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The EU is one of the major donors of development and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. Between 2002 and 2011, it has contributed some €2.5 billion to the country, including over €500 million in humanitarian assistance. The EU's assistance has progressed from humanitarian support to its current focus on the country's reconstruction and support for, the National Priority Programmes.
EU assistance programmes 2007-13
After more than three decades of conflict, human development indicators in Afghanistan have plummeted to the bottom of low-income country rankings. Public and private services have almost all been disrupted, the population is impoverished and government institutions face a lack of capacity to design and implement the necessary reforms to facilitate inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development. The stabilisation and development of Afghanistan is a major priority for the EU's external relations policy.
To maximize the impact of EU aid and to contribute to overall aid effectiveness, the EU is also promoting coordination amongst donors.
Assistance from the EU Budget is managed by the European Commission (EC), through the EU Delegation to Afghanistan in Kabul. Afghanistan receives financial support for development programmes under the EU's development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). Current spending priorities are detailed in a Country Strategy Paper (2007-13), and two Multiannual Indicative Programmes (MIP) – covering the same period – which have been formally agreed with the government of Afghanistan.
Under the EU-Afghanistan Country Strategy paper, resources are earmarked to six areas of cooperation, three focal and three non-focal:
Of an €610 million sum for the initial Multiannual Indicative Programme for the period 2007-10 (MIP-I), [98 KB] €542 million were used in three focal areas namely governance (42%), rural development (28%) and health (20%). The balance (+/- 10% or €68 million) was earmarked for social protection (3.9%), de-mining activities (3.6 %) and regional cooperation (3.6 %).
The second Multiannual Indicative Programme 2011-3 (MIP II) foresees a €600 million financial allocation (more than 30% relative increase, compared to the four-year period covered by the previous MIP 2007-10).
MIP II prioritised support to rural development (34.3%) governance and rule of law (41%) and health and social protection (22.2%) and defined regional cooperation (2.5%) as a non-focal area.
Aid effectiveness: ownership
EU assistance is aligned with the Afghan Government's priorities and progressively, with National Priority Programmes (NPPs). In 2010, during the Kabul Conference, the government put forward 22 NPPs, clustering the priorities set out in the Afghan National Development Strategy (ANDS), asking the donor community for alignment.
In 2011, the Bonn Conference,took stock of the achievements of the “Kabul Process” and paved the way for the Tokyo Conference (July 2012) focusing on the Government of Afghanistan's strategy for sustainable development and economic growth beyond the "transition" (set for 2014). In Tokyo, the Government of Afghanistan presented its long-term strategy post-2014 (post withdrawal of international military forces) and its priorities and commitments to reform. Donors reaffirmed their support to Afghanistan's transition and to a "transformation decade" based on partnership and mutual accountability, in accordance with the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF).
In 2012, two other major conferences on Afghanistan shaped the future of international engagement in the country. The NATO-Chicago conference (May 2012) acknowledged the importance of security to development. The subsequent “Heart of Asia” Ministerial Conference, gathered Afghanistan, numerous countries in the region and supporting countries in Istanbul (June 2012) to discuss the importance of regional cooperation to bring about improved trade commerce investment opportunities, and stability.
The EU subscribes to the "New Deal for engagement with fragile states” – on donor harmonisation and aid effectiveness – endorsed by Afghanistan and adopted by donors in Busan (2011).
In March 2012, in Kabul, the EU launched negotiations for a long-term Cooperation Partnership Development Agreement with Afghanistan, covering a broad range of sectors including trade, development and justice and home affairs. It will give a legal basis to EU-Afghan relations, strengthening mutual commitments for the first time.
Beyond bilateral assistance, Afghanistan benefits from:
- Regional EU programmes for Asia. The Aid for Uprooted People programme, for example, is giving support for the voluntary return and reintegration of Afghan refugees as well as assisting displaced Afghans in Pakistan and Iran. The Erasmus Mundus programme is promoting university cooperation.
- Thematic programmes include the food security programme which is providing assistance to improve food safety, especially amongst the poorest people.
- The country also benefits from the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and the Instrument for Stability (IfS).
European Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO)
EUPOL – the EU Mission to Afghanistan focusing on support to policing