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Funding key for recovery in Afghanistan, UN official tells donors in Brussels

Funding key for recovery in Afghanistan, UN official tells donors in Brussels

A senior United Nations official who is leading the international recovery effort in Afghanistan today urged donors meeting in Brussels to fund the country's long-term reconstruction.

Mark Malloch Brown, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), underscored the importance of providing enough funding for the "recovery phase" - the initial year that aims at building a bridge between short-term humanitarian efforts and longer-term reconstruction.

Addressing the Conference on Recovery and Reconstruction in Afghanistan, organized by the European Union, he noted that the recovery phase would include quick impact projects ranging from food and employment assistance to the resumption of education and civil works programmes. He said the recovery plan would tap the resources of the Afghan diaspora and give special priority to women's involvement, both as planners and benefactors of the programmes.

Meanwhile a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said today in Islamabad that of the nearly $662 million being sought by the UN for relief work in Afghanistan, some $358 million had been received.

Spokesman Einar Holtet said that only one agency – the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) – was fully covered. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) achieved 81 per cent of its requirements and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 59 per cent.

"UN agencies so far received funds covering 12 per cent of needs in water and sanitation and no contributions at all for education, economic recovery and infrastructure," he said. Other sectors such as health services, mine action and agriculture are covered at about 30 per cent.

In other news, the UN International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) reported today that poppy cultivation had resumed and was extensive among desperate farmer families in Helmand province. With the poppy cultivation period just beginning, the price of 1 kilogramme of raw opium has gone down to $275. That figure is still nine times higher than it was in June, according to UNDCP.