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MEMO/11/422

Brussels, 19 June 2011

Commissioner Piebalgs visits Afghanistan: Examples of EU aid to Afghanistan

The EU is one of the major donors to Afghanistan, providing some €1 billion -with contributions from Member States- each year.

Between 2002- 2010 the European Commission alone committed more than €2 billion in assistance to Afghanistan, including €345.2 million in humanitarian aid.

The European Commission is expected to spend €600 million between 2011-2013 – an increase of over 30 percent from 2007-2010 period.

Priority areas for the EU in Afghanistan include agriculture, governance, health and regional cooperation.

Examples of European Union projects in Afghanistan

Health

Almost three decades of war have left Afghanistan with some of the lowest health rates in the world. However, thanks to the Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) and the Essential Package of Hospital Services (EPHS) – both funded by the EU - considerable progress has been made and access to primary healthcare has increased to 65%

Through its support to the BPHS and the EPHS, the European Union has provided services to over 5 million Afghans in ten provinces, including some of the most insecure and underserved districts in the country.

Social Protection

Since 2001, the EU has committed more than 120 million on projects and programmes in social protection. We support the development and delivery of social services to some of Afghanistan's most vulnerable people through a private-public partnership between the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs Martyrs and Disabled as steward and NGOs as service providers. Services provided include counselling, medical care, reintegration for children at risk (street children, child soldiers etc) and legal aid.

Agriculture and Rural Development

  • Water and river management

Since 2004, the EU has contributed 93 million to help improve water management across Afghanistan by setting up irrigation infrastructure, installing water sheds, and putting in place regional River Basin Agencies to better manage resources. Around 850.000 trees were planted and 3.000 ha of pasture and rangeland were protected.

  • Animal health

In animal health, the EU has provided 23 million to help rehabilitate the central veterinary laboratory, put in place border inspection posts, and create new veterinary offices and diagnostic laboratories.

Mine Action

The EU supports the UN Mine Action Service which aims to clear mines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) hazards. The project helps to raise awareness within local populations on the dangers of mines and ERWs, as well as providing support to their victims. The EU gives €21.75 million to the programme, and has provided €82 million in total to landmine clearance since 2001.

Support to governance

  • Police Reform

In the area of Police Reform, the EU has been a major contributor to paying salaries of the Afghan Police force through the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOFTA). Thanks to the fund, there has already been significant progress in strengthening financial accountability and transparency in the police service. 99% of the police force now receive their salaries through an electronic payroll system, for example – a significant step forward in making the force more transparent.

Providing funding of more than €270 million, the EU is one of the largest contributors to this Trust Fund. A new contribution of €140 million is expected to be committed by the end of 2011.

  • Justice and Rule of Law

In the area of Justice, the EU has provided €20 million with the aim of strengthening the centralized state justice system and increasing access to justice for the Afghan people. We have provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Justice, the Attorney General Office and the Supreme Court of Afghanistan.

Our support also includes training for justice officials, the establishment of legal aid across the country, the upgrading of law libraries, and the organisation of awareness-raising campaigns for local communities. A new contribution of €20 million is expected to be committed by the end of 2011.

  • Border Management

The EU has provided 65 million for border management and customs in Afghanistan. Improving security at borders helps to provide growth as increased revenue is collected through customs. This is done by implementing training, constructing new facilities and providing new equipment at border crossings.

At Torkham, on the border with Pakistan, the EU provided 11 million to construct a new customs office. The border now accounts for almost 25 percent of the revenue of the Afghan Customs Department.

Sub-national Governance

In this sector the EU provides resources for capacity building at central and sub-national levels in order to improve democratic, decentralised and participative development processes. The EU is committed to furthering improved sub-national governance and has integrated it in many of its programmes, such as the Rural Governance and Development programme. Recent EU contributions to sub-national programmes amount to €33 million.

EU support has also been provided to provincial governance with the Provincial Reconstruction Teams. Between 2007 and 2010 a €10 million programme supported provincial reconstruction efforts in governance, strengthening provincial and district administrations, as well as institutions such as the police, the judiciary and provincial councils.

Regional Cooperation

The EU is increasing its work on regional cooperation, with a particular focus on Central Asia. We are currently supporting customs and border management, the Centre for Regional Cooperation within the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs which follows up on Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) as well as regional economic cooperation issues, including the establishment of a Secretariat for Railway Development. A €22 million programme was committed for this purpose in 2010.

For more info

EuropeAid website: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/index_en.htm

EU Delegation in Afhganistan's website:

http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/afghanistan/index_en.htm


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