“In the immediate months ahead, the Afghan administration will be under pressure to achieve quick results in its reconstruction efforts, meeting pressing needs in a way that gives the citizens a stake in peace and stability, and enhancing national integration,” states the needs assessment report, which was provided to the international donor community today – a week before the opening of the two-day International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan in Tokyo.
The report emphasizes the need to help as many Afghans as possible to reclaim their lives by providing access to health services, schooling for children – especially girls – and jobs for adults. Demining is also accorded priority, according to the report.
In addition, the report calls for a community-based approach to development while underlining the critical role to be played by women in Afghanistan’s reconstruction. In addition, it urges attention to drug control.
Underscoring Afghanistan’s critical reconstruction needs, UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown told a press briefing in New York today that the Afghan Interim Administration “is a Government with quite literally empty coffers.”
“There’s no early prospect of the Government securing its own revenue base,” noted Mr. Malloch Brown, who has been designated by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to head the recovery effort for the war-ravaged, drought-stricken nation.
The UNDP Administrator stressed the need for long-term attention to Afghanistan’s needs. “Our whole point is to get [donor] governments to come up with as clear a commitment as possible to which we can then hold them in the years when you guys don’t turn out for my press conferences on Afghanistan and there’s less press pressure to keep governments honest on this,” he told reporters.