Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Geneva Conference: A Reliable Path to Ensure Afghanistan’s Transformation Decade

The National Unity Government and the international community met on 27-28 November 2018 at the United Nations in Geneva to renew their partnership and cooperation for Afghanistan’s peace, prosperity and self-reliance.  Delegations from 61 countries and 35 international organizations, and representatives of civil society, the private sector and the media attended the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, co-hosted by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United Nations. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, delivered keynote addresses. The conference was co-chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani, Minister of Finance Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, and Special Representative of the Secretary-General Tadamichi Yamamoto.  At the end of Conference, Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the National Unity Government, concluded the conference.
In 2011 at the Bonn conference on Afghanistan, the international community agreed on a “Transformation Decade” for the country. During this period, Afghanistan was promised very considerable amounts of international assistance so that the country could achieve self-reliance by 2024. At the Tokyo Conference in 2012 a system of high-level periodic reviews was put in place with ministerial meetings (invitation to Foreign Ministers because of the comprehensive and political nature of the meetings) every two years and senior officials meeting in the intervening years. The ministerial conferences in 2012 (Tokyo) and 2016 (Brussels) became major pledging conferences obtaining over $16 billion and $15 billion respectively for the years that followed. The next major pledging conference is in 2020.
The Tokyo conference (2012) also introduced the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF) as a means to provide direction for the development of Afghanistan through mutual commitments between the Government and the international community. A system of high-level periodic reviews takes place via either the ministerial conference or the senior officials meeting every year. The senior officials meetings are held in Kabul and the ministerials are held outside Afghanistan in order to garner continued political support from capitals. The London Ministerial of 2014 strongly reaffirmed the continued support of the international community and continued monitoring the implementation of commitments by the Afghan Government.
The Brussels Ministerial of 2016 was a pledging conference and included political and strategic elements. The 2018 Geneva conference will not be a pledging conference like those in Tokyo and Brussels, but more focused on policy and strategy. In line with the Security Council mandate for the UN to coordinate international donor assistance to Afghanistan, the UN has been co-chairing ministerial and senior officials meetings. Following the senior officials meeting held in Kabul on 5 October 2017 the Afghan Government (President Ghani and the Minister of Finance) asked the United Nations to hold the ministerial conference of 2018 at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The way forward
Afghanistan has taken tangible steps towards self-reliance since 2016. As a result, the report of progress achieved by the government since the Brussels Conference, including on enhanced public financial management and streamlined national budgeting; reviewed remaining challenges was warmly welcomed by the participants; And called for increased efforts to fight corruption and illicit narcotics, and promote peace, stability and the rule of law; and, adopted the Geneva Mutual Accountability Framework. Afghanistan was ensured to be support on its policies strengthening national and subnational governance, regional economic cooperation and connectivity. The experience of Afghanistan shows that efficient and transparent monitoring and review of reform can further strengthen mutual accountability.
Afghanistan parliamentary and presidential elections were among the top agenda of the conference and the participants acknowledged that holding parliamentary elections in October 2018 was an important step in the consolidation of democracy. Presidential elections scheduled for April 2019 and future elections need to draw on the lessons learned in order to continually enhance the transparent, credible and participatory process to the benefit of all citizens.
Afghanistan peace process has started a new critical phase. As a result, participants called on all concerned to seize this opportunity for an Afghan owned and led peace process as the only viable path to satisfy the citizens’ desire for an end to conflict, sustained and broad-based economic growth, and a more prosperous tomorrow. This can strengthen the Afghan government to achieve peace based on the important steps it has taken this year.
According to the decisions of the this conference,  the senior officials will meet in 2019, and the next ministerial conference will be held in 2020 at which future commitments to Afghanistan’s long-term development will be discussed in light of the government’s achievements and growth agenda and the Geneva Mutual Accountability Framework.
The international community strongly reaffirmed their continued support to the progress and the programs of the National Unity Government on peace, reforms and development and pledged to continue their support, aid and cooperation during the Afghanistan’s Transformation Decade (2015-2024).