Brussels Conference on Afghanistan
International community confirms continued support for and engagement in Afghanistan’s futureOctober 24th, 2016
On 5th October the European Union and the government of Afghanistan co-hosted the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan. This conference brought together 75 countries and 26 international organisations and agencies.
The Conference was co-chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, and the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, on behalf of the European Union. Representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Salahuddin Rabbani, and the Minister of Finance, Eklil Ahmad Hakimi. The Conference was held under the patronage of the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani.
The Conference adopted a Joint Communique renewing the Partnership for Peace and Development, which reflects the breadth of the international community's engagement in Afghanistan over the coming four years. This includes both political and financial support, which will amount to €13.6 billion for the period 2017-2020, and will be accompanied by continued and accountable reforms on the ground. The European Union and its member states constitute the largest donor, expecting to provide up to €5 billion, of the overall figure. This represents a continuation of the European Union's high level of commitment to Afghanistan.
In her welcome address to the conference, the High Representative emphasised that support for Afghanistan is crucial not only for the Afghan people and the future of Afghanistan, but also for the region and the wider international community. She said: “Afghanistan stands at the crossroads of Central Asia and the Indian Ocean, of South Asia and the Middle East. It can become a crucial hub for economic growth in the area and for connectivity among different parts of the world. Today we see an emerging regional consensus for greater economic but also diplomatic and political cooperation towards a stable, secure, and democratic Afghanistan. Here in Brussels we have set the stage for a new regional and international deal for peace and development in the country.”
With this in mind High Representative Mogherini organised a meeting of key international partners, including the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, regional partners at Ministerial level, including from the People's Republic of China, India and Pakistan, and the Afghan leadership. The High Representative found a common ground among the participants for stepping up regional political support for the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
In his closing speech, when announcing the total financial commitment of the international community as €13.6 billion for the period 2017-2020, Commissioner Mimica said: “The Government of Afghanistan has shared with us this morning its vision of how it intends to achieve self-reliance and increase the welfare of Afghan women, men and children. I am particularly pleased that we brought attention to the empowerment of Afghan women and girls during this conference. Today it has been very clear that now is not the time to reduce our ambition or our investment in the people of Afghanistan.”
A self-reliant, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan is a priority for the European Union, Afghanistan, its neighbours and the wider international community. The Brussels Conference on Afghanistan has delivered both a reform agenda from the Afghan government for the benefit of its citizens, as well as international and regional support and engagement in Afghanistan's political and economic stability and development.