INTERVIEW: Michael Keating, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan
KABUL - Michael Keating, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan, said the international support to the Afghan security forces post-2014 should be matched by “generous level of funding” in economic and development activities. Click here for the full interview
Speaking ahead of a major international conference taking place in Tokyo tomorrow to pledge support to Afghanistan’s socio-economic and development sectors, Mr Keating expressed his expectation in an interview that there is willingness in the international community to fund the socio-economic and development sectors despite the current global economic climate.
“We want two things: a clear deal between the Afghans and the international community and generous levels of funding,” he said about his expectation from the Tokyo conference. “…resources for human development and humanitarian response must be in some kind of proportion to the money that is being spent on the military, particularly after 2014.”
In his message to the international community, he said, “A strong message is that not only do we need to respond to basic needs like health, education, jobs and agricultural support; we also need to address some of the greatest concerns of Afghans—lack of justice and rule of law.”
He also said donor-country taxpayers and politicians want the Afghan Government to also demonstrate a very clear and strong agenda for tackling things like corruption, strengthening the rule of law and ensuring that the elections take place.
At an international meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) held in Chicago in May, NATO allies reaffirmed their "strong commitment" to play their part in the financial sustainment of the Afghan National Security Forces with US$ 4.1 billion annual funding following withdrawal of the most of the international troops by the end of 2014. The international community, in the Tokyo Conference, is expected to pledge their support in social and development sectors.
However, Mr Keating expressed his disappointment that despite a UN appeal earlier this year of US$ 437 million for humanitarian preparedness and response in Afghanistan for 2012, only 30 per cent of the requested amount has been received six months after the appeal and, on top of that, the Emergency Response Fund is empty. “The failure to replenish the Emergency Response Fund and to increase the level of funding through the CAP is affecting the ability of NGOs and UN agencies to respond to the urgent needs of communities,” said Mr Keating, who is also the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan.
He said departure of the international military may trigger less opportunities and jobs for the people if the departure is accompanied by a decrease in development resources, increasing the need for response to humanitarian crises. “We need to be ready but we should not be alarmist.”