Afghanistan pledging conference eyes development goals for coming fours years, from 2021-24
A high-level pledging conference on Afghanistan has been confirmed at UN Geneva next week whose objectives include helping to contribute to a peaceful and sustainable future for the country’s people, participants announced on Friday.
The specific aim of event, which coincides with peace talks between the Government of Afghanistan and Taliban leaders in Qatar, is to determine shared development goals and commitments over the next three years for the Afghan government and the international community, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said.
"The 2020 Afghanistan Conference is taking place at a historic and critical moment, both for the Government of Afghanistan and our international development partners," said Naser Sidiqee, Director General of the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan, at a press conference in the Swiss city.
Co-hosted by the Governments of Afghanistan and Finland with the United Nations, more than 70 countries, international organizations and agencies are expected to take part, as well as civil society representatives.
Previous editions have taken place in 2016 in Brussels and Tokyo in 2012.
"We have been investing and we have been cooperating with Afghanistan well, in years,” said Janne Taalas, Finland’s Special Envoy to Afghanistan 2020. “And we have also made a significant contribution to the crisis management in Afghanistan."
The conference comes amid surging insecurity across Afganistan, including an attack on Kabul University earlier in the month that killed dozens of students that was reportedly claimed by ISIL extremists.
"At this critical time, the United Nations anticipates that conference will provide strong support to the people of Afghanistan," said Ramiz Alakbarov, UN Resident Coordinator in Afghanistan, ad interim.
"The decisions that will be taken in the next few days, we also view them as mutually reinforcing to the Afghanistan peace negotiations."
Participants are expected to engage in two days of discussions to pledge “financial support, a new development framework, a joint political declaration and a new aid architecture supporting Afghanistan’s development needs and priorities are the anticipated outcomes of the conference,” UNAMA said on its website.
“(Development assistance) has been significant and it has contributed quite significantly to the development of Afghanistan in different parts of the country,” said Mr. Sidiqee, from the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan. “And we believe the continuation of the development assistance to Afghanistan will play a key role in stabilizing Afghanistan and also supporting the government on its journey to self-reliance."
Owing to restrictions on large meetings in a bid to restrict the transmission of COVID-19 in Switzerland, the Conference will take place virtually, coordinated by UN Geneva.
n Afghanistan ad interim