in each of the main SSAR countries - Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan (called 'local Core Groups').
In Afghanistan, a local Core Group for the Support Platform was jointly convened in March 2021 by the EU (as Chair) with Afghanistan's Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR). It met on three occasions between March and August 2021 to discuss support for Afghanistan from the international community, in particular with a focus on Priority Areas of Return and Reintegration (PARRs). A virtual mission of the Core Group to Afghanistan was organised in June 2021, offering an opportunity for donors and capitals of Core Group members to see the ongoing work of UNHCR, UNDP and other partners in the PARRs and interact with on a live-link with returnees from Iran and Pakistan. The local Core Group in Afghanistan has remained active since August 2021 and its workplan was revised in December 2021 in line with the current context in Afghanistan, including support for IDP returns and reintegration. The group remains engaged in fostering support for PARRs and to mitigate further displacement and build resilient communities by improving access to essential services in the country under the UN Afghanistan Transitional Engagement Framework.
In Iran, in line with the deliberations of the Inaugural Meeting of the Core Group with the Governments of Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, a local Core Group for the SSAR Support Platform was established in April 2021. Core Group ambassadors and representatives resident in Iran met virtually in 2021, due to the ongoing pandemic, to launch the initiative and discuss priority areas of support to Iran, as part of the key objective to support host countries under the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees. In 2022, UNHCR organized an SSAR Support Platform meeting, chaired by the European Union virtually, in the presence of Core Group members and other donors, UN Agencies, INGOs, and the Government of Iran, to better identify the needs of refugees, asylum-seekers and host communities. At the end of 2022, Iran hosted the 8th meeting of the SSAR Quadripartite Steering Committee to discuss progress, challenges and the way forward in the implementation of the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees. At the meeting the parties of the Quadripartite Steering Committee recalled that Afghan refugees are now in their fifth decade of protracted displacement. Through their generous hospitality, generations of Afghans including refugees have found protection and safety in Iran and Pakistan, including access to public services, particularly healthcare and education, similar to that of nationals.
In Pakistan, the local Core Group was established in April 2021. Since its inception, the EU Ambassador to Pakistan chaired the group. The Chairmanship is currently in transition. The group’s work is organized around working level and ambassadorial-level meetings. In 2021, the group adopted a four-pillar workplan that also included emergency response preparedness based on the development of events in Afghanistan. While retaining a strong focus on the existing protracted refugee population, the local Core Group is attentive to potential new needs. Two thematic working groups at the working level were created in 2021 focusing on education and livelihoods. The local Core Group aims to enhance support to the Government of Pakistan and in 2023 is gearing up for the Global Refugee Forum and the potential for generating matching support for any pledges the Government of Pakistan may make that build refugee and host communities’ resilience. For the first Global Refugee Forum, Pakistan was one of the five co-conveners and has expressed its intention to continue to actively contribute to the advancement of the Global Compact on Refugees.