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, a local Core Group for the SSAR Support Platform was established in April 2021. Members participate in meetings virtually due to COVID-19 and are joined by the EU as Chair. Core Group ambassadors and representatives resident in Iran met in 2021 to launch the initiative and discuss priority areas of support to Iran.
In Pakistan, the local Core Group was established in April 2021. It is chaired by the EU Ambassador to Pakistan. The group comprises working level and ambassadorial-level meetings. Two thematic working groups were created in 2021 focusing on education and livelihoods. In 2021, the group adopted a four-pillar workplan that 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. The meetings and workplan of the local Core Group look closely at how to support the Government of Pakistan, including through reinforcement of the public services to which Pakistan granted refugees access in local host communities, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces where the majority of refugees live. Looking at how to support solutions is at the forefront. The group regularly meets with the Minister of SAFRON at the ambassadorial-level and with the Chief Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees (CCAR) at the technical level. In June 2021, a virtual mission was organised for the Core Group which highlighted continued host community needs and refugee support requirements in Pakistan.