Press release 167/2012
4 July 2012
Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala will attend the international conference on long-term support for the economy and the development of Afghanistan to take place in Tokyo on 8 July.
The conference in Tokyo is expected to agree on a development strategy for Afghanistan in the coming years and to confirm the commitment of the international community and the Government of Afghanistan in support of the strategy. The Government of Afghanistan is expected to present a more detailed plan for government reform and for work done in sectors central to the development of society. The international community is expected to confirm its support for Afghanistan during the post-2014 period, when responsibility for security has shifted from international forces to Afghanistan’s own security authorities.
The co-chairs of the conference will be President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba of Japan. The meeting will have participants from more than 70 countries and international organisations.
The Tokyo Conference agenda focuses on Afghanistan’s economic and development finance issues, in this way supplementing the achievements concerning support for security in Afghanistan after the year 2014 that were reached at the Afghanistan Summit held in conjunction with the NATO Summit in Chicago in May. The conference in Tokyo continues the series of international meetings that also included the ministerial conference held in Bonn last year in December. The conclusion of these meetings is increasingly clearly that international support for Afghanistan will remain strong after 2014.
The goals of the Tokyo Conference are also pivotal from the Finnish point of view, since Finland is committed to long-term support of Afghanistan. In accordance with the policy defined in the Government report approved in December 2011, the focus of Finland’s support to Afghanistan is shifting from military crisis management to development cooperation and civilian crisis management. The intention is for Finland’s development cooperation financing to increase from about 20 million euros to around 30 million euros by 2014.
Finland supports, in particular, the development of good governance, gender equality, human rights and the economy and livelihoods in Afghanistan. Support will be directed, for example, to projects promoting women's reproductive health, the aim being to reduce the high maternal mortality. In addition, Finland has started to support the country’s mining sector so that the self-sufficiency of Afghanistan would improve.
Additional information: Johan Schalin, Head of the Unit for Asia and Oceania, tel. +358 9 1605 6308, and Milma Kettunen, Press Attaché to the Minister, tel. +358 9 160 56435, mobile tel. +358 40-522 9869