Sumario: March 30, 2004: Afghanistan: How the EU is making a difference (Brussels)
The European Union (EU) has been and continues to be one of the major donors backing the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Taking together contributions from the Community Budget and Member States, the EU provided over €850 million in 2002 and €835 million in assistance to Afghanistan in 2003 to help in its reconstruction efforts.
At the Tokyo donors' conference in 2002 http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/afghanistan/intro/arsg.htm, the European Commission (EC) played a leading part in this EU performance. The Commission promised €1 billion over 5 years. In both 2002 and 2003, the actual amount committed to Afghanistan has been higher, and assistance has been delivered swiftly. At the 31 March 1 April Berlin International Conference on Afghanistan, Europe will again be a significant participant.
This reconstruction support is only part of the story. Europe is also playing a lead role in providing troops for the International Security Assistance Force and the growing number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams which aim to improve the security and stability for Afghanistan.
Contributions from the Community Budget have outstripped the Tokyo pledge. In Tokyo, the Commission effectively pledged €200 million per year for Afghanistan. In 2002, the Commission delivered over €280 million (including €72 million from ECHO). In 2003, the Commission delivered over €300 million (including extra €50 million to promote security by supporting police salaries and training, and € 55 million from ECHO). In 2004, the EC expects to commit around €245 million for reconstruction and humanitarian support.
The European Commission is delivering fast. In both 2002 and 2003, over 70 percent of funds were actually contracted within one year. This is an impressive performance for the EC and indeed for any agency. Delivery is accelerating. Between July 2003 and April 2004, the EC expects to commit a total of €337 in development assistance alone. By August 2004, the EC expects that, at least 80 percent of this will be contracted.
Security is the single biggest problem facing Afghanistan at present. The problem of warlordism continues to undermine the ability of the Afghan government to spread its authority nationwide, and terrorist actions underline the continuing instability in some parts of the country. The south/south east of Afghanistan is increasingly a no-go area for foreigners, and €13 million of EC aid had to be suspended at the end of 2003 due to security concerns. A number of Member States are contributing to improved security through NATO or through their own Provisional Reconstruction Teams. The EC is supplying aid to support Germany and Italy in their lead role on law, order and justice.
The EC is also actively supporting the UK in their lead role in the fight against opium poppy production.
Poor security is inextricably linked to the continuing prevalence of narcotics which helps fund illegal activities. Afghanistan is once again the largest producer of opium poppy in the world with bumper crops in both 2002 and 2003. This activity may now account for as much as 50% of Afghanistan's GDP. This represents a concrete danger to Europe, since 90% of the heroin on Europe's streets now comes from Afghanistan. The European Union welcomes the unequivocal statement from the Afghan Government at the recent International Anti-Narcotics Conference in Kabul (8-9 February) stating its determination to stamp out poppy production.
Capacity within the Afghan administration to deliver services is uneven. While some Ministries are improving, others remain weak. For Afghanistan to reap the full benefit of international assistance, rapid reforms are necessary.
Just under €100 million is being devoted to the strengthening of the government in Kabul, through reform of the public sector, capacity building within key government institutions, and continued financial support for the government's recurrent budget. This helps the Afghan government deliver services, which are urgently required by the population.
The EC is channelling over €100 million to rural development to underpin the rapid growth that will provide legitimate long term employment for rural communities. Almost three-quarters of the Afghan population depend on agriculture for their livelihood. In addition, €9 million will be targeted explicitly on providing alternative livelihoods in the Eastern region for those who might otherwise depend on illicit poppy cultivation.
The EC is supplying €65 million to help the Afghan police impose law and order, another key component in Afghanistan's fight against drugs. Lastly, Afghanistan must be better able to stop smugglers on its borders if the drugs trade is to be controlled. To this end, the EC is financing a project to strengthen border control on the Afghan-Iran border so the authorities are better able to interdict and stop drug smugglers.
Beyond drugs and security, Afghanistan faces the challenge of preparing for elections this year, a key milestone in the Bonn Process to stabilisation and democratisation. By early 2003, the European Union has financed €30 million for voter registration, nearly half of the original budget for this exercise. Within this, the Commission contributed €15 million.
In addition the EC is making an important contribution to the regeneration of the national economy by helping to repair the roads network (€90 million), boost public health (€25 million) and remove mines and unexploded ordinance.
The Commission's assistance programmes are making a real difference to Afghans' lives:
|Recovery and Reconstruction||2002 committed||2002 contracted||2003 committed||2003 contracted||2004|
|Aid to uprooted people (B7-302)||24||24||'||'||'|
|Reconstruction support - first tranche (2002: B7-300; 2003: B7-305)||57.5||57.5||79.5||73||'|
|Reconstruction support - second tranche (2002: B7-300; 2003: B7-305)||70.0||64.9||79.5||42||'|
|Food Security (B7-20)||46.6||46.5||30||5.5||'|
|Rapid Reaction Mechanism (B7-671)||6.9||6.9||'||'||'|
|Return of Afghan Nationals ((B7-667)||3.4||2.7||7||3.5||'|
|Reallocation of ALA under-committed funds to Afghanistan||'||'||50||50||'|
|Total Reconstruction Support||208||203 (97%)||246||174 (70 %)||203|
|Humanitarian ECHO||72.5||72.5 (100 %)||55||50.4 (92 %)|||
|Total Humanitarian & Development||280.5||275.5 (98 %)||301||224 (75 %)|||
Contracting figures in February 2004.
For further information:
The EU's relations with Afghanistan - Overview :
For the French and German versions of this document please go to: