Afghan Government and International Community Prepare for Geneva Conference at 21st JCMB

National Unity Government and the international community review progress on reforms at 21st Joint Coordination Monitoring Board meeting and prepare for the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan

July 18, 2018, Kabul:

The international community and the National Unity Government convened the 21st Joint Coordination Monitoring Board Meeting (JCMB) at the Presidential Palace on 18 July to discuss progress, challenges and the way forward in implementing the government’s reform agenda, and on the concrete work to be addressed in the run up to the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, including holding inclusive and credible elections, moving forward on National Priority Programs, and implementing reforms.

The meeting was co-chaired by Acting Finance Minister and Chief Advisor to the President, Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, and UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto.

His Excellency President Ashraf Ghani delivered the key note address and His Excellency Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah made closing remarks.

President Ghani focused on the peace process, and next steps for building on the national, regional and international consensus for peace. President Ghani recognized the immense sacrifices of the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces and Afghan people, and thanked the international community and the United States in particular for their support in the journey for peace.

To achieve peace, the President said, “We are all united on a common vision, committed to a productive dialogue where direct discussion, clear analysis and agreement on action provides the basis on building mutual trust.” President Ghani also reinforce the government’s commitment to holding the parliamentary elections on time and in a transparent manner.

Opening the conference, Minister Qayoumi focused on the achievements on the reforms agenda that the National Unity Government committed to at the London (2014) and Brussels (2016) Conferences: “There is a thread of connectivity throughout the reforms agenda, as articulated in the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework and National Priority Programs. What is more important than sectoral achievements is indeed the collective impact of the progress made in the reforms agenda across government. Indeed, what we are doing is nothing short of changing the way we govern, and in turn, changing what Afghans expect from their government."

Representing the international community, Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and co-chair of the JCMB, said:  “As we gathered today for the JCMB, Afghanistan faces special security, political, economic and social circumstances, including new opportunities for peace; elections; economic growth; invigorated efforts to combat corruption; and yet, increased poverty and continued insecurity. We considered these issues, to gauge the progress made and challenges ahead, and to chart a course toward the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, to take place on 28 November at a critical juncture, five weeks after the scheduled parliamentary elections and five months before the expected presidential elections, providing us a unique opportunity to

review and assess our progress, accept challenges, and plan for the rest of the Transformation Decade.”

Chief Executive of the National Unity Government Dr. Abdullah Abdullah gave closing remarks, reinforcing the importance of national unity and timely elections, and thanking the international community and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. “There have been gaps and inconsistencies in our efforts, but it has not been a waste. Lives have been changed,” said Chief Executive Abdullah. "We see impacts in the areas of access to education, health and the democratic process.”

Minister Qayoumi and SRSG Yamamoto ended the meeting by charting a path toward the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan.

The conference was preceded by a working dinner on Tuesday night focused on elections updates. In the meeting, co-chaired by Minister Qayoumi and SRSG Yamamoto, the Afghan government provided updates on elections preparation and reinforced its commitment to making sure elections take place on time.

The JCMB focused on seven priority reform areas:  security sector reforms, aid effectiveness, macro-economic reforms, private sector development, regional partners’ engagement, anti-corruption and justice, and implementation of National Priority Programs. Seven moderated panels featured government officials, international partners, and members of civil society and private sector and discussed progress and challenges in each sector in highly interactive manner.

The JCMB is a series of high-level meetings that take place annually. It is a platform for the Afghan government and international partners to discuss issues of mutual importance and provide each other with updates on the progress, challenges and further developments on their reform commitments as Afghanistan works toward self-reliance.

This was the 21st in its series, titled “Towards the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan.” The meeting was an opportunity to discuss developments following the Senior Officials Meeting of the National Unity Government and international community and determine the way forward leading to the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan to be held at Geneva in November 2018.