Afghanistan and international partners in Kabul on Tuesday officially launched preparations for the 2020 Afghanistan Conference, scheduled to take place November 23-24 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, co-hosted by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA), Finland and the United Nations.
launch event was attended by representatives of more than 70 countries and international organizations, as well as civil society representatives either virtually or physically at the Presidential Char Chinar Palace in the Afghan capital, according to a UN statement.
The 2020 Afghanistan Conference is the last pledging conference of the Transformation Decade (2015-24), which aims to take the country towards self-reliance, and is expected to renew international community and Afghan commitments to the development and stability of Afghanistan up to 2024, said a statement by event organizers.
The main conference will take place on November 24, with side events to discuss key challenges and accomplishments for Afghanistan occurring the day before.
The acting minister of finance, Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, in his opening remarks said: “The 2020 Afghanistan Conference presents a unique opportunity to work together with a strong commitment to the principles of aid effectiveness and mutual accountability for improved transparency, legitimacy, as well as effectiveness. Progress on mutual accountability is all the more important and both the government as well as our international partners must hold themselves and each other accountable for use of development resources and for development results.”
Despite many problems, politicians and civil society leaders maintain that Afghanistan has achieved real progress since 2001 in economic and social fields, as well as with democratic institutions, governance and human rights – especially that of women, children and minorities.
“The process of preparing for the conference has provided us, as partners, an opportunity to have a comprehensive and detailed discussion on Afghanistan’s past, present, and future development trajectory. More specifically, the conference will be an opportunity to signal to the Afghan people the international community’s continued partnership with Afghanistan,” President Ashraf Ghani said in a recorded message.
The Conference will devise a second version of the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF-II) which provides vision, strategy and plans for development for the 2021-25 period and is organized around the three pillars of market-, state-, and peace-building. It will form the foundation of a new aid framework, said organizers.
“Preparations for the 2020 Afghanistan Conference are well underway, in good cooperation with our co-hosts the Government of Afghanistan and UNAMA. At this extraordinary time, it is more important than ever that the development partners continue their strong support to the Afghan people and ensure the long-term development of the country on its path to peace, prosperity and self-reliance,” said Janne Taalas, Finland’s Special Envoy to the 2020 Afghanistan Conference.
UNAMA's head of mission also spoke at the event:
“As critical peace talks progress in Doha, the international community recommits its stand with the Afghan people to ending the war and building a better future with stability, sound governance and greater economic opportunities,” said Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
More than 70 countries, international organizations and Afghan Government officials, as well as civil society representatives are expected to take part in the conference, the UNAMA statement said.