KABUL (Agencies): This year’s Afghanistan Conference, slated to take place in late November in Geneva, will be a milestone event in the country’s quest for peace, prosperity and self-reliance, says the UN mission here.
Jointly organised by the governments of Afghanistan and Finland, as well as the United Nations, the conference will renew international and the Ghani administration’s commitments to the development and stability of Afghanistan.
A statement from UNAMA said the participants would agree to joint development goals for 2021-24 and to coordinate uplift cooperation regarding financial support for Afghanistan.
The event comes at a historic moment as the launch of the Afghan peace talks affords new opportunities for development, according to the UN mission.
Acting Minister of Finance Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal commented: ‘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 Afghans and the unmatched confidence-building measures taken by the government.’
He stressed the Afghans must remain united in their vision and ambition to realise a progressive, prosperous, democratic, free and stable Afghanistan at peace with itself, its neighbours and the world.
On development, he called for continued emphasis on high-level planning. The minister stressed the focus must shift to delivery and implementation.
The government and its international partners must work together on a vision for demonstrable reduction in poverty, Arghandiwal continued.
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.
‘Corruption, which drains Afghanistan’s valuable resources and interrupts the process of realising self-reliance, must be fought in all its forms,’ he said.
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said: ‘For the first time in decades there is a real chance for peace. Finland stands firmly with other development partners in supporting Afghanistan towards sustainable development, prosperity and a lasting peace.
Inclusivity and women’s meaningful participation at all stages of the peace process were vital for peace and development, Haavisto added.
Despite making progress since 2001 in its political, social and economic outlook, Afghanistan needs to make decisive efforts to reach its potential as a stable, peaceful and self-reliant society during the last years of its Transformation Decade (2015-2024).
Deborah Lyons, the UN secretary-general’s special representative, remarked: ‘This is a critical moment for Afghanistan, as it embarks upon peace negotiations to end the decades-long conflict.
She hoped the international community would use the occasion 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,’ said.
Finland’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari said his country was looking forward to co-hosting the pledging conference together with the government of Afghanistan and the UN.
‘Solving the complex challenges in Afghanistan requires joint efforts and long-term commitment from Afghanistan and the international community,’ he said.
‘Together with our partners we are committed to reshaping the aid architecture while ensuring that it will preserve the progress achieved over the past decades and strengthen the further realisation of human rights and democratic principles.’
The event will take place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on November 23-24, in a hybrid format where delegates may also participate virtually.
More than 70 countries, international organisations and Afghan government officials, as well as civil society representatives, are expected to participate in the conference.