Afghanistan gearing up for tomorrow’s Kabul Conference
19 July 2010 - Final preparations are underway in the Afghan capital of Kabul today as dozens of foreign ministers are arriving for the first major international conference on Afghanistan to be hosted in the country.
The Kabul Conference, hosted by the Government of Afghanistan and co-chaired by the United Nations, is seen as an opportunity for national leaders to show how they and the Afghan people are working together to increasingly take the lead and responsibility for the functions of their country, with support from the international community.
At tomorrow’s conference, the Government will lay out its national priorities and programmes in the areas of security, governance, social and economic development and better service delivery to citizens.
The Government has already presented 23 national priority programmes in these areas earlier this month at the Joint Coordination Monitoring Board (JCMB) which was also co-chaired by the United Nations.
“This is a crucial year for Afghanistan,” Staffan de Mistura, the top UN envoy in Afghanistan, told media prior to the conference.
“The Afghans want to tell the international community, give us more of a chance to show that we can handle our future both on the civil and the military side.”
With the Government setting priorities, the international community will be asked to align existing development support behind these national priorities to strengthen delivery of services.
The United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA), led by de Mistura, has set enhancing aid coherence and effectiveness as one of its three main priorities in 2011.
“This is not a pledging conference. It is not about asking for new money from the international community, but of realignment of existing support behind national priorities,” said de Mistura.
“’Transition’ is another key word you will hear more of in the conference,” he told journalists in Kabul the day before the conference. “Transition from military to civilian-led assistance, and then a transition from civilian assistance led by internationals to one led by Afghans.”
To hear more of Special Representative de Mistura's interview today with one of the media in Kabul, click here.
Meanwhile, security in Kabul and around the country is on high alert as more than 70 delegations, including some 40 foreign ministers, 10 deputy foreign minister and leaders of more than 10 multilateral organizations, are arriving today.
Afghan security agencies are working double time to secure the city. Additional roadblocks have been set up to form a restrictive barrier around the radius of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the conference will take place.
To further strengthen security, the Afghan Government has declared today and tomorrow public holidays to limit unnecessary movement in the city.