The Afghan government and the United Nations are expected to host an international conference on Afghanistan in Geneva at the end of next month where the world is expected to renew its commitment and solidarity with the Afghan people and the Afghan government in their bid for peace and security.
The conference provides a platform for the Afghan government and international community to demonstrate progress and commitment, and maintain the momentum for presidential elections and opportunities for peace and security.
The conference also aims to emphasize the importance and the implementation of mutual commitments made by the Afghan government and the international community towards reform and development and in measuring results against the $15.2 billion committed by the international community for Afghanistan in 2016.
Expected Outcomes of The Summit
1. A joint communiqué.
2. The Geneva Mutual Accountability Framework (GMAF).
3. For the Government of Afghanistan: Gain the continued confidence and support of the international community and of the Afghan people by: presenting progress and continued commitment to reform, democratic processes and development for the people of Afghanistan.
4. For the United Nations: Demonstrate unflinching support and commitment to the development of Afghanistan, as a key contribution for peace and security.
5. For the international partners: Showcase solidarity with Afghanistan and demonstrate to respective domestic audiences that support is leading to results in Afghanistan.
Back in August, the World Bank said that the Geneva conference on Afghanistan in November will be important for the country so as to ensure continued support by the international community towards Afghanistan in years to come.
Speaking to TOLOnews, World Bank country director for Afghanistan Shubham Chaudhuri said at the time that at the conference, donors will assess the performance of the National Unity Government and its programs in order to boost Afghanistan’s economic situation in the future and to improve good governance.
Earlier Tadamichi Yamamoto, the United Nations’ Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan called on the national unity government to take solid steps towards fighting corruption, ensure holding transparent elections and finalizing the investment law in the country before the conference.
According to UNAMA, the conference will also be an opportunity to emphasize the importance of the development and reform agenda and the need to advance it as a constructive contribution to peace and security.
The Geneva Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan will be held between two pledging conferences: the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan (2016) and the next pledging conference expected to be held in 2020.
Background on the Geneva Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan
In 2011 at the Bonn conference on Afghanistan, the international community agreed on a “Transformation Decade” for the country. During this period, Afghanistan was promised considerable amounts of international assistance so that the country could achieve self-reliance by 2024. At the Tokyo Conference in 2012 a system of high-level periodic reviews was put in place with ministerial meetings (invitation to Foreign Ministers because of the comprehensive and political nature of the meetings) every two years and senior officials meeting in the intervening years.
The ministerial conferences in 2012 (Tokyo) and 2016 (Brussels) became major pledging conferences obtaining over $16 billion and $15 billion respectively for the years that followed. The next major pledging conference is in 2020.
The Tokyo conference (2012) also introduced the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF) as a means to provide direction for the development of Afghanistan through mutual commitments between government and the international community. A system of high-level periodic reviews takes place via either the ministerial conference or the senior officials meeting every year.
The senior officials meetings are held in Kabul and the ministerial meetings are held outside Afghanistan in order to garner continued political support from capitals. The London Ministerial of 2014 strongly reaffirmed the continued support of the international community and continued monitoring of the implementation of commitments by the Afghan Government.
The Brussels Ministerial of 2016 was a pledging conference and included political and strategic elements.
The 2018 Geneva Ministerial will not be a pledging conference like those in Tokyo and Brussels, but more focused on policy and strategy. In line with the Security Council mandate for the UN to coordinate international donor assistance to Afghanistan, the UN has been co-chairing ministerial and senior officials meetings. Following the senior officials meeting held in Kabul on 5 October 2017 the Afghan Government (President Ghani and the Minister of Finance) asked the United Nations to hold the ministerial conference of 2018 at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
In July, the international community and the Afghan government convened the 21st Joint Coordination Monitoring Board Meeting (JCMB) to discuss progress, challenges and the way forward in implementing the government’s reform agenda, and on the concrete work to be addressed in the run up to the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, including holding inclusive and credible elections, moving forward on National Priority Programs, and implementing reforms.
The JCMB focused on seven priority reform areas: security sector reforms, aid effectiveness, macro-economic reforms, private sector development, regional partners’ engagement, anti-corruption and justice, and implementation of National Priority Programs. Seven moderated panels featured government officials, international partners, and members of civil society and private sector and discussed progress and challenges in each sector in highly interactive manner.
The JCMB is a series of high-level meetings that take place annually. It is a platform for the Afghan government and international partners to discuss issues of mutual importance and provide each other with updates on the progress, challenges and further developments on their reform commitments as Afghanistan works toward self-reliance.
This was the 21st in its series, titled “Towards the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan.” The meeting was an opportunity to discuss developments following the Senior Officials Meeting of the National Unity Government and international community and determine the way forward leading to the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan to be held in Geneva in November this year.
The timeline for the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan will come in the wake of Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections and ahead of next year’s presidential elections. However, there are still some reservations among critics and the Afghan government about the capability of the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC). But on Monday, the IEC dismissed allegations of mismanagement and weakness and said that the commission, by holding successful parliamentary elections showed that it had the capacity to do the job properly.
On the 2019 presidential elections, he stated: “the commission will soon start preparing for presidential elections.