Skip to main content

Islamic Republic of Iran interim country strategic plan (2023–2025)

Operation ID: IR02

ICSP approved at the EB February 2023 session

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a middle-income country that for more than four decades has hosted close to 1 million registered refugees, primarily from Afghanistan. While the Islamic Republic of Iran has made satisfactory progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 2 and therefore does not consider zero hunger a national development priority, the food security situation of vulnerable refugees, particularly the 31,000 most vulnerable people living inside 20 refugee settlements across the country, remains fragile and warrants continued humanitarian assistance.

This has become increasingly evident in recent years as trade restrictions, inflation and the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic have caused a significant economic downturn, stretching national capacities and eroding the purchasing power of the most vulnerable refugees.

At the same time, earthquakes and increasingly frequent climate-related hazards such as droughts and floods cause major damage and losses, adversely affecting the Islamic Republic of Iran’s development gains. Adding to these challenges, the uncertain humanitarian situation in neighbouring Afghanistan has led thousands of vulnerable Afghan girls, boys, women and men to flee to the Islamic Republic of Iran, putting further economic pressure on the country. These compounding crises call for increased solidarity and sharing of responsibility in line with the Global Compact on Refugees.

Building on WFP’s long-standing experience in successfully assisting refugees and other crisis-affected populations in the Islamic Republic of Iran to meet their basic food and nutrition needs, and informed by reviews, assessments, lessons learned and consultations conducted using a “whole-of-society” approach, this interim country strategic plan will help address these challenges. Working with partners, in particular the Ministry of Interior’s Bureau for Alien and Foreign Immigrant Affairs and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, WFP seeks to improve the food security of the most vulnerable refugees and other crisis-affected populations, while supporting more efficient and effective crisis response aligned with national policies and within the framework of the Afghanistan Situation Regional Refugee Response Plan. 1 WFP will achieve these objectives through two interconnected outcomes:

➢ Outcome 1: Food-insecure refugees and other crisis-affected populations in Iran are able to meet their basic food and nutrition needs throughout the year.

➢ Outcome 2: Crisis-affected populations in Iran benefit from enhanced coordination and improved capacities of national entities and other partners to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies all year round.

These outcomes are directly linked to WFP strategic outcomes 1 (people are better able to meet their urgent food and nutrition needs) and 5 (humanitarian and development actors are more efficient and effective).

Reinforcing WFP’s existing interventions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, this interim country strategic plan embeds strengthened emergency preparedness and response across all activities, with carefully designed contingencies and corresponding budget allocations that will allow WFP to respond rapidly to potential new arrivals from Afghanistan, sudden-onset disasters or partner requirements for WFP services. A key new element is the expansion of WFP’s school feeding programme to urban areas, which will follow an inclusive approach, targeting schools attended by refugee and host community girls and boys.

In line with the WFP gender policy 2022 and the 2020 protection and accountability policy, WFP will adopt a broader approach to community engagement and take further steps to ensure refugees most at risk of being left behind including women, girls, young people, persons with disabilities and those with multiple intersecting needs are included and assisted equitably. WFP will continue to prioritize safety and dignity, avoid doing harm and facilitate access to assistance and services without discrimination and according to the diverse choices, needs and capacities of girls, boys, women and men.