While important progress has been made, Afghanistan remains one of the world’s poorest and most fragile states, and its need for development assistance remains high. The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated already difficult conditions, crippling an economy that had been steadily growing and overburdening already stretched health resources.
The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, today announced that the Government of Canada is pledging $270 million over the next 3 years (2021 to 2024) in bilateral development assistance to Afghanistan.
Minister Gould made the announcement at the 2020 Afghanistan Conference, a virtual ministerial pledging conference co-hosted by the Government of Afghanistan, the Government of Finland and the United Nations.
Canada’s contribution, and the Afghanistan Conference, comes at a critical point in Afghanistan’s history, as peace talks offer the Afghan people the possibility of peace for the first time in a generation.
The renewed funding includes a contribution to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, as well as support for projects in priority areas such as health and education; women’s empowerment; human rights; and women, peace and security.
Today’s pledge also fulfills Canada’s commitment to support Afghanistan’s plan for self-reliance, the Transformation Decade (2015 to 2024).
“Human rights, the rights of women and girls, democracy, the rule of law-these are values that are as cherished by Afghans as they are by Canadians. We cannot allow those values to be eroded. While Canada remains deeply committed to Afghanistan, we are equally committed to working with its elected government, Afghans and the international community to ensure that gains are not lost.”
– Karina Gould, Minister of International Development
Canada remains among the top 10 donors to Afghanistan, contributing more than $3.6 billion since 2001 to support stabilization, development and humanitarian efforts.
Canada’s ongoing support, along with that of the wider international community, has enabled Afghanistan to make substantial progress, most notably in areas Canada has prioritized: major reductions to the child mortality rate; increased education enrolment, particularly for girls; an expansion of women’s rights; and greater sustainability of security forces.
Canada provides core support to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, administered by the World Bank, which finances Government of Afghanistan priorities, including health, education and women’s empowerment.
In February 2020, the historic U.S.-Taliban agreement and the U.S.-Government of Afghanistan joint declaration toward a peace agreement were both key to the launch of Intra-Afghan Peace Negotiations on September 12, 2020. These events have brought cautious optimism for a possible peace settlement between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban.
Decisions to confirm Canada’s continuation, modification or suspension of support will be based on a review process that evaluates adherence to a set of core principles. These principles include a commitment to the peace process and sustainable peace and the preservation and expansion of progress made over the past 19 years, most notably on the rights of women and girls, the rule of law and democratic institutions.