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Afghan pact working well but support still needed

Afghan development pact working well but international support still needed – UN

A multi-billion dollar blueprint for partnership between the Government of Afghanistan and the international community to bolster security, economic development and counter-narcotics efforts has achieved solid progress since its adoption in January, but continued global support is needed to consolidate gains, an expert panel including the United Nations said today.

The Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, the high-level Afghan-international body charged with overseeing the “Afghanistan Compact,” made that conclusion following its second full session, held in the country. The Board examines and then reports to the Afghan public, national assembly, president, donors, and the UN Secretary General on progress with the Compact's implementation.

“Afghanistan has a remarkable tool, in the form of the Afghanistan Compact, for bringing its vision of a progressive, just, and prosperous nation towards reality,” said Tom Koenigs, UN Special Representative in Afghanistan and the Board's international co-chair. “But still we are nearer the start of the process than the end. There is much work to be done. There must be no letting up.”

After hearing reports on progress towards achieving benchmarks, the JCMB issued a press statement welcoming the fact that “the full architecture necessary for the Compact's implementation is now in place.”

Regarding security, the Board noted that “over the past couple of months substantial new resources and energies were being deployed to better address security needs in various areas of the country, a process that will continue in the coming days with NATO/ISAF's expansion into southern provinces.” ISAF is the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Other progress included the drafting of a proposed mechanism for providing transparency and improved public confidence in the appointments system.

While overall initial progress with the Compact was assessed positively, the Board highlighted delays in the energy sector as an area needing urgent and close attention. “Rapid economic and population growth in Kabul and other urban areas, coupled with delays including in the construction of transmission lines from neighbouring States, means that demand for electricity is outstripping supply,” the statement said.

Adopted in January, the Afghan Compact sets out a five-year agenda for sustained engagement with Afghanistan to help consolidate democratic institutions, curb insecurity, control the illegal drug trade, stimulate the economy, enforce the law, provide basic services to the Afghan people and protect their human rights.

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