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Commission completes €1 billion pledge to Afghanistan

In 2002 the European Commission pledged €1 billion over five years to support the reconstruction and development process in Afghanistan. Today the final commitments to realize this pledge have been approved. Decisions today cover support to provincial governance, to improve service delivery to the local population (€10.6 million), to be implemented in the framework of Provincial Reconstruction Teams; and support for the Afghanistan Variety and Seed Industry Development Project (€10 million). With these two decisions the commitment of the €1 billion is complete. Around 80% of the money committed is already disbursed, making Afghanistan first class example of efficient and rapid action by the European Commission.

European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said: “In 2002 the European Commission promised to be a steadfast partner for Afghanistan. Today we have kept our promise in full, and ahead of schedule.”

She added: “As one of the largest development donors to the Afghan reconstruction efforts, we have provided a swift response to the new government’s most immediate budget needs, supporting the public administration and security sector reform. We have made an important contribution to tackling the spiralling problem of illegal drugs production by supporting rural development and alternative livelihoods, and contributing to the salaries of thousands of law enforcement officers. In the health field, we have rehabilitated over a hundred clinics and hospitals. Taken together with our work on infrastructure, employment generation, and institution building, these achievements show that the EC is making a real difference in Afghanistan.”

Some of the most important achievements over the past five years include:

  • EC support to public administration and security sector reform of around €265 million covered salaries of 266,000 civil servants and 66,000 police personnel. This makes the EC the third largest contributor to the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) and the largest contributor to the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, thereby supporting the police reform. Funding also supported a public administration programme building up local capacity for Afghanistan’s public service, health and customs management.
  • EC support of around €170 million to rural development and livelihoods has particularly targeted provinces in the East and in the North East of the country. Projects covered livestock and animal health, rural rehabilitation, water and sanitation and cash-for-work. The EU is also financing a comprehensive nationwide seed programme. Rural communities, notably those with a high number of returnees, have already better access to basic services and benefit from rural economic recovery.
  • In the health sector, with around €50 million the EC is one of three main donors for health delivery and policy. Funding was primarily directed to the Basic Package of Health Services covering an estimated 4 million Afghans in 10 provinces. Programmes were managed by 7 international and 3 local NGOs through 202 health facilities and 1089 health posts. 110 health facilities were rehabilitated through EC funding.
  • The EC has supported infrastructure projects with over €80 million for reconstruction of the Kabul-Jalabad road and secondary roads connected to this highway. This project aims at reinforcing the main regional transport corridor to Pakistan. EC funding has also supported rehabilitation of the electricity distribution network.
  • EC support also targeted repatriation of refugees and returnees with €38 million and de-mining activities with €47.2 million. Specific measures of some €41 million in counter-narcotics include contributions to the Counter Narcotics Trust Fund, making the EC the second largest contributor.

Relations with EU – political framework:

The Joint Political Declaration "Committing to a new EU-Afghan Partnership" signed on 16 November 2005 is a comprehensive framework for the EU-Afghanistan relationship. It confirms EU continued support in post-Bonn period while stressing the commitments by the Government of Afghanistan in key areas. Regular political dialogue was established as a key element of the new partnership (the first formal EU-Afghanistan Ministerial meeting was held on 31 January 2006). The EU reconfirmed its determination to further enhance its engagement with Afghanistan in its Council conclusions of 30 January 2006. EU Presence in Kabul is assured by the Special Representative and his office in addition to the Commission’s Delegation.