UN Envoy Calls on Donors to Back Afghanistan’s Own Vision for a Civilian ‘Surge’

8 Jul 2009

UN Envoy Calls on Donors to Back Afghanistan’s Own Vision for a Civilian ‘Surge’

KABUL - UN envoy Kai Eide on Wednesday welcomed Afghan Government plans to tie a proposed ‘surge’ of civilian international experts to the country’s most pressing rebuilding needs.

Dari - Pashto

Eide, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, told a meeting of the Afghan-international Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) that donor support efforts had to be aligned behind needs identified by the Afghan people and their own Government.

Nearly thirty donors and international organisations attended today’s meeting of the JCMB. The Minister for Finance, Omar Zakhilwal used the occasion to spell out immediate needs for 55 international civilian experts to help extend the reach of Government services in areas including agriculture, infrastructure development, governance, and economic growth. Under the plan, these experts would be deployed in both Kabul and the provinces.

Minister Zakhilwal said: "The Afghan Government is extremely pleased with the support shown for the civilian technical assistance plan by the donor community. Its willingness to embrace the core principle of Afghan owned, demand driven, technical assistance focused on effective capacity development has the potential to increase the impact made by international advisors in Afghan Ministries and Agencies".

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Kai Eide said:” I welcome the Government’s plan highlighting its priority needs from a civilian surge of experts. The Government must have ownership of where and how these experts are deployed to ensure Afghans are getting the help that they want.

“We can only succeed by ensuring Afghan leadership and ownership of our development efforts. We must support Afghan capacity to deliver services and build their own Government institutions. Afghanistan needs experts who know the local languages, understand the culture and are able to stay longer. These experts will play a vital role in helping Afghanistan tackle the corrosive influence of corruption, boost economic growth for Afghanistan’s poorest communities and forge ahead with vital road building and other major infrastructure projects which are desperately needed.

“International community support for Afghanistan has never been stronger. It is also becoming more coordinated and focused in supporting programs prioritised by the Afghan Government. There is a clear improvement in the way we work together and I hope this will be reflected in firm commitments from donors to ensure the need for expertise in these key areas are met swiftly.”

Today’s JCMB meeting was co-chaired by the UN Special Representative for the Secretary General, Kai Eide and the Afghan Minister of Finance, Omar Zakhilwal.