International Forum on Assistance to Afghanistan
More than 200 representatives from governments, the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations will gather in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan from 21 to 22 January to seek agreement on an aid strategy for Afghanistan, a country that has been torn asunder by nearly two decades of conflict.
The International Forum on Assistance to Afghanistan is being co-sponsored by the Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Mr. Saparamurat A. Niyazov, President of Turkmenistan, will deliver a welcoming address to the participants. Mr. Yasushi Akashi, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, will make the opening keynote speech and will chair the proceedings. He will also deliver a message from Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world today. It ranks as 170 of the 174 countries in the United Nations Index of Human Development, and last in the list of 135 countries in the UNDP Gender Development Index. The recent intensification of the civil conflict has only exacerbated the difficult living conditions of an already impoverished population.
After seventeen years of strife, destruction and displacement there is no end in sight to the misery of the people of Afghanistan. The United Nations and its partners in the international community have provided hundreds of millions of dollars of humanitarian assistance to victims of war and displacement inside Afghanistan and in neighbouring countries. While many life-saving activities have been carried out and many rehabilitation efforts initiated, the volatility of the situation has precluded any durable reconstruction.
The International Forum is expected to rally international support for a strategy that links urgently-required humanitarian assistance with development and peace-making efforts. Most importantly, the strategy will reinforce the efforts of the Afghans themselves to achieve peace and stability in their country.
For more information, please contact: Madeleine Moulin-Acevedo (+4122) 917 28 56.