Friday, December 19, 2014

Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan

Background

On July 8, 2012, the “Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan” will be held in Tokyo.

  1. Since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the international community has continued its military, humanitarian and development support, to Afghanistan to ensure its security.
    Against this backdrop, the Government of Japan has played a leading role in supporting Afghanistan’s development through enhancing Afghanistan’s independence so as not to let Afghanistan return to the hotbed of terrorism again by implementing such measures as the announcement of the Ogata Initiative, which includes seamless support from humanitarian assistance to that of restoration and reconstruction, and a comprehensive development plan focusing on priority areas; hosting of the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan (Tokyo Conference) in 2002; efforts for disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of former soldiers; the disbandment of illegal armed groups (DIAG) and the reintegration of former Taliban soldiers; education and basic medical treatment; development of farms and infrastructural preparations.
  2. At the International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn held in December 2011, the 10-year period during which the transition from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to the Government of Afghanistan in order to maintain peace and security will be completed (from 2015 to 2024) was defined as the “Transformation Decade”, and the international community committed to offer financial contribution towards economic development and security costs.
  3. At the Meeting on Afghanistan, which was held on the occasion of the NATO Chicago Summit in May 2012, the international community reaffirmed their intention to continue to assist the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) beyond 2014 for the sustainable stability of Afghanistan, issuing a strategic message that the ANSF will continue to be sustainable beyond 2014.
  4. Based on the outcomes of the previous international conferences, the Tokyo Conference aims to pave the way to the sustainable development of Afghanistan, taking into account the situation after 2014.

Conference:

Tokyo international conference for development and economic stability of Afghanistan ended on 8thJuly 2012 with International donors pledges to assists $16 billion aid for Afghanistan over the next four years. The Tokyo conference is being attended by high-level delegates from more than 70 nations and international organizations. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan thanks the participants, donors and technical organizers of this conference and congratulates this great achievement for Afghanistan people.

The economic vision of this conference is for long terms support for Afghanistan. Afghan experts have prepared 22 national priority programs based on their the prior one decade experience which reflect all the development and economic requirements of Afghanistan they highlighted the governance, agriculture, rural development, improvement of private sector and infrastructural projects are in the priority. By implementation of these programs Afghanistan will be self- sufficient, prosperous and economically developed on 2025.

Ministry of Finance will prepare an aid administration policy with international community for financial reforms jointly. If the international community continues implementation of projects like in the past ten years and does not consider the current situation of Afghanistan, it will not so effective for the development of the country. Afghanistan and international community work together for effectiveness of this assistance after Tokyo conference.

 

Outcome and Declaration

 

Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan The Tokyo Declaration
Partnership for Self-Reliance in Afghanistan From Transition to Transformation

July 8, 2012

Preamble

1. The Afghan Government and the International Community (hereafter ”the Participants”) met on July 8, 2012 in Tokyo to reaffirm and further consolidate their partnership from Transition to the Transformation Decade. The Tokyo Conference, together with the Chicago Summit of Afghanistan and ISAF contributing countries of May 2012, established a renewed stronger foundation for partnership to support sustainable growth and development of Afghanistan throughout the Transformation Decade (2015-2024). These undertakings are built on the outcome of the Bonn Conference in December 2011, where the Afghan Government and the International Community mutually renewed their long-term commitments in the areas of governance, security, peace process, economic and social development, and regional cooperation, as well as on the outcomes of the previous international conferences such as the London Conference in January 2010 and the Kabul Conference in July 2010. Chaired by the Japanese and Afghan Governments with the participation of ministers and representatives from 55 countries and 25 international and other organizations from around the world, today’s conference also recognized the increasing roles of new partners and neighboring and regional countries for the sustainable development of Afghanistan.

2. Since the landmark Tokyo Conference of January 2002, with the steadfast and strong support of the International Community, financial and otherwise, Afghanistan has achieved substantial development and made notable progress in many fields of development, including education, health, roads, electricity, and telecommunication, as illustrated at the symposium hosted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on July 6, 2012 in Tokyo. Building on the long-held aspiration of the Afghan people, Afghanistan has laid down the foundations of the democratic system of government, including the promulgation of its new Constitution, enshrining a commitment to pluralism and human rights, in particular the equal rights of women; and the development of increasingly active civil society and vibrant and open media.

3. However, much remains to be done to realize the aspirations of the Afghan people for a peaceful, stable and self-sustaining Afghanistan. With support from the International Community, Afghanistan will continue its progress on such issues as security, with a focus on terrorism and counter-narcotics, poverty reduction, humanitarian needs, provision of basic social services, food security, protection of human rights in particular the rights of women and children, respect for individual dignity, promotion of education and culture, improvement of governance, reducing corruption, lessening reliance on international assistance, and promotion of private investment, thereby contributing to human security.

4. At the Bonn Conference, Afghanistan and the International Community shared a vision for long-term partnership to help Afghanistan attain sustainable economic growth and development and fiscal self-reliance from Transition through the Transformation Decade. Today in Tokyo, the Afghan Government and the International Community succeeded in transforming their mutual commitments made in Bonn to cooperate throughout the Transformation Decade into a solid and credible framework focused on the priorities of the Afghan Government as contained in its strategy paper Towards Self-Reliance. At today’s Conference, Afghanistan and the International Community established the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (hereinafter the ”Tokyo Framework”), which underpins our partnership for the Transformation Decade.

Security and Peace Process

5. The Participants reaffirmed their respect for the sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and independence of Afghanistan, which constitutes an integral component of the peace, well-being and prosperity of the region and beyond. The Participants reaffirmed that peace and security are the foundation on which a stable and prosperous society is built. The Participants recognized that the main threat to Afghanistan’s security and stability comes from terrorism and that this threat also endangers regional and international peace and security. In this regard, the Participants recognized the regional dimensions of terrorism and extremism, including terrorist safe havens, and emphasized the need for sincere and result-oriented regional and international cooperation towards a region free from terrorism in order to secure Afghanistan and safeguard the region and the world against the terrorist threat. The Participants renewed their firm determination to combat terrorism and extremism in all their forms and never to allow Afghanistan to become a sanctuary for international terrorism again.

6. The Participants stressed the critical importance of reducing drug and precursor production and trafficking, which poses another challenge to Afghanistan’s security and its economic growth as well as to international peace and stability; and the responsibility of neighboring and consuming countries to address the demand aspect of counter narcotics. In this context, the Participants took note of the importance of outcomes of the 3rd Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners on Combating the Illicit Drugs and Opiates Originating in Afghanistan held on February 16, 2012 in Vienna. The Afghan Government and the International Community reiterated their determination to counter the menace of illicit narcotic drugs through such means as crop eradication, dismantling of drug production infrastructure and promotion of alternative agriculture and law enforcement, cooperation against illicit drugs and precursor chemicals, as well as money laundering and corruption linked to such trafficking. The Participants stressed that key to this is an end to conflict and the development of alternative livelihoods, as well as effective law enforcement, border control and anti-corruption measures; and the health sector must be able to provide care for those suffering from drug abuse.

7. The Participants welcomed the progress of the Transition process so far. With the announcement of tranche 3 on May 13, 2012, 75 percent of the population will now come under the security protection provided by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). By mid-2013, all parts of Afghanistan will have begun transition and the Afghan forces will be in the lead for security nation-wide, allowing the withdrawal from Afghanistan of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) by the end of 2014. The Participants stressed the importance of protecting civilian population in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The Participants reaffirmed the importance for Afghanistan to attain a fully professional, capable and accountable ANSF that protects the civilian population, in particular women and children, respects the Constitution, and observes Afghan and international laws.

8. The Participants welcomed the clear vision and appropriately funded plan for a sufficient and sustainable ANSF during the Transformation Decade as endorsed at the Chicago Summit of Afghanistan and ISAF contributing countries of May 2012. The International Community reaffirmed its intention to support the training, equipping, financing, and capability development of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) during the Transformation Decade, with the understanding that over the coming years, the International Community is to gradually reduce its financial contribution commensurate with the assumption by the Afghan Government of increasing financial responsibility. The pace and the size of a gradually managed force reduction to a sustainable level are to be conditions-based and decided by the Afghan Government in consultation with the International Community. Development of civilian policing and rule of law capabilities will be among the priorities. International assistance is to be delivered using appropriate, coherent and effective mechanisms guided by the principles of flexibility, transparency, accountability, anti-corruption and cost effectiveness.

9. The Participants reaffirmed the importance of the peace and reconciliation process with a view to ending the ongoing violence in the country and restoring lasting peace and security as per the UN Security Council Resolutions and as stated in the London and Kabul Communiqu}s, and reconfirmed in the Bonn Conclusions. The process that will lead to reconciliation and peace must be inclusive, represent the legitimate interests of all Afghans and be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. In this context, the Participants reiterated the importance of reconciliation principles such as the renunciation of violence, the breaking of ties to international terrorism and respect for the Afghan Constitution, including its human rights provisions, notably the rights of women, and emphasized the region’s respect and support for the peace process and its outcome. The Participants recognized the importance of reintegration as an integral part of the peace process, which will pave the way for community recovery and post-conflict rehabilitation of Afghan society through improving security, community development and local governance. In this regard, the International Community welcomed the progress made in reintegration efforts so far including the reintegration of over 4,700 ex-combatants. The International Community welcomed the appointment of the new Chairman of the High Peace Council, Mr. Salahuddin Rabbani, reaffirmed its strong support for the peace efforts of the Afghan Government through the High Peace Council and the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP), and called upon the regional countries that can play a positive role to extend all possible cooperation to ensure the success of the peace process. The Participants also stressed the importance of the participation of civil society organizations and women’s groups in support of the peace process and the culture of peace and human rights in Afghan society in particular in the light of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

10. The Participants underscored that sustainable return and reintegration of Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons is essential to security and stability. The International Community reaffirmed the commitment, including in the Solutions Strategy made at UNHCR Geneva Conference on May 2 and 3, 2012, to enhance the development and reintegration potential in Afghanistan to create communities that are viable in the long-term and support the increased return of refugees from neighboring countries. The Afghan Government and the International Community acknowledged the burden of Afghanistan’s neighbors, in particular Pakistan and Iran, in providing temporary refuge to millions of Afghan in difficult times and are committed to further work towards their voluntary, safe and orderly return.

Governance and Strategy for Economic Self-Reliance

11. The Participants recognized that good governance at national and sub-national levels is essential for strong and sustainable economic development and improved livelihoods of the Afghan people. Through the Tokyo Framework, the Afghan Government and the International Community reaffirmed their partnership in the economic growth and development of Afghanistan through a process of mutual accountability, and the transformation of the relationship from recipient and donors to owner and partners.

12. The Participants shared the view that the International Community’s ability to sustain support for Afghanistan depends upon the Afghan Government delivering on its commitments as part of this renewed partnership. In this context, the Afghan Government confirmed its resolve, as expressed at Bonn, that the future of its political system will continue to reflect its pluralistic society and remain firmly founded in the Afghan Constitution. The Afghan people will continue to build a stable, democratic society, based on the rule of law, effective and independent judiciary and good governance, including progress in the fight against corruption. The Afghan Government affirmed that the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens, in particular the equality of men and women, are guaranteed under the Constitution and Afghanistan’s international human rights obligations. The Afghan Government committed to conducting free, fair, transparent, and inclusive elections in 2014 and 2015, in which all the people of Afghanistan participate freely without internal or external interference.

13. The International Community also noted the Afghan Government’s progress on economic governance and ongoing partnership with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank. The International Community welcomed Afghanistan’s efforts to date and noted the importance of further actions, including the resolution of the Kabul Bank issue.

14. The Participants reaffirmed their shared goal of achieving Afghanistan’s long-term economic growth and fiscal self-reliance. To achieve this objective, the Afghan Government has developed Towards Self-Reliance, a strategy for sustainable growth and development to be implemented through the National Priority Programs (NPPs), with a focus on economic growth, revenue generation, jobs, and human development. The Afghan Government is to continue with the planning and implementation of these NPPs in proper and needed sequencing well into the Transformation Decade with reviews at appropriate intervals. The International Community welcomed the Afghan strategy, and reaffirmed its commitment of aligning 80 percent of aid with the NPPs and channeling at least 50 percent of its development assistance through the national budget of the Afghan Government in accordance with the London and Kabul Communiqu}s. In this regard, donors welcomed the headline results from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) review which confirm that there are established and credible mechanisms donors can use to meet their 50 percent on budget commitment beyond 2014. The Participants encouraged other partners, such as the UN agencies, to support alignment and on-budget mechanisms both through their policy roles and their programmatic activities.

15. The Participants reiterated that the Afghan Government will have special, significant, and continuing but declining fiscal requirements that cannot be met by domestic revenues in the years following Transition as has been estimated by the World Bank and the Afghan Government in preparation for the Tokyo Conference. To help address the budget shortfall, the International Community committed to directing financial support towards Afghanistan’s economic development through the Transformation Decade. In this context, in the initial stage of the Transformation Decade, the International Community committed to providing over 16 billion US dollars through 2015, and sustaining support, through 2017, at or near levels of the past decade to respond to the fiscal gap as estimated by the World Bank and the Afghan Government.

Regional Cooperation

16. Regional cooperation and integration contribute to the sustainability of development efforts, through increasing economic and trade opportunities as well as enhancing political dialogue. Keeping in mind that sustained engagement of Afghanistan’s regional partners remains key to addressing common challenges, such as terrorism, extremism, illicit drugs, refugees, disaster risk reduction, barriers to trade, investment and economic growth, the role of regional processes and fora that facilitate regular political dialogue and contribute to the building of confidence among countries is extremely important. In this context, the Participants recognized the importance of the Afghan-led and regionally owned Istanbul Process, launched on November 2, 2011, and welcomed the progress of the Istanbul Process as it moves forward incrementally towards practical implementation, by the relevant countries and organizations, of the prioritized confidence building measures (CBMs), as a crucial step towards deepening cooperation, interaction and confidence among Afghanistan’s near and extended neighbors. The Participants welcomed the outcome of the very successful ‘Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference-Kabul’ on June 14, 2012, and looked forward to the next ministerial conference to be held in Kazakhstan in the first half of 2013 .

17. The Participants encouraged further efforts for the promotion of regional economic cooperation through various other regional fora such as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the United Nations Special Program for the Economies of Central Asia (UNSPECA). The participants also welcomed the decision of the SCO to grant Observer status to Afghanistan.

18. The Participants reaffirmed that, Afghanistan being a landlocked country, it is vital to realize the vision of regional connectivity and economic integration, where Afghanistan can serve as a hub and a land-bridge at the center of a stable and prospering region. The International Community is encouraged to support NPP projects which promote regional economic cooperation and to provide funding for the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund (AITF) managed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The Participants emphasized the importance of implementing projects at the regional level, including projects and programs identified in the Fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA V), and those identified by the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) in 2011 in the areas of transport, trade, energy and other key sectors.

19. The Participants reaffirmed the importance of enhancing trade connectivity along historical trade routes, and promoting trade, transit, investment, and border management toward regional and global integration and the creation of an enabling environment. The Participants welcomed the conclusion of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), the transit agreement between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and the Agreement on Cross-Border Transport of Persons, Vehicles, and Goods (CBTA) among Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan within the framework of CAREC.

Private Sector and Civil Society

20. The Participants shared the view that developing a vibrant private sector will be essential for sustainable development of Afghanistan particularly for the long term; and that it requires the firm commitment of the Afghan Government to taking all steps necessary to achieve an enabling business environment, including establishing regulatory frameworks and building necessary infrastructure. The Participants noted the importance of promoting domestic and foreign investment in Afghanistan. The Participants also encouraged the creation of models for cross-country partnerships in investment whereby international investors can engage in partnership arrangements with those from within the region as well as with local Afghan entrepreneurs. In this context, the importance of job creation and initiatives targeting youth and women employment should be emphasized.

21. As far as investment priorities are concerned, the extractive industries, which already attract growing interest of private investors, as well as others of Afghanistan’s productive sectors, such as agriculture and energy, will be crucial in attracting private sector investment in the interest of sustainable, inclusive economic growth and job creation in Afghanistan. In this context, the Afghan Government’s Resource Corridor approach is noteworthy.

22. The Participants welcomed the results of the Delhi Investors’ Summit on Afghanistan hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industries on June 28 in Delhi, which benefitted from many participants from neighboring countries, and underscored the importance of implementing the recommendations of the summit. The Participants reaffirmed the significance of risk mitigation and credit provision schemes by the International Community in promoting private sector investment in Afghanistan. The International Community committed to taking concrete steps to promote private investment and trade by mobilizing relevant development finance institutions, export credit authorities, and other governmental and nongovernmental tools to encourage human and financial capital investments in Afghanistan. The Participants also reaffirmed the importance of women’s participation in private sector conferences as reinforcing the need for inclusive development and recognition of women’s rights.

23. The Participants emphasized the role of the Afghan civil society in advocating for and supporting human rights, good governance and sustainable social, economic and democratic development of Afghanistan through a sustained dialogue. The Participants reaffirmed that a thriving and free civil society based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular the equality of men and women, enshrined in the Afghan Constitution, will be key to achieving a more pluralistic society in Afghanistan.

24. The Participants took note of the statement by Afghan civil society organizations at the Tokyo Conference. The Participants also welcomed the results of the civil society event jointly organized by Japanese and Afghan NGOs on July 7 in Tokyo.

The Way Forward

25. To ensure continuity and progress, the Afghan Government and the International Community decided to establish a follow-up mechanism to review their mutual long-term commitments laid out in this Declaration and the Tokyo Framework, and to verify the fulfillment of these commitments based on the notion of mutual accountability. For this purpose, the Participants decided, under the framework of the Kabul process, that follow-up meetings will take place at the ministerial level every two years, in between years at the senior officials level, and at more regular intervals under the Afghan-UN led Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) mechanism.

26. The Afghan Government expressed its appreciation to the International Community for its steadfast support for the security and development of Afghanistan notably for renewing its commitment at today’s Conference to support Afghanistan during the Transformation Decade. The Afghan Government also recognized with appreciation the supporting role of the UN organizations, including United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) in Afghanistan’s development process.

27. The Participants, and in particular the Afghan Government, expressed their deep appreciation to the Government and people of Japan for hosting the Tokyo Conference and for their steadfast support for Afghanistan’s stabilization and development. The Participants look forward to next ministerial meeting to be co-hosted by Afghanistan and the United Kingdom within the year 2014 after the presidential election in Afghanistan.

 

ANNEX
TOKYO MUTUAL ACCOUNTABILITY FRAMEWORK
(Tokyo Framework)

 

1. The Afghan Government and the International Community reaffirm their partnership in the economic growth and development of Afghanistan through a process of mutual accountability in achieving mutually decided goals as laid out in this document, hereafter the ”Tokyo Framework”. The International Community’s ability to sustain support for Afghanistan depends upon the Afghan Government delivering on its commitments described in the Tokyo Framework. This document establishes an approach based on mutual commitments of the Afghan Government and the International Community to help Afghanistan achieve its development and governance goals based on the International Community’s commitments in the Tokyo Framework. The Tokyo Framework establishes a mechanism to monitor and review commitments on a regular basis.

2. Good governance is essential for strong and sustainable economic development and improved livelihoods of the Afghan people. Recognizing this fact, this accountability framework concretizes the mutual commitments decided in the Kabul Process and reaffirmed at the Bonn Conference by stipulating shared development and governance goals and a mechanism as described in this document to hold parties accountable for achieving them. The goals are consistent with the Afghan Government’s economic and development strategy presented in Towards Self-Reliance.

3. At the December 2011 Bonn Conference, the International Community affirmed the special status of Afghanistan to receive donor assistance from Transition through Transformation in greater measure than similarly situated nations. The Afghan Government and the International Community are bound by their citizens’ expectations for the effective and transparent stewardship of resources.

4. The Afghan Government reaffirms its solemn commitment to strengthen governance, grounded in human rights, the rule of law, and adherence to the Afghan Constitution, and holds it as integral to sustained economic growth and development.

5. Working in partnership with the International Community, the Afghan Government seeks sustained development, economic growth and fiscal sustainability with declining reliance on donor financing as articulated in Towards Self-Reliance. To fulfill this vision, the Afghan Government has put together the National Priority Programs (NPPs), and, in consultation with International Community, is developing an Aid Management Policy to be endorsed by the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) by December 2012 to ensure optimal execution and effectiveness of international assistance aligned with national priorities.

6. As Afghanistan enters the Transformation Decade, progress from the past decade in areas that underpin sustained economic growth and development, especially for women and girls, such as education, health and other basic services, as well as strengthened respect for human rights, must continue. Challenges such as vulnerability to natural disasters and humanitarian needs must also be addressed jointly in an effective and appropriate manner in Transition and the Transformation Decade.

7. Successful transition will lead to a decade of Transformation where Afghanistan will build on the benefits of Transition to become an effectively governed and economically, socially progressing country driven by its own national priorities. This requires a paradigm shift in the nature of partnership between the Afghan Government and the International Community, from that of being recipient and donors to owner and partners. The realization of this shift necessitates re-defining the principle, reciprocal commitments and modalities of partnership, which is the purpose of the Tokyo Framework. The Tokyo Conference is the turning point to begin this re-definition in our partnership.

Principles

8. The Tokyo Framework is based on broadly accepted principles of inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development:

oGovernance has a direct bearing on development performance;
oInternational assistance aligned with national priority programs enhances efficiency and sustainability of development assistance;
oInternational assistance through national budgets can improve national institutional capacities, development performance, and accountability to its citizens;
oMonitoring of development and governance benchmarks in a transparent manner is a powerful means to enable accountability to the Afghan people, and reinforce reciprocal commitments of donors and the Afghan Government to improved development performance;
oPrivate investment both domestic and foreign is key to sustainable economic growth; and
oRegional cooperation facilitates the integration of regional economies, thus contributing to the sustainability of development efforts in Afghanistan.

Mutual Commitments

9. The Participants emphasize the importance of the delivery of assistance through adhering to the principles of aid effectiveness, that they cannot continue ”business as usual,” and must move from promise to practice. The Tokyo Framework sets out a new reinvigorated development partnership between the Afghan Government and the International Community.

10. The Afghan Government and the International Community affirm that a functional democracy based on credible and inclusive elections, a professional and efficient civil service, access to justice and the rule of law are essential to a secure, just, stable and prosperous Afghanistan. Strengthened governance and institutions with a particular focus on the rights of women are prerequisites for strong and sustainable economic growth, employment generation and prosperity for the Afghan people.

Afghanistan Governance and Development Commitments

11. The Afghan Government and the International Community are to monitor performance for five major areas of development and governance according to the modalities described below. A timeline for these indicators is to be developed by the Afghan Government for the next JCMB meeting. The desired goals and initial indicators for each area are stated below.

Representational Democracy and Equitable Elections

Goal: Conduct credible, inclusive and transparent Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 2014 and 2015 according to the Afghan Constitution, in which eligible Afghan citizens, men and women, have the opportunity to participate freely without internal or external interference in accordance with the law.

Indicators:

oDevelop, by early 2013, a comprehensive election timeline through 2015 for electoral preparations and polling dates; and
oEnsure that a robust electoral architecture is developed in a secure, participatory and transparent manner to enable successful and timely elections.

Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights

Goal: Improve access to justice for all, in particular women, by ensuring that the Constitution and other fundamental laws are enforced expeditiously, fairly and transparently; ensure that women can fully enjoy their economic, social, civil, political and cultural rights; fight against corruption, including strengthening counter-narcotics efforts; and improve the capacity of state institutions.

Indicators:

oEnsure respect for human rights for all citizens, in particular for women and children, and allow the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and civil society organizations to perform their appropriate functions;
oDemonstrated implementation, with civil society engagement, of both the Elimination of Violence Against Women Law (EVAW), including through services to victims as well as law enforcement, and the implementation of the National Action Plan for Women (NAPWA) on an annual basis; and
oEnact and enforce the legal framework for fighting corruption including, for example, annual asset declarations of senior public officials including the executive, legislative and judiciary.

Integrity of Public Finance and Commercial Banking

Goal: Improved integrity of public financial management and the commercial banking sector.

Indicators:

oImplement the government program supported by the International Monetary Fund on schedule; continue to enforce asset recovery and accountability for those responsible for the Kabul Bank crisis; and strengthen banking supervision and reforms through Da Afghanistan Bank;
oImplement Public Financial Management Action Plan and improve the management of public funds as measured by Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessment by 20 percent and raise the transparency of public funds measured by the Open Budget Initiative (OBI) to more than 40 percent; and
oImplement the recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force Asia Pacific Group regarding anti-money laundering and combating terrorist financing.

Government Revenues, Budget Execution and Sub-National Governance

Goal: Improve the Afghan Government’s revenue collection and capacity of line Ministries’ to develop and execute budgets accountable to, and incorporating, local needs and preferences.

Indicators:
oThrough more efficient, transparent and accountable customs and tax systems, raise the ratio of revenue collection to GDP from 11 percent to 15 percent by 2016, and to 19 percent by 2025;
oImprove budget execution to 75 percent by 2017;
oEnact a legal framework to clarify roles, and responsibilities of government agencies at national, provincial and district levels, in line with the 2010 Sub-National Governance Policy; and
oDevelop a provincial budgeting process that includes provincial input into the relevant Ministries formulation of budget requests, linked to a provincial planning process in which Provincial Councils have their consultative roles.

Inclusive and Sustained Growth and Development

Goal: Achieve inclusive and sustained growth through a focus on human development, food security, private investment, and decent work and employment opportunities and the improvement of ranking in the human development index.

Indicators:

oEnsure adequate resource allocations to achieve Afghanistan’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets for health, gender, education, environment and food security and use of MDG indicators to measure progress;
oStrengthened enabling environment for the private sector, as measured by the World Bank Doing Business Index, including development of an Extractive Industries Development Framework that governs Afghanistan’s natural wealth through an accountable, efficient and transparent mechanism which builds upon and surpasses international best practices;
oEncourage and support regional economic initiatives by leveraging investments in the agriculture sector and resource corridors as primary drivers of growth; and establish Road, Rail and Civil Aviation Institutions; and
oTake steps necessary to achieve World Trade Organization (WTO) accession by the end of 2014.

International Commitment to Improving Aid Effectiveness

12. The Participants reiterate that the Afghan Government will have special, significant, and continuing but declining fiscal requirements that cannot be met by domestic revenues in the years following Transition as has been estimated by the World Bank and the Afghan Government in preparation for the Tokyo Conference. To help address the budget shortfall, the International Community commits to directing financial support towards Afghanistan’s economic development through the Transformation Decade. In this context, in the initial stage of the Transformation Decade, the International Community commits to providing over 16 billion US dollars through 2015, and sustaining support, through 2017, at or near levels of the past decade to respond to the fiscal gap as estimated by the World Bank and the Afghan Government. The International Community welcomes the Afghan strategy, and reaffirms its commitment of aligning 80 percent of aid with the NPPs and channeling at least 50 percent of its development assistance through the national budget of the Afghan Government in accordance with the London and Kabul Communiqu}s.

13. Participating donors aim to increase the share of their assistance provided via the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) incentive program, or other mechanisms as requested or agreed by the Afghan Government, to 10 percent by 2014, with a goal of 20 percent of funding through incentive mechanisms by the end of the Transformation Decade. Incentive programs should seek to provide the Afghan Government with more flexible, on-budget funding in conjunction with progress on specific economic development achievements.

14. The International Community commits to taking concrete steps to improve aid delivery consistent with partnership and global aid effectiveness principles, and adhering to the Afghan Government’s Aid Management Policy upon completion and endorsement by the JCMB by December 2012. Alignment of donor assistance to Afghan National Priorities is to be determined in reference to specific deliverables outlined by the Afghan Government in the approved NPPs. Donors intend to consult with the Afghan Government to identify appropriate funding modalities for implementing Afghan National Priorities. The Afghan Government may decline any aid financing that is insufficiently aligned with Afghan Government’s priorities, has a low return on investment or high transaction costs.

15. The International Community aims to limit the practice of sub-contracting in all specialized and labor-intensive projects to only one vertical level to reduce overhead costs and improve transparency.
Modalities

16. The Afghan Government and the International Community decide to establish a mechanism to monitor their performance of indicators and work plans through an established review process, building on the JCMB process. The Afghan Government, facilitated by the Ministry of Finance and relevant ministries, is responsible for achieving the governance and development indicators specified in the Tokyo Framework. Development partners are responsible for delivering on their aid commitments stated in the Tokyo Declaration and the Tokyo Framework.

17. The Afghan Government and the International Community are to implement the Tokyo Framework according to the modalities outlined below. The Afghan Government and the International Community are to establish a transparent and regular monitoring process, building on a reinvigorated Kabul Process and JCMB, to hold each other accountable for reciprocal commitments.

18. The three elements of the mechanism are:
oThe Standing Committees and Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) to review progress on a regular basis;
oA Senior Officials Meeting to be held in 2013 and every second year subsequently to review progress and update indicators where needed; and
oA Ministerial-level Meeting to be held in 2014, and every second year subsequently to review progress, update indicators, assess resource requirements and renew international commitments.

19. The first Ministerial-level Meeting will be co-chaired by Afghanistan and the United Kingdom.

 

Summary

On July 8 (Sunday), the Japanese and Afghan Governments jointly held the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan. A summary and evaluation of the conference are as follows. At the Conference, the Tokyo Declaration was adopted. (attached).

1. Summary
(1) Participating countries and organizations
Organizer:The Japanese and Afghan Governments
(Chaired by H.E. Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan; H.E. Dr.
Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, Minister of Finance of Afghanistan; H.E. Dr.
Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan)
Major participants:H.E. Mr. Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan; H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the UN; H.E. Ms. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State of the US; H.E. Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France; H.E. Dr. Guido Westerwelle, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chancellor of Germany; Rt Hon Mr. Andrew Mitchell MP, Secretary of State for International Development of the UK; the Hon.Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia; H.E. Mr. S. M. Krishna, External Affairs Minister of India; H.E. Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan; H.E. Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, and delegates of 55 countries and 25 international organizations.

(2) Conference Summary
At the Tokyo Conference, the international community aimed to address its strategic message and to commit to supporting development efforts of Afghanistan towards its self-reliance during the Transformation Decade (2015 – 2024). To support this substantially, a partnership between the Afghan Government and the international community during the Transformation Decade was embodied. Mutual commitments and accountability of Afghanistan and the international community for the sustainable development of Afghanistan were clarified, and a mechanism under which this can be checked and reviewed on a regular basis was established (the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework).

Commitments by Afghanistan
Afghanistan committed to implementing, effectively and with transparency, strategies for growth and development, based on paper Toward Self-reliance which details growth and development strategies throughout the Transformation Decade.
Furthermore, Afghanistan committed to certainly implementing goals and indicators for the five areas of (1) Representational Democracy and Equitable Elections, (2) Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights, (3) Integrity of Public Finance and Commercial Banking, (4) Government Revenues, Budget Execution and Sub-National Governance, and (5) inclusive and Sustainable Growth and Development, as well as their certain implementation.

Commitments by the international community
At the Tokyo Conference, the World Bank presented the results of its provisional calculations of the yearly average fiscal gap to 2017, which was either approximately $3.3 billion or $3.9 billion per year depending on the two kinds of growth scenarios. The Afghan Government showed its own estimate of the average fiscal gap to 2020, which was approximately $3.9 billion.
At the Conference, the international community committed to providing over $16 billion through 2015.

Contribution by Japan
It was emphasized that since the Tokyo Conference in January 2002, Japan has played a leading role as the second largest donor behind the US in development assistance to Afghanistan, providing support totaling $3.3 billion till the end of 2011, across various areas including political processes, infrastructural improvement, basic human needs, industrial and agricultural development, and culture.
Based on its past experience, Japan announced that it would provide up to around $3 billion of assistance to Afghanistan in about 5 years from 2012, in the field of socio-economic development and enhancement of security capacity, specifically stressing (1) agricultural sector, (2) infrastructure development and (3) human resource development. Japan expressed its intention to continue to provide contribution to the Afghan-led nation-building even after 2017 through assistance in those areas..
In addition, in order to further strengthen regional cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighboring countries, Japan announced that it is implementing projects worth around $1 billion in neighboring countries, and through these projects it would support the development of the corridor which goes across Afghanistan from Central Asia to Karachi in Pakistan.

2. Evaluation
(1)Since the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan (Tokyo Conference) was held in January 2002, Japan has been playing a leading role in providing support for Afghanistan. The Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan represented the culmination of a series of negotiations with the international conferences which started in the Bonn Conference in December 2011, and brought to a conclusion this year. Based on the discussions on security and regional cooperation at conferences such as the NATO Chicago Summit, the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA), and the Istanbul Process ”Heart of Asia” Ministerial Conference, a specific path for sustainable growth in Afghanistan from 2015 was outlined at the Tokyo Conference, and a powerful strategic message, that Afghanistan would remain stable and be able to continue development beyond 2014, was delivered to the people of Afghanistan, as well as to the international community.

(2)Japan took the initiative and secured high-level participation of the major donor countries such as India, Pakistan and Iran and international development organizations. Through long-term coordination efforts as a host nation, Japan was able to secure commitments from the international community for strong support totaling over $16 billion till 2015, as well as commitments from Afghanistan in the areas of development and governance. Japan also managed to demonstrate its presence in the international arena by newly establishing Tokyo Framework.

(3)The result of the Tokyo Conference was that Afghanistan and the international community will enter into a concrete partnership with financial backing, under the newly formulated the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework Tokyo Framework. As the host nation of the said Conference, Japan will pursue follow-up efforts under its own initiative on the basis of the Tokyo Framework. It is important for Japan to continue playing a proactive and positive role with the international community in supporting Afghanistan.

 

Statement of H. E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) 22 June 2012

Statement of H. E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) 22 June 2012

Statement

Madam President,

I wish to begin by thanking the Government of Brazil for hosting this historic conference.  It is a distinct pleasure to be here today in this beautiful city.

We have come together in Rio for a common goal: ensuring a better future for the 7 billion people sharing this earth, and committing ourselves to a healthy, secure and prosperous world. Afghanistan is convinced that through effective and result-oriented cooperation and collaboration, we can realize our shared objective for sustainable development.

Two decades of strife and conflict have brought untold suffering upon the Afghan people. Poverty, hunger, dismal socio-economic and environmental degredation have regrettably become part of daily life for many.  Roughly one third of our people live below the national poverty line. Gender gaps in both literacy and education, and meager opportunities for employment remain a challenge, and have yet to be fully addressed. Terrorism that has its roots and support systems outside our country, environmental and geographic vulnerabilities have complicated our efforts to overcome these challenges and unleash our human, resource, trade and transit potential.

Madam President,

Despite the obstacles at hand, Afghanistan has made considerable, historic progress in improving the lives of our citizens over the past decade, better enabling them to live in safety and prosperity.

Over the past ten years, with support from the international community friends,  we have made many improvements: More than 8 million children are currently attending schools throughout the country and 50,000 students are enrolled in universities; close to 90 percent of our population has access to primary health services; and the rate of child and maternal mortality has decreased significantly.

Thousands of kilometers of roads have been constructed or repaired, and extensive work has been done in the area of rural development with a special focus on local community empowerment, agriculture and irrigation. Afghan women are playing an increasingly visible and tangible role in politics, culture and the economy. Together, these advances are helping to improve human capital, trade, transit, and food security. Above all, we’ve restored the foundations of democratic governance: Afghanistan today is a young democracy with an elected parliament, elected provincial councils and a free and independent media that allow our citizens a direct say in their country’s governance.

To further our development goals, we are also working diligently to make use of our untapped natural resources. We consider our natural treasures to be a catalyst for enriching our country, attracting foreign investment, increasing the rate of employment, and contributing to our overall stability and prosperity.

Having come so far, we are now focusing on making our progress irreversible and sustainable. We acknowledge that national ownership and international partnerships are key for sustainability of all three pillars of development.

Therefore, Madam President, full transition to Afghan ownership and leadership is a top priority for my Government.

Currently, we are in the process of building an Afghanistan in which the needs of the Afghan people are met by the Afghan people themselves. In this regard, we are on track to assume full responsibility for security in Afghanistan by end 2014. We will continue to work closely with the international community during the Transition Decade of 2014-2025 to address our long-term social, economic, and developmental challenges.

Continued and sustained support of the international community will be particularly important in these years to come.  Despite the aspirations for sustainable growth and development, the task will be impossible for Afghanistan without sufficient means of implementation. In this regard, and as a Least Developed Country (LDC), we strongly support the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action of LDCs 2011-2020 and emphasize the fulfillment of past pledges of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and an increase in the level of financial support.

Madam President,

We have come together at this historic conference to cooperate on a global level. However, the success of Rio+20 depends on the extent to which the agreements we make here are concrete and will help improve the lives of people around the world.  In this context we support global efforts to come closer together, to share experiences, technology and resources.

And from the Afghan perspective, we need these concrete agreements so that we can integrate them into our national sustainable development planning during our transformation decade between 2014 and 2025.

As a land-locked developing country, we support the Almaty Programme of Action and an increased level of regional cooperation. Through various processes, including the promising Istanbul Process for building confidence and strengthening cooperation in the Heart of Asia region whose second successful ministerial meeting we hosted in Kabul just last week, we are working to restore Afghanistan’s historic role as a land-bridge connecting South Asia, Central Asia and Eurasia and the Middle East.  Invoking our historical roots as a crossroads of trade routes, we hope to be at the center of regional connectivity. Opening these paths will not only help Afghans but improve the lives of people around the region. It is in this context that we see the importance of South-South cooperation, which will also complement North-South cooperation. Therefore, we support an acceleration of this process.

Madam President,

The building of infrastructure and capacity is of the utmost importance to achieving sustainable development. Only by building up our human and physical capital can we combat endemic unemployment and poverty.

The sharing of knowledge and experience is critical to our success. This is what we have come to realize over the past ten years. Now, during our transformation decade, it is important that the sharing of technology and experience helps to create a sustainable Afghanistan.

We are pleased to see the progress that has been made on this front here at Rio and we hope to see the implementation of these transfers soon.

Madam President,

It is my fervent hope that Rio+20 will prove to be a historic success in launching the entire world—including the least developed countries—into a future of sustainable development. I wish to reiterate my Government’s resolute commitment to helping advance cooperation for sustainable development at the international level.

 

Thank You

Video

 

 

‘HEART OF ASIA’ MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE KABUL – Conference Declaration

 

Istanbul Process: A New Agenda for Regional Cooperation in the ‘Heart of Asia’

 

‘HEART OF ASIA’ MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE – KABUL

14 June 2012

 

Conference Declaration

 

  1. The ‘Heart of Asia’Ministerial Conference – Kabul was convened on 14 June 2012 in Kabul, Afghanistan, as the first follow-up ministerial meeting of the Istanbul Process.  The Conference was inaugurated by His Excellency Mr. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and co-chaired by His Excellency Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and His Excellency Mr Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey.

 

  1. The conference was attended by 14 ministerial and high-level delegations from the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries (listed in paragraph 35), 14 ministerial and high-level delegations from the supporting countries (listed in paragraph 36), and 11 high-level delegations from regional and international organisations (listed in paragraph 36).

 

  1. We, the Foreign Ministers of the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries, joined in Kabul by ministers and senior representatives of supporting countries and regional and international organisations;

 

Adhering to the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the fundamental equality of nations enshrined in the United Nations Charter, and recognizing the central role of the United Nations in international affairs;

 

Re-affirming the commitments enshrined in the 2002 Kabul Declaration of Good Neighbourly Relations;

 

Agreeing that promoting regional security and cooperation requires measures to build confidence and trust among countries;

 

Recalling the landmark Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan: Security and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia, held on 2 November 2011, and reaffirming, as the foundation for the present Conference, the understandings reached among the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries to cooperate in a sincere and result-oriented manner for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, as well as a secure and prosperous region as a whole;

 

Reaffirming our commitment to the principles stipulated in the Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation for a Secure and Stable Afghanistan document;

 

Agreeing that the Istanbul Process provides a new agenda for regional cooperation in the ‘Heart of Asia’ by placing Afghanistan at its centre and engaging the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries in sincere and result-oriented cooperation for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, as well as a secure and prosperous region as a whole;

 

Recognizing that the Istanbul Process is a genuine regionally owned process led by Afghanistan with support and collaboration from its near and extended neighbours, andreiterating that, to reinforce the regional ownership of the process, decisions must be made through close consultation among the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries;

 

Clarifying that the term ‘Heart of Asia’ countries refers to Afghanistan and Afghanistan’s near and extended neighbours, and that it does not denote a new geographical entity;

 

Taking note of Afghanistan’s crucial role as the land-bridge in the ‘Heart of Asia’, connecting South Asia, Central Asia, Eurasia/Europe and the Middle East;

 

Agreeing that terrorism and violent extremism are common threats to the region; and emphasizing the need for joint and concerted efforts and cooperation among the regional countries to address the challenge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens, as well as disrupting all financial and tactical support for terrorism;

 

Reaffirming our commitment to strengthen cooperation with Afghanistan, as well as regional and international cooperation, to counter the threat to peace and stability in the region and beyond posed by the illicit production, trade, trafficking and consumption of narcotic drugs, in accordance with the principle of common and shared responsibility; and noting, in this context, the importance of outcomes of the 3rd Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners on Combating the Illicit Drugs and Opiates Originating in Afghanistan held on 16 February in Vienna;

 

Anticipating that implementation of the confidence building measures identified in the Istanbul Process document will contribute to the building of trust and confidence among the regional countries;

 

Appreciating the active support and participation of all the ‘Heart of Asia’ Countries in the Istanbul Process and, in particular, the Republic of Turkey’s active role and stewardship in launching the Istanbul Process by hosting the Istanbul Conference and in its continuing support for the process;

 

Welcoming Afghanistan’s willingness and determination to use its regional and historical position to promote security, stability, and peaceful economic cooperation in the region, including through leading the steps forward adopted at this forum;

 

Welcoming the central and impartial role of the United Nations, in line with the Security Council resolutions, in support of regional cooperation, including the Istanbul Process;

 

Recognizing the important role of existing regional organisations, and emphasizing that the role of regional organisations should be supported in the interest of expanded economic cooperation and integration in the region, improved security and greater people-to-people relations, and calling for greater synergies to be created among these regional organisations;

 

Re-affirming that the Istanbul Process is not intended to substitute the existing efforts of regional organizations, but to cooperate with them, and complement their work where necessary, particularly where they relate to Afghanistan;

 

Re-affirming our pledge to give strong emphasis and further impetus to the ongoing regional cooperation endeavours;

 

Welcoming the successful conclusion of the 5th meeting of the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA V) held on 26-27 March 2012 in Dushanbe, and the valuable role of the Republic of Tajikistan in hosting this event, and agreeing that working towards implementation of the regional projects identified in the RECCA V Declaration will also be important steps towards greater confidence building in the region;

 

Recalling the strong mutual commitments between Afghanistan and the international community expressed at the Bonn International Conference on Afghanistan, which was chaired by Afghanistan and hosted by the Federal Republic of Germany on 5 December 2011 in Bonn, concerning the continued international support for Afghanistan’s stabilisation and economic development beyond the Transition period and into the Transformation Decade of 2015-2024;

 

Welcoming the upcoming Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan to be held on 8 July 2012 at the invitation of the Governments of Japan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and calling forcontinued international support to Afghanistan’s sustainable economic development during the Transformation Decade on the basis of mutual commitments between Afghanistan and the international community, and in this context, appreciating the initiative by the Republic of India to organise the Delhi Investment Summit on Afghanistan, a conference of regional and international investors focusing on Afghanistan, to be held on 28 June 2012 in New Delhi, and other such initiatives that could usefully contribute to the deliberations at the Tokyo Conference;

 

Stressing the importance of intensifying cooperation and dialogue between Afghanistan and regional countries, including the various combinations of bilateral, trilateral and multilateral processes, aimed at promoting regional cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries and, addressing the interlinked nature of various challenges faced by all countries in the region;

 

Hereby declare as follows:

 

  1. We endorse the Concept Paper produced by Afghanistan, and considered by our senior representatives at the first and second preparatory meetings of the Istanbul Process on 29 February in Kabul and 18 April in Ashgabat and, in particular, we agree on the following three elements for the follow-up to the Istanbul Process:

 

A)    Political consultation involving Afghanistan and its near and extended neighbours;

 

B)    A sustained incremental approach to implementation of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) identified in the Istanbul Process document; and

 

C)     Seeking to contribute and bring greater coherence to the work of various regional processes and organisations, particularly as they relate to Afghanistan.

 

A) Political Consultation

 

  1. In view of our common aim to promote a secure and prosperous region as a whole, we agree to work together to ensure that the security interests of all regional states are addressed peacefully and sustainably. In this context, we re-emphasise our determination to help Afghanistan overcome the challenges it faces on the way to achieving stability, peace and a self-reliant economy. Afghanistan, for its part, reiterates its commitment to peaceful and mutually rewarding cooperation with the region, and becoming an asset for the future of a secure and economically integrated region.  Afghanistan commits that it will not allow any threat from its territory to be directed against any other country and expects its neighbours to do the same.

 

  1. We note with satisfaction the developments in the on-going Transition process in Afghanistan and welcome the significant achievements that Afghanistan has made in gradually taking over responsibility for its security and defense from the international forces.  With the announcement of the third tranche of Transition in May 2012, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are taking lead responsibility for security for 75% of the Afghan population across all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. By mid-2013 the Transition will cover the entire country.The ANSF will have full responsibility for security nationwideby the end of 2014, thus allowing the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).  We further note that, beyond Transition, Afghanistan will require continued support towards training, equipping, capacity development and sustainment of the ANSF during the Transformation Decade 2015-2024.

 

  1. We emphasise the importance of a political solution as the surest path to lasting peace in Afghanistan, and agree to actively facilitate the current Afghan-led process of reconciliation in Afghanistan. We endorse Afghanistan’s efforts to reconcile the Taliban and other militant groups through an inclusive peace process that is based on the principles of renunciation of violence, cutting ties with all terrorist groups, preservation of Afghanistan’s democratic achievements and respect for the Afghan Constitution, including its provisions for the human rights of men and women.  We call on members of the international community, including Afghanistan’s regional partners, to extend any possible support to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned inclusive peace process with the goal of putting an end to violence in Afghanistan.

 

  1. We respect Afghanistan as a sovereign, independent and democratic country, which constitutes an integral component of the peace, well-being and prosperity of the region and beyond.  We are mindful of the challenges that can derail Afghanistan’s stabilisation and development, and harm regional and international security.  Terrorism, violent extremism and narcotic drug production and trafficking are among the major threats that Afghanistan faces. While these and other challenges do not affect all countries of the ‘Heart of Asia’to a similar degree, they have the potential to seriously undermine the prospects of security, peace and prosperity for the whole region.  We further recognise that no single state, or organisation, can deal with these challenges by itself and, therefore, a concerted effort towards stability and prosperity is needed.  Consequently, regional and international cooperation are indispensible to address these challenges.

 

  1. In dealing with our shared threats and challenges, we acknowledge that terrorism, extremism and separatism pose a serious challenge to many of our countries, as well as the region and beyond, which can only be addressed through our concerted effort and, we reiterate our strong resolve to combat terrorism, extremism and separatism in all its forms and manifestations, including the financing, harbouring, training and equipping of terrorist activities.

 

  1.  Another challenge that poses a serious threat to the peace and stability of the region is the challenge of narcotic drugs.  In this context, and with a view to the principle of common and shared responsibility, we will strengthen cooperation with Afghanistan, as well as regional and international partners, to counter the threat posed by the illicit production, trafficking and consumption of drugs.

 

  1. Recognising the need for strengthening trust and cooperation in the region, and thus contributing to the stability and prosperity of Afghanistan and its surrounding region, we agree to take part in a process of continuous and effective dialogue between Afghanistan and its near and extended neighbours concerning all issues of common interest and importance for Afghanistan and the region as a whole.

 

  1. We further recognise that undertaking regular political consultations at a high level is the most effective way of ensuring a continuous dialogue.  Therefore, we commit that Foreign Ministers of the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries will meet once a year for political consultations in the format of Ministerial Meetings, to be hosted by any participating country on a voluntary basis, and if needed in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), where Afghanistan undertakes to make all appropriate arrangements.

 

  1. We assign our senior officials to prepare the agenda for Ministerial Meetings.  We anticipate that the focus of political consultations at these meetings will include, but will not be limited to, briefings and discussions on the developments in Afghanistan, as well as other issues of common interest to the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries, including common threats to regional security, such as terrorism and extremism, the menace of narcoticsand other forms of organized crime.  We will also consult on positive opportunities that exist for enhancing prosperity and the full realisation of the aspirations of the peoples of the region.

 

  1. The Kabul-based Ambassadors and representatives of the Istanbul Process participant countries and organisations will meet regularly to exchange and coordinate views on relevant issues.

 

B) Implementation of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs)

 

  1. Consistent with the understandings and agreements reached at the Istanbul Conference of 2 November 2011, we reaffirm our commitment to building greater trust and confidence within the region through implementation of the broad range of confidence building measures (CBMs) identified in the Istanbul Process document.

 

  1. We emphasise the importance of comprehensive implementation of all the CBMs contained in the Istanbul Process document.  However, recognizing the need for a sustained and incremental approach at this stage, we initially decide on the following CBMs for implementation, covering the areas of political and security, economic cooperation and education fields:

 

i)       Development of joint guidelines for cooperation in the field of disaster management (the ‘Disaster Management CBM’);

 

ii)     Enhanced cooperation for fighting terrorism, including through exchange of information (the ‘Counter Terrorism CBM’);

 

iii)   Cooperation and interaction among regional countries in the area of counter-narcotics, including through countering the production, trafficking and consumption of opium and other narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, and their precursors, as well as through enhancing bilateral efforts to prevent illicit cross-border movement of personnel and material (the ‘Counter Narcotics CBM’);

 

iv)   Establishment of a framework for enhanced cooperation among Chambers of Commerce (the ‘Chambers of Commerce CBM’);

 

v)     Improvement of the exchange of information on commercial opportunities and specific trading conditions (the ‘Commercial Opportunities CBM’);

 

vi)   Development of a coherent strategy to develop and maintain a regionally connecting infrastructure, with support from international partners (the ‘Regional Infrastructure CBM’); and

 

vii) Broadening cooperation and exchanges in the field of education and science on a short or long-term basis (the ‘Education CBM’).

 

  1. With a view to implementation of the above CBMs, we welcome the following decisions by the Heart of Asia countries to participate in the implementation of specific CBMs and, in particular, take note of the willingness of countries to play a lead role in this process:

i)                   Disaster Management CBM: Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Turkey decide to participate in implementation, and Pakistan and Kazakhstan express their willingness to lead the CBM implementation. We also welcome the readiness of Denmark, the European Union, France, Japan, the Royal Kingdom of Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States to support the implementation of this CBM;

 

ii)                 Counter Terrorism CBM:  Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates decide to participate in implementation, and Afghanistan, Turkey , and United Arab Emirates express willingness to lead the CBM implementation. We also welcome the readiness of France, the United Kingdom and the United States to support the implementation of this CBM;

 

iii)               Counter Narcotics CBM: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates decide to participate in implementation, and Russia and Azerbaijan express willingness to lead the CBM implementation. We also welcome the readiness of Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France, the United Kingdom and the United States to support the implementation of this CBM;

 

iv)               Chambers of Commerce CBM: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan decide to participate in implementation, and India expresses willingness to lead the CBM implementation. We also welcome the readiness of Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States to support the implementation of this CBM;

 

v)                 Commercial Opportunities CBM: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran,Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey , and  the United Arab Emirates decide to participate in the implementation, and India expresses willingness to lead the implementation of this CBM, in conjunction with the Chambers of Commerce CBM.We also welcome the readiness of Australia, Canada, the European Union, and the United States to support the implementation of this CBM;

 

vi)               Regional Infrastructure CBM: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan decide to participate in the implementation, and Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan express willingness to lead the CBM implementation. We also welcome the readiness of Germany and the United States to support the implementation of this CBM;

 

vii)             Education CBM: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan decide to participate in implementation, and Iran expresses willingness to lead the CBM implementation. We also welcome the readiness of Australia and the United States to support the implementation of this CBM.

 

  1. We expect that our Senior Officials, through their regular meetings between the Ministerial Meetings, will monitor progress of preparation, development, and implementation of the CBMs and provide a progress report to the Ministerial Meetings. In this regard, we call on our fellow ‘Heart of Asia’ countries participating in implementation of the various CBMs to take an active part in this process and to treat the fulfilment of these measures as a shared responsibility.
  2. In the interest of ensuring a comprehensive approach to implementation of the Istanbul Process CBMs, we invite all relevant regional and international organisations, including UN agencies, to participate in development and implementation of these CBMs and, where applicable, to share information and expertise about the measures they are already implementing which may be similar, or linked, to the relevant CBMs.

 

  1. To ensure effective and coordinated implementation of the above CBMs, the participating countries will introduce a technical focal point for each CBM to participate in a regional technical group focusing on the CBM’s implementation. The technical focal points will be experts from the government departments in each country that are concerned with implementation of the CBM.  The role of lead countries mainly involves coordination and follow-up of meetings and activities of the technical groups and providing updates to the Senior Officials of the ‘Heart of Asia’ Countries as required.

 

  1. For each CBM, the lead country will convene meetings of the regional technical group, involving the technicalfocal points of all the participating countries and organizations, to work on developing the relevant CBM implementationplan.  We anticipate that the first set of CBM implementation plans will be ready for review by the Senior Officials of the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries by the end of September 2012.  In the meantime, the ‘Heart of Asia’ Ambassadors’ Group in Kabul may also be convened as necessary to review the progress in the development of the implementation plans.  The CBM Implementation Frameworkprepared by Afghanistan may be used by the regional technical groups as a basis for developing their relevant implementation plans.

 

  1. We acknowledge the valuable interest of the international community to support the Istanbul Process and, in this regard, take note of the readiness expressed by various supporting countries and organisations to provide assistance to the process of implementation of the CBMs contained in this document. We anticipate that support for implementation of CBMs will include, apart from possible financial contributions, the sharing of expertise and other forms of technical support.
  2. We agree that the CBM implementation will be a voluntary and inclusive process, and that participating countries and organisations can, at any time during preparation, or implementation of a certain CBM, choose to join it as participants, or withdraw from it.

 

  1. We express our wish to continue to enhance understanding and cooperation among countries of the region and, in this context, we envisage that future Ministerial Meetings will choose to prioritize additional CBMs from the list contained in the Istanbul Process document, and make necessary decisions concerning their implementation.

 

  1. We support the creation of conditions conducive to the voluntary and safe return of refugees in a dignified and orderly manner and their sustainable reintegration, as well as continued international support to refugee hosting countries. Afghanistan expresses its gratitude to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for hosting Afghan refugees for the past three decades. In this context, we recommend that the CBM on refugees, already mentioned in the Istanbul Process Document, should be prioritized for implementation in the next phase.

 

  1. We recognise with gratitude Afghanistan’s readiness to act as the main focal point for various senior officials meetings, including the technical groups, as part of the CBM implementation process.

 

C) The Role of Regional Organisations

 

  1. We recognize the important role of the regional organizations covering different combinations of the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries.  In particular, we highlight the role of Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA), the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia(UNSPECA), and the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC), in the context of regional cooperation towards enhanced security and economic development in the region.

 

  1. We respect the activities of regional organizations intending to develop CBMs in the region and, in this context, welcome the forthcoming CICA Ministerial Meeting in Astana later this year. Taking into account potential complementarity between the above CBMs and the work of CICA, we encourage the optimum level of coordination between the Istanbul Process and CICA.

 

  1. We welcome Afghanistan’s active participation in the regional organisations it is currently a member of, including OIC, SAARC, RECCA, CICA, ECO, UNSPECA, and CAREC. We also welcome the decision by the SCO to grant Afghanistan Observer status at the recent SCO Summit in Beijing on 6-7 June 2012. We alsowelcome the SCO’s decision to grant Dialogue Partner status to the Republic of Turkey.

 

  1. While noting the importance of a more structured approach to regional cooperation through various regional organisations, we also recognise the value of ad hoc, or enduring initiatives, of bilateral, trilateral and quadrilateral formats between Afghanistan and various other countries from its near and extended neighbourhood.  We urge that, where these processes add value to Afghanistan’s cooperation with the region, or to the agenda of regional cooperation as a whole, they must be maintained and replicated as necessary.

 

  1. In the interest of ensuring greater coherence among the various regional cooperation processes, we envisage that at each Ministerial Meeting, interested regional organizations/agencies will, upon invitation, make presentations about their major activities, and Afghanistan will update its fellow regional countries about the progress made in the various trilateral and quadrilateral processes.

 

  1. Once again, we reiterate our strong commitment to regional cooperation as the most important strategy to achieve lasting security and development at the regional level, and reaffirm our desire to work together through the Istanbul Process and other existing regional mechanisms and processes in the shared interest of Afghanistan and its surrounding region.

 

  1. We express our gratitude to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for hosting this important first follow-up Ministerial Conference after the Istanbul Conference, and commend its leadership and commitment to taking the Istanbul Process forward in the interest of lasting security and confidence building in the region.

 

  1. We welcome with gratitude the expression of willingness from the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the Republic of Tajikistan to host the next Ministerial Meeting of the Istanbul Process. In this regard, re-iterating our thanks to Tajikistan for hosting RECCA V Conference in March 2012 in Dushanbe, we decide that the next Ministerial Meeting of the Istanbul Process will be hosted by Kazakhstan in the city of Astana, in the first half of 2013.

 

 

  1. This declaration was adopted on the 14th day of June 2012 by Foreign Ministers and senior representatives from the ‘Heart of Asia’ Countries, which consist of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.

 

  1. This declaration was welcomed and supported by the Commonwealth of Australia, Canada, the Royal Kingdom of Denmark, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Republic of Finland, the Republic of France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Iraq, Republic of Italy, Japan, the Royal Kingdom of Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the Agha Khan Development Network (AKDN), the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC), the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the European Union (EU), North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the United Nations (UN).