Joint statement by the Co-Chairs of the London Conference on Afghanistan

New Afghan Strategy gets backing of international community. Aid pledges of more than $10 billion.

1. The past two days have demonstrated the commitment of the Afghan Government and the international community to deepen their partnership, and to strengthen Afghan ownership. Our shared aim is to build a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan, respecting Islamic values and Afghan traditions. The London Conference has successfully created the framework for the next phase of this development.

2. Our partnership has achieved much success already. We came together in London this week determined to build on the Bonn process, through which Afghanistan, with the support of the international community, established new political institutions. Recognizing that the task of overcoming Afghanistan’s legacy of conflict is not yet complete, we will maintain that same mutual commitment to consolidate the gains made and make these new institutions work for the Afghan people.

3. The Afghanistan Compact, launched at the conference yesterday commits us to that partnership. The Compact supports the Interim Afghanistan National Development Strategy, which sets out the Afghan Government’s clear vision for their country. It ensures that the international community will help realize that vision.

4. The Compact recognizes the inter-connected nature of the challenges ahead. Security, governance and development are mutually reinforcing.

5. Afghanistan needs and welcomes continuing international security assistance to enable the government to bring good governance and development to Afghans throughout the country.

6. The interim Afghanistan National Development Strategy lays out the Government’s vision and investment priorities for achieving security, political stability and economic development, and for meeting its commitments in the Compact. It has been discussed within the Afghan Government, with members of the National Assembly, with the private sector, with Afghan civil society, including in the rural areas, and with the international community. It provides a detailed plan to implement the vision set out in the Compact and to achieve Afghanistan’s Millennium Development Goals.

7. The Compact also recognizes the pervasive and corrosive threat posed by the cultivation, production and trafficking of narcotics, which risks undermining all we are jointly working to achieve. The Government is launching a new National Drugs Control Strategy as part of the I-ANDS. That Strategy recognizes the scale and complexity of the narcotics challenge, and sets out a clear long-term plan for tackling it.

8. We are delighted that representatives of the National Assembly and of Afghanistan’s civil society have attended the Conference –this symbolizes the reality that our partnership is both with the Government and the people of Afghanistan and their elected representatives.

9. We welcome the generous pledges of financial assistance made at this conference by the international community. We are pleased that these pledges have met the budgetary requirements of the Afghan Government in the next financial year (2006/7, or 1385). We are deeply encouraged as well by the total pledges of support for the I-ANDS made here in London and by the continuing rapid increase in the Afghan Government’s own revenues. As a result of these pledges, financial assistance available for the implementation of the I-ANDS has now reached $10.5 billion. We are convinced this provides a firm basis for the work Programme set out in the Compact to get underway. We look forward to further financial commitments by governments and international organizations as their budgetary cycles and planning procedures permit.

10. We also agreed that further progress is needed on using aid more effectively and efficiently by accelerating disbursements and improving the alignment of aid with the Afghan Government’s priorities, as set out in the I-ANDS. In line with improved government accountability, donors will make more effort to increase the share of total external assistance to Afghanistan that goes to the core budget.

11. We are circulating, with copies of this statement, a list of the main outcomes from each of the sessions of the conference, which highlights the many areas of consensus and agreement that have been the focus of our discussions over the last two days.