Brussels, 6 July 2012
EU Commissioner Piebalgs to attend the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan: "The EU will remain a steadfast partner for Afghanistan's stabilisation and development"
On the 8th July, EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs will attend the international Conference on Afghanistan in Tokyo, Japan. The International Conference will take stock of the country's reconstruction process and agree on how to implement development priorities for Afghanistan from 2015 to 2025. He will present the EU's vision of a consolidated partnership with Afghanistan in order to strengthen the country's development.
Ahead of the conference, Commissioner Piebalgs stated: "Afghanistan needs to take full ownership of the reconstruction of its country to make the "transformation decade" a success. The EU has the firm intention to stand alongside Afghanistan in this process, together with the international community, and to maintain its substantial support. I'll confirm the EU will maintain its current level of €200 million per year, as minimum. However, Afghanistan needs to fully live up to its commitments by reforming its public finance management, its public administration and its economy while fighting corruption. The government must reinforce its credibility towards the people of Afghanistan and be able to provide the basic social services. We are ready to support it in this endeavour in a spirit of mutual accountability."
The Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan will be the third international meeting in the last two months to consider the long-term future of Afghanistan. Tokyo will be a critical counterpart to the NATO Chicago summit of May 2012 and the Kabul Heart of Asia conference on regional cooperation (June 2012). The Tokyo conference will focus on the Government of Afghanistan's long-term strategy for the country, its priorities and commitments; donors' support for those priorities; and the development of a roadmap to allow the ongoing review of mutual commitments.
"We will ensure that donors fulfil their own commitments by strengthening their coordination to make aid more efficient and targeted in sectors where we can bring a real added value. The EU will focus on health, education and governance, in line with the Afghan priorities", added EU Commissioner Piebalgs.
Commissioner Piebalgs will underline the fact that, with the support of the international community, Afghanistan has made real progress. The EU as a whole has contributed more than 2 billion Euros in the last decade. Those contributions have supported the transformation of many Afghans' lives. It contributed to increase to 65% the number of Afghans having access to primary healthcare compared to 9% in 2002; to increase life expectancy of Afghans; to improve maternal health and reduce child mortality. In 7 years the number of health facilities has increased by 40%, and three-quarters of those facilities have at least one female health worker. A decade ago, 1 million boys went to school, while girls were barred from education. Today, 7 million children attend schools and 40% of them are girls.
However, many challenges remain. The fragile security situation is holding back progress and the international community will have to remain committed for the next decade to ensure a sustainable future of the country.
For the period covering 2011-13, €200m are allocated every year by the European Union for development programmes. These focus on three key sectors: governance - including police - agriculture and rural development, and health and social protection.
The EU also provides a CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) mission - EUPOL AFGHANISTAN- whose mission is to help the Afghans to develop their civilian policing skills by providing specialised training and advice.
For more information
MEMO/12/527 – Afghanistan – EU cooperation
Catherine Ray (+32 2 296 99 21)
Wojtek Talko (+32 2 297 85 51)