Grant Aid to Afghanistan for Afghanistan's New Beginnings Programme
- The Government of Japan has decided to provide conflict prevention and peace building a grant aid totaling 3 billion yen through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to the Transitional Administration of Afghanistan for the purpose of contributing to the implementation of Afghanistan's New Beginnings Programme which supports the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process of ex-combatants. The documents pertaining to the grant aid were exchanged between Ambassador to Afghanistan, Kinichi Komano from the Japanese side and Mr. Ercan Murat, Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme in Afghanistan on March 18 (Thursday), in Kabul.
- During over 20 years of continued conflict Afghanistan experienced the "rule of the gun" by warlord. The conflict came to an end and the Bonn Agreement of December 2001, in which Afghan factions agreed to embark on the peace process, stipulated that all armies and domestic military forces would be placed under the command and control of the central government and that a new Afghan national army would be constituted. Subsequent developments in the peace process included the inauguration of the Transitional Administration by an emergency Loya Jirga (National Assembly and traditional advisory body) in June 2002 and the adoption of a new constitution in January 2004. However the rule of military factions struggling for control in the regions remains an important issue for the "consolidation of peace" in Afghanistan.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi paid a visit to Afghanistan in May 2002 and introduced Japan's proposal of "Register for Peace", an initiative under which ex-combatants are demobilized and reintegrated into civil society. Subsequently Japan and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) have jointly assisted the efforts of the Transitional Administration of Afghanistan to dismantle the military factions through DDR. In February 2003 the "Tokyo Conference on Consolidation of Peace in Afghanistan" (the DDR International Conference) was held with the participation of H.E. Hamid Karzai, President of the Transitional Administration of Afghanistan. Subsequently Japan provided grant aid up to US$35 million for the development and implementation of the Afghanistan's New Beginnings Programme, and implemented policy assistance through the Japanese Embassy in Afghanistan and vocational training of instructors participating in social reintegration programs for demobilized combatants. Japan also organized the International Observer Group (IOG) to monitor disarmament and demobilization implemented by Afghan Government institutions. As a result, on October 24, 2003, President Karzai declared the commencement of DDR and the first project by the Afghanistan Transitional Administration started.
- Afghanistan's New Beginnings Programme represents the actualization of the "Register for Peace" proposal, and Japan, as a joint leading nation in the area of DDR in Afghanistan, is expected to continue to make an appropriate contribution in advance of the full-scale implementation of the DDR process in 2004.
- The assistance for the New Beginnings Programme includes the head office management expenses (for one year), the social reintegration program for ex-combatants which is the key to the DDR process (for one year), and the operating costs of the International Observer Group which has the function of ensuring the steady implementation of DDR. This assistance is expected to make a significant contribution to the improvement of public security and to the peace process, through the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants.
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