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Afghanistan: Tokyo Conference, aid once progress in made

Aid, yes, once progress has been made. The “Tokyo Declaration”, adopted by over 80 countries and international organisations that met in the Japanese capital (including Afghan President Hamid Karzai, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Under-Secretary De Mistura represented Italy), clearly verified Kabul’s broad-based progress as a condition for all subsequent aid.

16 billion dollars by the end of 2015

“At the start of the “decade of transformation” (2015-2024, immediately after the final ISAF mission), the international community pledges to provide 16 billion dollars by the end of 2015, and to continue support through 2017”. Resources, over all, “equal or similar to the level of aid of the past decade to make up for the budget gap estimated by the World Bank (between 2.3 and 3.9 billion dollars in the first three years) and by the Afghan government”. Among the main points were security and the peace process, improvement of governance and efforts toward the self-sustainability of the economy, regional cooperation, private sector and civil society, with a focus on gender equality and the protection of children. In exchange for the aid, Afghanistan pledges to fight corruption, hold fair elections, defend human rights and increase government revenues, in line with the main points of the attached “’Tokyo Mutual Accountability’”

Women and children’s rights

In regard to the clause obliging Kabul to “protect human rights, particularly those of women and children” Italy’s approach passed, said De Mistura, In the first draft of the final document “women were cited 14 times, but too generically under the heading of “human rights”, which included those of women”, De Mistura said. A meeting with the US Secretary of State before the opening of the conference, helped change things, not least, he added, now that there are pledges that Kabul is going to be forced to fulfil. It was something that we owed also to our own parliament.

Principle of equality confirmed

The declaration states the importance that Afghanistan has national security forces to protect, among others, “the civilian population, particularly women and children”. Confirmed also is the principle of gender equality, now part of the Afghan constitution, as the key to the immediate verification of the conditions of women contained in the “Tokyo Framework”: “Progress in the elimination of violence and strengthening of national laws in favour of women will have to be demonstrated on an annual basis. We have parameters and indicators, and aid will be decided on the basis of these”, De Mistura concluded.