Canada Reaffirms Longstanding Commitment to Afghanistan
December 4, 2014
Minister Yelich outlines Canada’s support at the London Conference on Afghanistan
Today, at the London Conference on Afghanistan, the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular) on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, reaffirmed Canada’s continued commitment to improving the lives of and opportunities for Afghanistan’s most vulnerable, especially women and girls.
“Canada has had an active development presence in Afghanistan for many years, and today’s announcement reaffirms the commitment made at the 2012 Tokyo Conference to help Afghanistan achieve its long-term development goals,’’ said Minister Yelich. “Building on strengths and accomplishments in Afghanistan over the past decade, Canada will continue to play an important role in supporting efforts toward a better future for all Afghans.”
Canada’s development assistance efforts in Afghanistan support the advancement of Afghan women and girls by investing in education; maternal, newborn and child health; and the rights and empowerment of women and girls.
In reaffirming this commitment, Canada is renewing support to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission for its efforts in promoting human rights protection through the country’s institutions, including the courts, police and schools, as well as civil society.
“Canada is committed to promoting and protecting the human rights of Afghans, particularly women and girls,” said Minister Paradis. “As Afghanistan enters its transformation decade, human rights, including equality between men and women, must be enforced, upheld, and protected. This support to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission will help to solidify the gains made by Afghans and ensure that their rights are protected in the years ahead.’’
In addition, Canada will continue to provide support for the Government of Afghanistan’s national budget expenditures through renewed funding to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund.
“Afghanistan is at a crucial time in its history, and its longer-term goal of being self-sustaining,’’ added Minister Paradis. ‘‘Canada’s continued support to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund will assist in providing essential support to the Government of Afghanistan.”
In 2014, Afghanistan was reconfirmed as a country of focus for the Government of Canada's international development efforts. Afghanistan is also one of 10 countries Canada has targeted for investments to improve maternal, newborn and child health.
In July 2012, at the Tokyo Conference, the Government of Afghanistan and the international community established the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF) to measure progress in achieving mutually decided goals.
Canada’s development assistance between 2014 and 2017 hinges on the Government of Afghanistan’s progress in implementing key reforms outlined in the TMAF, which includes reforms in the areas of human rights, gender equality, economic growth and measures to combat corruption.
In 2013, Canada’s support to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission contributed to human rights-focused sessions with 340 advocacy committees supporting the sensitization of citizens and officials at the community and provincial levels on human rights. In addition, 1,100 human rights training workshops and seminars were held, resulting in increased awareness of human rights issues for 71,223 Afghans.
From 2002 to 2012, Canada and other donors have supported national programming through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund. This has resulted in cumulative progress in targeted areas, such as 7.8 million children (38 percent of them girls) being enrolled in primary schools, 3.2 million people having access to electricity, 6.5 million people living within two kilometres of all-season roads, 39.5 million days of labour generated from people working on community-based infrastructure projects, and 178,000 people having access to agricultural or irrigation services. As a crosscutting result, the fund also helped the Government of Afghanistan improve the delivery of quality health and education services, thereby enabling women and girls to improve their quality of life through better health and education.
Canada’s support for building a better future for Afghan children and youth has achieved significant results. For example, Canada’s support has contributed to an increase in the enrolment of Afghan children in formal and community-based schools from fewer than 1 million children (all boys) in 2001 to 7.7 million (39 percent of them girls) in 2011.
On May 29, 2014, at the Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach summit, Prime Minister Harper announced an additional commitment of $3.5 billion for the period of 2015–2020 for maternal, newborn and child health. At the summit, the Prime Minister set out a strategy to effectively reduce maternal and child deaths with an emphasis on strengthening health systems, improving nutrition, and reducing the burden of leading diseases, as well as a commitment to support Canadian partners’ important work in advancing this global priority.
Speech by the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular), at the London Conference on Afghanistan