June, 28, 2011 Kabul – Despite being confronted with major security challenges and a fragile political environment in Afghanistan, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) remains committed to improving the lives of Afghans, many still suffering following decades of war, recurrent natural disasters and a continuing cycle of violence.
The country’s fragile security situation have posed serious hurdles in the delivery of vital assistance in many areas, yet UNDP forges ahead – even in the most remote, rugged parts of the country – working tirelessly to improve the lives of Afghans across the country. With more than 800 staff on the ground and equipped with nearly 50 years of experience working in the country, UNDP has established its role as a provider, supporter and resource of development assistance in Afghanistan.
During the past 10 years, UNDP has been at the forefront of international and Afghan efforts to build democratic institutions, promote human rights, and rebuild the country’s economy. In 2011 alone, UNDP delivered more than US$700 million in development assistance to Afghanistan, much of it focused on crisis prevention and recovery activities, in order to support the government’s efforts in conflict prevention and peace-building.
Working closely with government institutions, UNDP oversees national governance and poverty reduction programmes; rural and urban development projects; and provides support to vulnerable groups, such as returnees and Internally Displaced Persons, ex-combatants, and disabled and vulnerable women – providing the people of Afghanistan with a sense of hope about their future.
The 2011 Annual Report highlights UNDP’s role in supporting Afghanistan’s transition towards and beyond the withdrawal of most international troops by 2014, primarily through activities and programmes which boost security, support democratic elections, and promote human rights.
This includes UNDP’s role in managing the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme (APRP) trust fund, and supporting the Government-led initiative to encourage the Taliban and insurgent groups to renounce violence and reintegrate into the country.
Another important mechanism to pave the way towards peace and stability is the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA), a multilateral trust fund managed by UNDP. In 2011, LOTFA continued to support the Government’s efforts to improve security in Afghanistan by training and extending financial support to members of the Afghan National Police force. LOTFA has experienced considerable success in bringing communities and local police together through diverse projects, including recreational activities, and has helped to empower women.
Poverty reduction projects to develop national policies to support the poor in rural areas also helped improve budget transparency in 2011. This was enhanced through UNDP’s Making Budgets and Aid Work Project where UNDP supports the Ministry of Finance in budgeting, aid coordination and management in an effort to improve service delivery.
In 2011, UNDP continued to work with the government to strengthen environment policies and provided infrastructure aid, which served to rebuild schools, roads and wells in under-served parts of country, and increased access to basic services like electricity and water. Some 14 million Afghans have benefited from more than 2,360 completed rural infrastructure projects since 2004 through the National Area Based Development Programme.
Despite all these achievements, UNDP and the Government of Afghanistan recognize that the success of the country’s development depends largely on peace and security – which still remains in short supply across large tracts of the country.
Yet UNDP will continue to evaluate and re-adjust its programmes as needed so that the people of Afghanistan continue to reap the benefits of development aid and go forward in transforming their country into a stable, secure nation where gender equality, human rights and democracy prevail.