On July 9, 2016, the Government of Canada announced a comprehensive package of $465 million in security and development support to Afghanistan. While important progress has been made, Afghanistan remains one of the world’s least developed, poorest and most fragile states, and continues to be characterized by pervasive human rights abuses, conflict and violence. This funding will be used to sustain the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF), to support women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment, and to help meet the basic needs of Afghans.
Security and political stability are key to Afghanistan’s ability to meet its citizens’ basic needs, strengthen sustainable economic growth, and reduce its aid dependency. Canada will provide $195 million over three years to sustain the ANDSF, and to fulfill the commitment made by NATO in Chicago (2012) of an enduring partnership with Afghanistan.
This funding will contribute to building the ANDSF’s capacity, including the recruitment, training and retention of women in Afghanistan’s security sector, ensuring respect for international humanitarian law, and the better protection of civilians. These activities are in line with commitments made by Canada and Afghanistan under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
Canada has had an active development presence in Afghanistan for decades, and is committed to helping Afghanistan achieve its development goals. These goals include meeting the basic needs and reducing the vulnerability of the Afghan people, especially women and girls.
Building on this commitment, Canada will invest $270 million in development assistance for Afghanistan over the next three years. The funding will be critical to sustaining the progress already made in the country and contributing to a secure and stable Afghanistan.
Through a “Women’s and Girls’ Rights First” approach to its development assistance programming toward education, health, and human rights, Canada will:
- increase the self-reliance of the Afghan government to deliver basic services to its people;
- help empower women and girls through targeted activities to promote and protect their rights;
- increase access to economic opportunities for women and girls;
- reduce the vulnerability of women and girls to the impact of climate change;
- improve access to health services specifically for women, newborns and children;
- promote reproductive rights; and
- increase access to safe, quality basic education.
Canada, along with other donors, has supported the enrollment of 8.4 million children in Afghan schools. This new funding will help reach the remaining 4 to 5 million children who are not yet enrolled in school.
Canada’s continued support to health will further contribute to decreasing the maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan. Canada will also continue to support the promotion and protection of human rights, especially by addressing violence against women and promoting their full participation in society.