The United Nations will present a framework of funding priorities for war-ravaged and drought-stricken Afghanistan to donors who will meet in Tokyo next week to discuss plans for the country's recovery.
The two-day International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan, which will be addressed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan when it opens on 21 January, will provide donor governments from around the world with the opportunity to review the "Preliminary Needs Assessment for Recovery and Reconstruction for 2002-2006."
The assessment, which estimates that the reconstruction of Afghanistan will cost some $15 billion over the next decade, was prepared by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank following intensive consultations with Afghan civil society representatives and the Interim Authority, as well as among international development partners.
The assessment focuses on areas identified by many Afghan people as priorities for the reclamation of their lives and country after so many years of hardship and massive population displacement. To that end, the provision of adequate security, resources to pay long-overdue salaries, the future role of Afghan women, enforcement of drug control strategies and continuing demining programmes are all emphasized.
Also during the conference, the UN will present its Immediate and Transitional Assistance Programme for the Afghan People for 2002, prepared in consultation with the interim authorities and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners. That Programme outlines what the UN, international organizations and NGO partners will need to help Afghanistan with immediate relief, recovery and reconstruction and to meet the reintegration needs of the Afghan people - including those living in neighbouring countries. It estimates that some $1.33 billion will be required for a period covering October 2001 to December 2002.
In urging funding for this effort, UN officials stress the importance of ensuring Afghan ownership of the process. "Immediate injections of cash at the community level through labour intensive projects will allow the Afghan people to see the peace dividend for themselves," argue UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Kenzo Oshima. "We must also ensure that Afghanistan's women, who have for so long suffered exclusion, abuse and the loss of their rights, are now supported to play a full role in the country's reconstruction."