US$ 4 billion plan for Afghanistan
KABUL - US$ 4 billion in assistance for Afghan-led projects nationwide has been earmarked over a period of four years from 2010 to 2013.
The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) – a product of nine months of collaborative planning by 28 UN agencies in Afghanistan with constructive feedback from the Afghan government and the international community – was crafted from July 2008 to April 2009, signed in May by UN and Afghan officials, and then launched on UN Day 24 October 2009.
“We are looking forward… that we can work together in achieving the goals of the ANDS (Afghanistan National Development Strategy) and the people of Afghanistan,” said Afghan Economy Minister Dr Mohammad Jalil Shams who signed UNDAF for the Afghan government.
Dr Shams, who expressed his elation over UNDAF’s launch on UN Day, said: “It is very important to us as it will launch a new strategy” for Afghanistan which has been a member of the United Nations since 1946.
UNDAF “will make programmes more complementary to each other… and in compliance with the priorities of the Afghan people and priorities identified by the Government of Afghanistan,” he added.
The Afghan economic minister stressed that the Ministry of Economy (MoE) is ”the counterpart of the UN in the implementation of this assistance framework” and that he is already looking forward to implementing it with development officials, especially at the sub-national level.
Explaining that the MoE is the secretariat of the councils that will monitor and evaluate UNDAF projects, Dr Shams assured the UN and all concerned agencies of the “full support of the MoE.”
“We are at you disposal,” the economic minister said, recalling that throughout Afghanistan’s “very grievous history of ups and downs… we had always support from the UN – not only in this regime under which we are now living in peace.”
The MoE will be one of the lead Afghan implementing agencies for UNDAF which will ensure that Afghanistan’s “sub-national levels” of 34 provinces will receive their share of UNDAF funds averaging US$1 billion per year for development projects in the Afghan countryside.
UNDAF will focus on three main clusters of development, namely: governance, peace and stability; agriculture, food security and income opportunities; and health, education, water and sanitation.
The UN in Afghanistan will focus “where needs are greatest as tabulated and analyzed by agencies to be much more responsive to the needs of the country,” assured Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Robert Watkins.
Mr Watkins called UNDAF “a major achievement” and a “strategic shift in how we do business.”
With all UN agencies in Afghanistan contributing to UNDAF, Mr Watkins said this assured a “very, very wide number of mandates all trying to work together to make sure that effort is maximized” for the host country.
By Aurora V. Alambra, UNAMA