Canada reaffirms support for Afghanistan

July 8, 2012 - Today, Chris Alexander, Parliamentary Secretary for National Defence, on behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, announced an important investment to support development efforts in Afghanistan until 2017. Mr. Alexander made the announcement during the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan, which focused on international development over the next decade.

"Canada has already contributed significantly to progress in Afghanistan, providing millions of children with access to education and assisting in the transfer of responsibility for security and governance to the Afghan government. However, we must continue working with the people of Afghanistan to build a better, brighter future for people in need," said Minister Fantino.

"Today's announcement reaffirms Canada's commitment to enhancing the well-being, security, and long-term prosperity of the Afghan people", said Mr. Alexander. However, Canada's development assistance hinges on the performance of the Government of Afghanistan on key reforms in areas such as strengthening the rights of women and girls, reduction of endemic corruption, and significant improvements in governance and upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections."

Canada's contribution, which focuses on long-term prosperity and security, will help Afghanistan build on the gains it has made in the last decade. The investment will help ensure respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all citizens, equal treatment for women and men, and development opportunities that benefit all of Afghanistan's people.

"A primary focus of Canada's engagement in Afghanistan is the promotion of a better, and more equitable, future for women and girls," said Mr. Alexander. "Women and girls represent a significant resource that must be fully engaged in the advancement of their country. Empowering and advancing the rights of girls and women are in the interests of Afghan families and Afghan communities."

During the conference, Canada reaffirmed its longstanding commitment to women and girls in Afghanistan. As head of the Canadian delegation, Mr. Alexander chaired a meeting bringing together key Afghan women leaders and senior members of the international community. Discussions focused on advancing the roles, and rights, of women and girls as Afghanistan continues its transformation and seeks to secure the gains made over the past decade. Mr. Alexander emphasized the importance Canada places on the priorities and concerns of women in Afghanistan.

- 30 -

For more information, media should contact:

Justin Broekema
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: justin.broekema@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Twitter: @CIDA_CA



Backgrounder

At the December 2011 Bonn Conference on Afghanistan, the Government of Afghanistan and the international community laid out a vision for future cooperation through the end of the security transition in 2014 and the Transformation Decade from 2015 to 2024. The July 8 Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan will focus on taking common steps to support Afghanistan's sustainable and inclusive development strategy.

Today's announcement reaffirms Canada's support for economic and social development in Afghanistan and addresses the significant costs of transferring security responsibilities to the Afghan government.

Canada will contribute an additional $227 million in development support to the Afghan people, with a targeted focus on the advancement of rights and participation of women and girls in Afghan society, between 2014 and 2017. This complements the initial $300 million committed for use between 2011 and 2014.

The new contribution will focus on work to empower women and girls in education, human rights, and humanitarian assistance.

There will also be a particular focus on maternal, newborn and child health. Canada's support in this area will help to improve access to post-partum care, promote good maternal health, and prevent pregnancy and childbirth-related death and disability among women, while addressing the need for children to have the very best start in life.

Canada's support hinges on the Afghan government's commitment to, and implementation of, a range of democratic governance and economic reforms. The Afghan government must continue to invest in building a society that is based on democratic principles, the rule of law, strengthened anti-corruption measures, accountable and transparent governance, and the respect of human rights, especially those of women and girls. It is also of fundamental importance to Canada that the Government of Afghanistan advances the right to practice freedom of religion in safety and security.

Today's announcement reinforces Canada's support for efforts aimed at providing Afghans with greater security. On May 21, 2012, Canada announced it would commit $110 million per year over three years (2015-2017) towards helping sustain the Afghanistan National Security Forces.

These investments will build on the significant progress already achieved in the areas of security, diplomacy, human rights, and development.

Canada's current engagement focuses on four key themes:

  • Investing in the future of Afghan children and youth through development programming in education and health and improving the lives of Afghans, especially women and children
  • Advancing security, the rule of law, and human rights, including the provision of up to 950 military trainers and their support personnel, and approximately 45 Canadian civilian police to support and train the Afghan National Security Forces
  • Promoting regional diplomacy
  • Helping deliver humanitarian assistance.

For more information on CIDA programming in Afghanistan, please visit the Project Browser.