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Afghanistan Conference 2020 held Virtually; India Announced over 100 High-Impact Projects worth USD 80 mn for Afghanistan

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Foreign-minister-S-Jaishankar-to-represent-India-at-Afghan-conference-in-GenevaOn November 23-24, 2020, the ministerial pledging conference namely “2020 Afghanistan Conference” was co-hosted by the United Nations (UN), the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and the Government of Finland. It was held over Video teleconferencing (VTC) amid COVID-19 while the technical arrangements and translation were observed from Palace of Nations (Palais des Nations), home of the UN headquarter office at Geneva, Switzerland.

  • The conference was co-chaired by Mohammad Haneef Atmar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and Janez Lenarcic, European Commissioner for Crisis Management.
  • The Indian side was represented by the Union Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
  • This conference was last held in 2016 in Brussels and in Tokyo in 2012. There will be a Senior Officials Meeting in 2021 and a biennial ministerial meeting in 2022 to review progress as Afghanistan.

Participants: Around 70 countries and 32 international organisations along with Afghan Government officials and civil society representatives.

Focus of Conference: Peace, Prosperity and Self-Reliance.

Aim of Conference: To reaffirm the commitment of the international community towards the Afghanistan government to determine shared development objectives for 2021-24.

  • The shared development objectives will guide development cooperation and provide financial support for Afghanistan.

Highlights:

i.The donors pledged at least US$ 3.3 billion for the first year of the upcoming quadrennial, with annual commitments expected to stay at the same level year-on-year.

ii.International partners welcomed the second version of the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework which provides the Afghan government’s vision, strategy and plan for the next five years (2021-25).

iii.Afghanistan and the international community have entered a new phase of cooperation, as articulated in the Afghanistan Partnership Framework, marked by conditionality and enhanced joint review mechanisms to ensure results and impact for the people of Afghanistan.

India’s Major Commitments towards Afghan Announced including Phase IV of USD 80 mn HICDP

During the conference, India emphasized it’s long term commitment for the development of Afghanistan through reconstruction and rehabilitation. As a part of this, India announced the Phase-IV of High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP) in Afghanistan worth USD 80 million (Rs 592 crore), which envisages more than 100 projects.

  • India also expressed concern for increasing levels of violence in Afghanistan and reiterated its call for an immediate ceasefire.

Notably, India’s funding for Afghanistan has reached over USD 3 billion (Rs 22,200 crore) so far. Already India has undertaken 400 plus projects in all 34 of Afghanistan’s provinces. The key ones are as follows:

  • India had just concluded an agreement for the construction of the Shatoot dam, which would provide safe drinking water to 2 million residents of Kabul city.
  • A 202-km Phul-e-Khumri transmission line that provided electricity to Kabul city.
  • India along with Iran provided alternate connectivity through Chabahar port and a dedicated Air Freight Corridor between India and Afghanistan.
  • Salma Dam Power Project also know as India-Afghan Friendship dam, built to provide electricity for irrigation.
  • India builds the New Parliament complex, the National Assembly of Afghanistan
  • Around 65,000 students have studied in India under scholarship programmes. 15,000 students are currently in India.
  • India also provided humanitarian assistance of 75,000 tonnes of wheat to strengthen food security of Afghanistan during the Covid pandemic.

The European Union (EU) also pledged $1.2 billion for Afghanistan in the next four years.

Recent Related News:

i.On 14th October, 2020 the Government of India contributed USD 1 Million (Approximately INR 7.3 Crores) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Near East (UNRWA) for Palestine refugees. It will help in improving the lives of Palestine refugees suffering due to the pandemic.

ii. On October 6, 2020 Najeeb Tarakai, Afghanistan cricketer passed away at the age of 29 due to a road accident. The top-order right-handed batsman has played 12 T20Is (Twenty20 Internationals) and 1 ODI (One Day International) for Afghanistan.

About Afghanistan:

The UN Mission in Afghanistan is known as United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Capital– Kabul
Currency– Afghan afghani
President– Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai

About United Nations (UN):
Secretary General– Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres
Headquarters– New York, United States (US)