The ministerial-level pledging conference this year is being jointly organized by the Afghan government, the government of Finland and the United Nations.
It aims to renew international and Afghan commitments to the development and stability of the country, to agree to joint development goals for the years 2021 through to 2024 and to coordinate development cooperation regarding financial support for the country.
In a joint statement issued by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Tuesday, calls were made by all three parties for the Afghan government and foreign development partners to work together.
”Afghanistan is at a critical juncture. On peace, we have moved from desirability to feasibility and credibility due, largely, to the sacrifices made by the Afghan people and the unmatched confidence-building measures taken by the Afghan government,” said Afghanistan’s Acting Minister of Finance, Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal.
.” When we look into the future, we must remain united in our vision and ambition to realize a progressive, prosperous, democratic, free and stable Afghanistan in peace with itself, its neighbors and the world,” he said.
“On development, while maintaining emphasis on high-level planning, the focus must shift to delivery and implementation,” he said adding that the Afghan government and its international development partners must work together on a vision for demonstrable reduction in poverty that is realistic and well-targeted.
He stated that investment in peace and development must provide sufficient guarantees for gender equity, protection of human rights, women’s rights and the rights of minorities as well as democratic principles.
“The Republic is a true embodiment of Afghanistan’s diversity and must be strengthened. Corruption, which drains Afghanistan’s valuable resources and interrupts the process of realizing self-reliance, must be fought in all its forms,” he said.
With the conference taking place during a historic period in Afghanistan’s history – after peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban got underway this past weekend in Doha – UNAMA states that this provides new opportunities for development.
According to the statement, stronger partnerships and sustained international support are critical in helping to achieve and sustain peace after 40 years of war.
Pekka Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland said that it’s the first time in decades that there is a real chance for peace.
She said Finland stands firmly with other international partners in supporting Afghanistan but highlighted that “inclusivity and women’s meaningful participation at all stages of the peace process are vital for peace and development.”
Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan seconded this and said this was a critical time for Afghanistan as it works towards ending the decades-old war.
On the upcoming pledging summit, she said: “I hope the international community uses this occasion in Geneva to reaffirm its steadfast support to Afghanistan’s development, in parallel with the peace process.
“The UN is committed to working with the Afghan Government, Finland, and the donor community to deliver the best possible outcome for the benefit of all Afghans,” she said.
Ville Skinnari, Finland’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade also weighed in and said his country was looking forward to co-hosting the conference.
“Solving the complex challenges in Afghanistan requires joint efforts and long-term commitment from Afghanistan and the international community,” he said adding that together with other foreign stakeholders, Finland was committed to reshaping the aid architecture while ensuring it will preserve the progress achieved over the past 19 years.
The event will take place in Geneva and attended “virtually” by more than 70 countries, international organizations and Afghan officials.
UNAMA stated that in view of ongoing travel and gathering restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, further information about conference logistics and the agenda will be made available closer to the date of the event.