Kevin Watkins - Executive Director, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
David Miliband - President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (joining remotely from NYC)
Sir John Holmes - GCVO, KBE, CMG, Chair of the Board of Trustees, IRC UK; Former UN Emergency Relief Coordinator
Chelsea Purvis - Report author and Policy & Advocacy Officer, International Rescue Committee UK
Ashley Jackson - Research Fellow, Humanitarian Policy Group at ODI (joining remotely from NYC)
2014 is a year of major transition for Afghanistan. International military forces are withdrawing by the end of the year, and insecurity has risen sharply in advance of April’s presidential election. Afghans are fleeing their homes in increasing numbers, with 630,000 now displaced by conflict around the country and over two million Afghan refugees living in neighbouring Pakistan and Iran. Economic growth is declining substantially as international forces -- and funding -- leave the country.
In this year of transition, millions of Afghans urgently need lifesaving assistance as well as support to build on modest development gains. But against this backdrop of growing need, foreign aid to Afghanistan is plummeting.
In a report to be released on 2 April, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) argues that while 2014 is a challenging year for Afghanistan, it is also an opportunity for the international community to stand beside the Afghan people, building on successful, community-based approaches to humanitarian assistance and development.