Co-Chairs’ Statement Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) Meeting
KABUL - 1. The twenty-third Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) meeting was held on Wednesday July 28, 2021 at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan. The main purpose of the meeting was to review progress on the Afghanistan Partnership Framework (APF) so that a positive Joint Review can be obtained at the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in November leading to continuation of external assistance as pledged at the Afghanistan 2020 Conference held in Geneva in November 2020.
2. The participants acknowledged that this JCMB is happening under unusual circumstances when the country faces triple challenges of Covid-19, drought and intensified war. The international partners reiterated their commitment to a democratic and peaceful Afghanistan. They further emphasized that Afghan authorities have the primary responsibility to provide stability, security, and protection of all civilians throughout Afghanistan.
3. The participants emphasized that Afghanistan needs a lasting ceasefire and an immediate end to the current violence. There is no military solution. Only an Afghan-led, inclusive political settlement that leaves no one behind—including women and girls—will bring needed support from the international community to bring the peace and prosperity that all citizens of Afghanistan deserve/have the right to enjoy. In the interest of the Afghan people, the Taliban and various terrorist organizations must lay down their weapons.
4. The international community and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan jointly reaffirmed core principles and committed to implement international agreements on human rights particularly the rights of women and girls to inclusive and equitable human and economic development for all Afghans; and to the protection of minorities. The principles define the larger contours under which development in the country needs to take place and are critical for ensuring the welfare of the people of Afghanistan. The Meeting acknowledged the Government’s continued commitment to the six core Principles of the APF and discussed the opportunities, challenges, and way forward.
5. The participants supported the efforts of the Government to effectively implement principles of governance embedded in the Afghan Constitution, particularly its commitment to improve governance and the rule of law, bolster transparency and anti-corruption efforts, stabilize the economy, and address human rights, and gender equality in support of Afghanistan’s future.
6. The Meeting affirmed the mutual commitment of the International Community and the Afghan Government to preserve and protect the gains of the last two decades. It emphasised achieving human rights for everyone: especially for women and girls and ethnic and religious minorities. A commitment to democracy, and preserving civil liberties was also reaffirmed. The fight against corruption needs to be further strengthened with focus on results and the delivery of basic services maintained for all Afghans, and integrity of public finance ensured. Economic growth, which is inclusive and sustainable, is needed. Participants noted that the deterioration in government revenue caused by conflict and drought imposes a major challenge to the development budget. The international partners encouraged the Government to prioritise and focus on essential and life-saving services to reduce the suffering of Afghans.
7. The Meeting emphasized the importance of implementing the national priority programs under Afghan National Peace and Development Framework - 2 (ANPDF-II) and need for an effective monitoring system and results framework. The meeting noted the Government’s combined anti-corruption/public financial reform strategy, which is intended to achieve structural reforms that remove corruption from the budget process.
8. The Meeting noted that a self-reliant Afghanistan can only stand if there is a stable economic foundation. Sustainable and inclusive economic growth, poverty reduction, and job creation are major tasks before the Government and development partners. This requires improving the investment climate, adequate infrastructure, and responsive legal and policy environment in the country as well as regional cooperation. Suppressing the illicit economy, notably the production, trade, and consumption of narcotics will be another key task.
9. The Meeting included voices from civil society especially on preservation of civic space so the NGOs can deliver humanitarian services for people of Afghanistan. Participants welcomed the contribution of civil society and the private sector and reaffirmed their roles in the democratic and socio-economic development of Afghanistan. Non-government organizations jointly with Government will continue to play key roles in humanitarian response to the looming drought. These efforts will be led by the Office of First Vice President. The participants welcomed the presidential decree to remove the ban on signing of MoUs with NGOs and expected improvements in the enabling environment for the operation of NGOs.
10. The Co-Chairs thanked the participants and looked forward to the Senior Officials Meeting in November 2021.