KABUL (Pajhwok): The International Community has renewed its long-term commitment to the people of Afghanistan with significant pledges at the Afghanistan Conference 2020 in Geneva.
Around 70 countries and more than 30 international organizations, along with Afghan Government officials and civil society representatives participated in the 2020 Afghanistan Conference.
The 2020 Afghanistan Conference provided a strong expression of the international community’s enduring commitment to Afghanistan for the critical period ahead up to 2024. The donors pledged at least US$ 3.3 billion for the first year of the upcoming quadrennial, with annual commitments expected to stay at the same level year-on-year.
Afghanistan’s development partners remain firmly committed to backing Afghanistan through to 2024. All development assistance will be subject to annual joint review processes by the government and international partners with donors continuing to exercise their right to decide upon the level and modality of their annual financial support.
“We, the Afghans, want an end to the violence and are committed to finding a political settlement that can not only bring an end to the suffering of the Afghan people but strengthen, safeguard and preserve the gains of the past 19 years,” said Abul Hadi Arghandiwal, Minister of Finance. “Today’s conference must represent our solidarity in which our international donors and development partners can take decisive steps in continuing to support Afghanistan and its people.”
The renewal of international support comes at a pivotal moment with unprecedented Afghanistan Peace Negotiations ongoing, a dynamic security setting and humanitarian needs peaking as winter sets in and the threat of COVID-19 remains. The pledges are made as Afghanistan enters the final four-year cycle of its Transformation Decade.
“The challenges Afghanistan faces are truly daunting. But the tremendous commitment shown at the conference by international partners to Afghanistan’s development provides real hope for a better tomorrow,” said Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. “The Geneva conference can be seen as mutually reinforcing with the historic Peace Negotiations in Doha – together they can provide solid foundations for peace and prosperity.”
“The significant pledges made at the 2020 Afghanistan Conference, despite a difficult year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, show that the international community continues to stand firmly with the Afghan people at this crucial time,” said Ville Skinnari, Finland’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, supported by its international partners, is committed to preserving and expanding on the economic, social, political and development gains that have been since 2002. Democracy, human rights -including those of women, children and minorities- are fundamental issues to be protected and further developed. Participants emphasized the need to address key challenges such as poverty reduction, institution building, good governance, anti-corruption and private sector development.
International partners welcomed the second version of the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework which provides the Afghan government’s vision, strategy and plan for the next five years (2021-25). Afghanistan and the international community have entered a new phase of cooperation, as articulated in the Afghanistan Partnership Framework, marked by conditionality and enhanced joint review mechanisms to ensure results and impact for the people of Afghanistan.
The conference adopted a communique calling for an immediate, permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. Partners also called for a meaningful peace process with the participation of women and youth, as well as ethnic, religious and other minorities. The communique establishes a renewed partnership to strengthen a sovereign, unified, democratic and peaceful Afghanistan on its path towards prosperity and self-reliance for the benefit of all Afghans.
“The Conference echoes the demand of the Afghan people for an immediate ceasefire and a lasting peace that they deserve – these demands must not be failed,” said Pekka Haavisto, Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The Conference was jointly organized by the governments of Afghanistan and Finland with the United Nations. Given the serious risks posed by COVID-19, all participants took part in the proceedings virtually, with the co-chairs located in the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva.