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Brussels, 6 July 2012
Afghanistan – EU cooperation
The European Union is one of the major donors providing development and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. In fact, immediately after the establishment of the Interim Transitional authority, the EU set up a Delegation in Kabul in February 2002.
Between 2002 and end 2011 the EU committed some €2.5 billion assistance to Afghanistan, including € 382 million in humanitarian assistance. By end 2011, the EU had disbursed more than € 2 billion, i.e. 85% of the committed funds. New support programmes of a total value of € 200 million are under preparation for commitment in 2012.
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.
Support to regional cooperation
Better regional cooperation could help to stabilize Afghanistan and the region, with the impending withdrawal of international forces in 2014. New initiatives were recently launched; in particular the Istanbul (‘Heart of Asia’) process set in motion by Turkey.
Some key EU interests are at stake in the region surrounding Afghanistan: both in terms of security; reducing the scope for violent conflict, combating drugs, extremism and mass migration; but also in encouraging progress; increasing the scope for European trade and investment and safeguarding human rights.
Regional cooperation activities initiated by the EU are mainly covered under Afghanistan and Central Asian country programmes and include support to customs facilities and border management (borders with Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), reintegration and refugees and prevention of drug trafficking.
The EU also supported the Border Management in Badakhshan (BOMBAF) Programme, implemented by UNDP-Tajikistan from 2007-2010. The programme focused mainly on the physical rehabilitation of three major border crossing points to Tajikistan and the training of border police, especially on narcotics trafficking.
The EU continues to support regional cooperation between Afghanistan and its Northern neighbouring countries through a follow-up project (Border Management Northern Afghanistan BOMNAF), which will extend the intervention to the entire Tajik and Uzbek border with Afghanistan. In addition to infrastructure and supplies, the programme will establish a Border Liaison Offices to allow for increased cross-border interagency cooperation at the border. Another component will be to support the construction of a permanent Customs Training Academy to increase the capacity of key officials in the Afghan Customs Department.
In Afghanistan, the EU will also contribute towards setting up a comprehensive Human Resource Management System for the Afghan Customs Department.
Examples of how the EU is making a difference in Afghanistan
Police reform: Afghan police are paid reliably and transparently through an Electronic Payroll System operating in all 115 payroll stations in 34 provinces nationwide. The civilian police force is also being progressively strengthened through capacity building and reform measures.
Improved health services: 65% of the population have access to primary healthcare (up from 9% in 2002) and basic services are now provided to over five million Afghans in ten different provinces.
In 2010 only, nearly 100,000 deliveries were attended and babies vaccinated, resulting in a significant decrease in deaths of infants and children under 5.
Social protection and inclusion of extremely vulnerable children: Between 2006 and 2008 more than 9,000 children benefited from non-formal education, vocational training, recreational activities, sports, health and hygiene education. Social protection programmes helped 1,500 children to enter public schools.
Through the creation of local expertise, by means of specialised training and creation of local skills disability services are now offered across the country.
Water resource management has been improved through the development of a legal framework and specialised training to communities and authorities; resulting in the protection of 40% of Afghan water resources. The Khanabad Irrigation Scheme has been recently rehabilitated and the Khanabad river's main barrage and its secondary canals have been modernised. As a result, irrigation is provided for 35,000 ha serving an agricultural population of 50,000 people. The risks of damage caused by unregulated flows are now also reduced.
Stronger rural communities: 390 district Development Assemblies have been set-up in 2011, enabling community representation at a higher administrative level, and a wider participation of communities in the design and implementation of development programs.
2,317 Saving Groups (54% female) and 85 Enterprise Groups (45% female) have been created, contributing to an increase in savings, inter-loaning, and development of micro rural enterprises recording very low default rates.
Strengthened horticulture and seeds industry: Tree nurseries and orchards benefited from support to farmers and to about 1,000 nursery growers in 58 districts of 21 provinces.
6 EU-funded Perennial Horticulture Development Centres (PHDCs) recognised horticulture hubs in the country were created. They maintain the National Collection of fruit varieties (about 850 clones of 15 fruit species).
As part of the Commission-funded Animal Health Development Programme carried out in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, a Central Veterinary Diagnostic & Research Laboratory (CVDRL) has been established and is now at work.
It aim is to improve agricultural production in quantity and quality by carrying out effective animal disease surveillance across the country.
Regional cooperation: the busiest port of entry between Afghanistan and Pakistan – Torkham – was set up in November 2007. It now collects 25% of the Afghanistan customs department revenue and is the Government's major source of revenue.