In the next two weeks, the Brussels Conference will be held with focus on Afghanistan. At this event, the international community will once again announce its financial commitments to Afghanistan for the next four years.
Afghan Finance Minister, who is in charge of preparations for the conference and who has worked with the international community during the last one year in this area, appeared in the Afghan Parliament yesterday and delivered a speech on the country’s readiness to attend the Brussels Conference and explained Afghanistan’s major strategies and commitments until 2020.
1- At the Brussels Conference representatives of 75 countries at foreign ministerial level and 30 international organizations will participate. The Conference is being organized following the conferences in Tokyo and London and its mission is to attract international financial assistance for Afghanistan in the next four years and sign bilateral commitments with international community in this regard.
2- In addition to the main session of the conference, another two major meetings will be held on the sidelines to discuss gender equality and regional cooperation. In the two meetings, the focus will be on women’s rights, human rights issues, the implementation of the UN Resolution 1325 on women, and women’s economic empowerment. Also, Afghanistan’s national infrastructure programs will be delivered in order to build regional cooperation and/or consensus to develop Afghanistan’s major infrastructure programs.
3– The Afghan government will propose/present five important programs and projects during the Brussels Conference. The first four programs with essential priorities are: national program of citizens’ manifesto, women’s economic empowerment and urban and infrastructure developments. These programs cover infrastructure sector, provision of basic services in villages and cities, construction and housing and urban governance.
4- The most important plan that will be presented in the Brussels Conference is the framework of peace and Afghanistan’s national development. This framework is the continuation of Afghanistan’s National Development Strategy, which was completed in 2013. To implement peace and national development programs, budget is fundamental. To attract required budget, the government of Afghanistan should prioritize areas that need to be improved and reformed, and at the same time also prioritize foreign direct investments. The international community has agreed on the framework to sustain its funding for the next four years and at the same time prevent budget gap in the same period.
5- Afghanistan’s peace and national development framework, initiated by the Ministry of Finance and Economy, targets five key areas, which will lead to rapid economic growth and job creation in the areas of agriculture, mining , energy, trade and transit and the private sector. In addition, areas that lead to development, such as good governance, good financial services, reform, reducing corruption and strengthening the rule of law, are also included in this framework. Investment in infrastructure, human resource development, technology enhancement and improving provision of basic services in the areas of education and health are the other major parts of the initiative.
6- The Afghan government and the international community agreed on a mutual accountability framework. In 2015, the Government of Afghanistan and the International community agreed to 39 commitments that should completely be implemented by the end of 2016, and are the preconditions for the new phase and flow of international aid to Afghanistan. Afghan government made 30 commitments and international community nine. The Afghan government has met 20/30 of its commitments and by the end of this year it will meet the other 10 remaining ones.
7- For 2017-2018, Afghanistan and the international community have agreed to 24 commitments to improve the situation in Afghanistan, including good governance. The Afghan government is responsible for 15 commitments and the international community for nine. The bilateral commitments are made in exchange for financial assistance provided by international community to Afghanistan.
8- The Afghan government and the international community have not agreed upon two commitments related to elections and it’s financing through the Afghan national budget.