Geneva Conference To Signal International Commitments To Afghan Development

Afghanistan and its international partners in Kabul on Tuesday officially launched preparations for the 2020 Afghanistan Conference – the last pledging conference of the Transformation Decade.

The event was attended by representatives of more than 70 countries and international organizations, as well as civil society representatives either virtually or physically at the Presidential Palace.

The conference is scheduled to take place Nov. 23-24 in Geneva and is co-hosted by Afghanistan, Finland and the United Nations. It aims to take the country towards self-reliance and is expected to renew international community and Afghan commitments to the development and stability of Afghanistan up to 2024.

The main conference will take place on Nov. 24, with side events to discuss key challenges and accomplishments for Afghanistan occurring the day before.

Acting Minister of Finance Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, in his opening remarks said, “The 2020 Afghanistan Conference presents a unique opportunity to work together with a strong commitment to the principles of aid effectiveness and mutual accountability for improved transparency, legitimacy, as well as effectiveness.”

He stressed that progress on mutual accountability is important and both the government as well as the international partners must be held accountable for use of development resources and for development results.

Since 2001, despite setbacks, Afghanistan has achieved progress in economic and social fields, as well as with democratic institutions, governance and human rights – especially that of women, children and minorities.

“The process of preparing for the conference has provided us, as partners, an opportunity to have a comprehensive and detailed discussion on Afghanistan’s past, present, and future development trajectory,” said President Ashraf Ghani, in a recorded message said.

“More specifically, the conference will be an opportunity to signal to the Afghan people the international community’s continued partnership with Afghanistan. The constructive conversation will be continuous, focusing on policy and implementation until and after the conference.”

The conference will also devise a second version of the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF-II) which provides vision, strategy and plans for development for the 2021-25 period and is organized around the three pillars of market-, state-, and peace-building. It will form the foundation of a new aid framework.

Janne Taalas, Finland’s Special Envoy to the 2020 Afghanistan Conference, said preparations were underway and progressing well. He also stressed on the importance of the conference being held parallel to the ongoing peace negotiations in Doha.

“At this extraordinary time, it is more important than ever that the development partners continue their strong support to the Afghan people and ensure the long-term development of the country on its path to peace, prosperity and self-reliance,” said Taalas.

UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons also emphasised on the start of the peace talks.

“As critical peace talks progress in Doha, the international community recommits its stand with the Afghan people to ending the war and building a better future with stability, sound governance and greater economic opportunities,” she said.

More than 70 countries, international organizations and Afghan government officials, as well as civil society representatives are expected to take part in the conference.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the conference will be organized in a hybrid format. The option for online participation will be provided to conference delegates and an open live webcast will be available.

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