Remarks at the Donor Conference for Afghanistan

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide's statement at the donor conference for Afghanistan 23 -24 November (virtually).

President Ghani,

Distinguished representatives of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the United Nations and partner countries,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me first of all thank our hosts, the governments of Afghanistan and Finland and the United Nations for convening and organizing this conference.

2020 will be remembered as the year of the pandemic. But for Afghanistan, 2020 is also a year when a glimmer of hope appeared, for an end to more than four decades of conflict.

We commend the Republic, under the leadership of the government, and the Taliban for having initiated peace negotiations in Doha, preceded by a series of difficult decisions, compromises, and sacrifices.

We also commend the State of Qatar for hosting the talks and we reiterate our willingness to support the process in any way the parties or the host may desire.

The Afghan people have endured great suffering during the last four decades. Norway condemns unreservedly all acts of terrorism. We urge the negotiating parties to strive for an end to violence. We reiterate our support for a political settlement that protects the rights of all Afghans, including women, youth and minorities, and that sustains and builds on the economic, social, political and development gains achieved since 2001.

These gains make a considerable difference in the lives of millions of Afghans. More children go to school. A young, educated and skilled generation has emerged. More women find a place in the work force, and health care and basic infrastructure have been expanded.

We as donors will do our best to help Afghanistan continue this progress. The Afghanistan Partnership Framework and the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework outline our common goals. I would like to underline in particular the crucial importance of intensifying efforts to improve governance and tackle corruption.

Afghanistan will remain one of Norway’s main partners in development cooperation. We will contribute up to 650 million kroner – around 70 million dollars – in development and humanitarian assistance in 2021 and consider comparable annual levels of assistance through 2024. We will determine our assistance based on the Afghan government’s fulfilment of its commitments in the Afghanistan Partnership Framework.

Norway will also remain open to considering increased assistance for the implementation of a political settlement of the conflict, provided important commitments are fulfilled, including securing human rights for all and furthering women’s empowerment.

Multilateral funds, such as the World Bank ARTF and the UNDP LOTFA will remain prominent parts of our assistance portfolio, as will non-governmental organizations.

Protection of civilians is one of our main priorities. Protection of children and young people, including protection of schools from attacks, needs particular attention. And it is essential that humanitarian actors get safe and unhindered access to people in need of lifesaving assistance and protection.

Next year, Norway will take a seat as an elected member in the United Nations Security Council. We will do our utmost to support the work of the United Nations, the Special Representative of the Secretary General and UNAMA, and to help ensure that the Security Council supports Afghanistan’s peace and development process.

Thank you.