UN officials call for more aid, better coordinated
KABUL, 22 May 2008 (IRIN) – The international community has neither disbursed enough aid to alleviate poverty, nor coordinated closely enough with the Afghan government to ensure its effectiveness over the past six years, two senior UN officials told a news conference in Kabul on 22 May.
“It’s obvious that the international community does not spend its resources [in Afghanistan] as well as it should,” Kai Eide, special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan, told reporters.
Eide called on donors to allocate more resources for Afghanistan’s development and spend “much more” on certain sectors of the economy. He called for an “enhanced partnership” with the international community to overcome what he called “mounting challenges”. Aid agencies have said that although over US$15 billion worth of aid has been spent in Afghanistan since 2001, this was insufficient, given the years of war and turmoil.
The UN is working hard to achieve a “higher quality” and “enhanced” partnership with Afghanistan and the international community, he said, adding that more work was needed to achieve and maintain a robust partnership for success.
Eide, who heads the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), also said the Afghan government must fight corruption and improve governance. “It’s obvious that corruption is a much too widespread phenomenon in Afghanistan.”
The UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, Jean-Marie Guehenno, said Afghan expectations of the post-Taliban reconstruction and development drive had not been met.
“All Afghan people have heard of those billions of dollars that were coming to Afghanistan. Many billions have actually been spent but you haven’t always seen the concrete translation of that on the ground,” Guehenno said.
Weak coordination among multiple actors and poor accountability in aid management are among the reasons for aid ineffectiveness, according to Guehenno.
The two UN officials hoped the existing challenges would be solved through a high-level international conference in Paris in June. “We need to bring coherence… and we need more discipline in the international community,” Guehenno said.