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Afghanistan

Introduction

Afghanistan ranks 175th (as of 2013) in the UNDP Human Development Index which annually monitors the socio-economic development of countries around the world. The average life expectancy in Afghanistan is 49 years. As a result of the armed conflict active since the 1980's, technical and social infrastructure is underdeveloped, while the drugs trade is conducive to corruption and weakens local institutions. The reconstruction and stabilization effort in Afghanistan is one of the biggest developmental challenges facing the group of donor countries active in South-West Asia.

Poland has been involved in development co-operation with Afghanistan since 2002. Polish aid, administrated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is mainly channelled bilaterally through NGOs, Polish Military Contingent and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Kabul. Since 2004 Afghanistan has been one of the priority countries of the Polish development aid programme.

Due to the security situation in Afghanistan, until November 2013 development aid had to be implemented with organizational and logistical assistance of the military. The Polish team operating in the framework of PRT Ghazni comprised civilian experts and soldiers responsible for the individual support sectors (e.g. infrastructure, education, community affairs, culture, media, public administration), and implemented development projects in collaboration with local authorities and social organizations.

PRT measures were aimed at rebuilding Ghazni province and bolstering the institutional capacity of local self-government bodies. Apart from construction projects dealing with basic infrastructure (building of roads, renovations of public utility buildings, building of waterworks, electrification) and the purchase of essential supplies for schools, hospitals and other public utility institutions, the PRT conducted social, methodological and educational projects (workshops in literacy, mathematics, IT skills, English, vocational training to boost skills). The PRT operated in line with the Provincial Development Plan. The initiatives were always suggested by local inhabitants, while the projects made use of local technologies and beared in mind the availability of spare parts on the local market.

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Actions in 2014

The 2014 Development Cooperation Plan earmarks PLN 4,317,670 as a support for Afghanistan. The following activities are planned in the framework of these funds:

  • projects implemented by the MFA (including those conducted in cooperation with the National School of Public Administration (KSAP) – PLN 500,000;
  • projects implemented by government administration bodies – PLN 117,670;
  • cooperation in the frame of international humanitarian organization PLN 1.2 mln;
  • support for Afghan administration through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) – PLN 2 mln;
  • projects implemented by Polish Embassy in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (in the framework of the Small Grants System) – PLN 500,000.

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Actions in 2013

In 2013, more than PLN 4 mln was allocated to development cooperation with Afghanistan implemented through the MFA. In the frame of this quota, the following initiatives were financed:

  • Training for Afghan firefighters on rescue tactic and prevention, continuation – conducted by the Central School of the State Fire Service in Częstochowa (Ministry of Interior) – PLN 170,000;
  • Trainings for Afghan administration conducted by the National School of Public Administration – PLN 440,000;
  • Cooperation in the frame of multilateral organizations (contributions to the International Committee for the Red Cross, the World Food Programme, and the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund) – PLN 3.3 mln;
  • Projects implemented in the frame of the Small Grants System by Polish Embassy in Kabul – PLN 227,000.

The activities financed by the MFA included, among others, a training for 19 Afghan firefighters conducted by the Central School of the State Fire Service in Częstochowa (continuation of the activities implemented in 2012) and trainings on value-based management for eight high officials, conducted by the National School of Public Administration, implemented jointly with the Afghanistan Civil Service Institute (ASCI). In addition, the National School of Public Administration conducted a training for ten representatives of the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA).

PRT Ghazni

In the frame of the funds of the Ministry of National Defence, the Polish part of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Ghazni implemented 37 projects, including: 8 projects connected with creating the Disaster Recovery Center in Ghazni, 18 training projects which aimed at strengthening institutional abilities of local authorities and vocational trainings for the population, as well as 11 projects connected with building infrastructure and buying equipment. The Polish part of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Ghazni completed their aid activity on 26 November 2013.

Up to 2012, funds for the team’ activity were received from the MFA. In 2013, on the other hand, projects were financed by the MND.

Read more about Polish assistance to Afghanistan:

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Actions in 2012

In 2012, Polish assistance to Afghanistan was focused in the following sectors:

  • development of infrastructure in Ghazni province;
  • strenghtening of self-sufficiency of Ghazni province inhabitants through vocational training;
  • strenghtening state structures including supporting Afghan administration in developing efficient judical system;
  • supporting Afghan administration in the field of monument protection;
  • education.

A total of 42 projects were carried out, which includes 37 projects implemented by the Provincial Reconstruction Team – Ghazni (18 in the field of infrastructure, 13 in the field of vocational training and 6 which consisted in purchasing equipment - see full list) and 5 projects aimed at supporting Afghan administration.

In 2012 a total value of development aid for Afghanistan amounted to PLN 28,960,562, which includes PLN 20,555,760 for initiatives of the Provincial Reconstruction Team – Ghazni, PLN 1,549,801.91 for support of the Afghan administration and PLN 6,855,000 in form of contributions to multilateral funds.

Activities financed with MFA funds included, among others training for 20 officers from the Afghan fire service conducted by the Central School of the State Fire Service in Częstochowa and participation of 37 members of Afghan civil service in Strategic Economic Needs and Security Exercise (SENSE) hosted by the National School of Public Administration.

Read more about Polish assistance to Afghanistan:

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Actions in 2011

In 2011, assistance was provided mainly in the following sectors:

  • good governance – strengthening state administration, including the justice administration sector, developing independent media, education;
  • development of the Ghazni province and city – development of public infrastructure (roads, schools, providing access to water and electricity), job creation and assistance for refugees;
  • development of rural areas and agriculture – introduction of alternative crops to poppy production (building and extension of rural health care centres);
  • SMEs – development of the private sector, enabling women to become vocationally active.

In 2011, the MFA financed 36 projects in Afghanistan with approximately PLN 26 million from its special purpose reserve, of which almost PLN 23 million went to 33 projects implemented by the Polish Team in PRT Ghazni, approximately PLN 1 million was given to finance 2 NGO projects and approximately PLN 67 thousand was spent on one project realized by the MFA Department for Implementation of Development Programmes.

A representative of the Afghanistan Civil Service Institute (ACSI) visited the MFA in June 2011. His visit initiated cooperation between the National School of Public Administration (KSAP) and its Afghan counterpart. In October 2011, experts from KSAP visited Kabul to discuss the training needs of the Afghanistan administration before the start of the 2012 training programme. Following his visit, 45 representatives of the Afghan administration took part in SENSE trainings in December, 2011.

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Actions in 2010

In 2010, the MFA allocated from its special purpose reserve PLN 20.8 million to finance bilateral cooperation with Afghanistan, of which PLN 20 million went to 32 projects implemented by POL PRT Ghazni, approximately PLN 430 thousand to 1 NGO project, and PLN 273 thousand to 3 projects realised by the Department for Implementation of Development Programmes.

Poland also made voluntary contributions to Afghanistan: USD 1 million to ARTF (Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund) and EUR 375 thousand to WFP (World Food Programme).

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Actions in 2009

In 2009 most of the funds were to be allocated to projects implemented by experts within the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Ghazni. Poland has been a part of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan since 2002.

The projects of Polish team in PRT in Ghazni to be implemented in 2009 included:

  • infrastructural projects (modernisation of road network and extension of power network in Ghazni province, providing equipment to radio and TV broadcasting station in Ghazni);
  • health-care support (medical equipment for the provincial hospital in Ghazni);
  • organisation of public space (equipment for district centre in Jaghori, reconstruction of bazaar in Gelan, landscaping items - green areas in Ghazni city).

In 2009 assistance was provided mainly in the following sectors:

  • strengthening state structures and civil society, including assistance in the organisation of elections and developing a system of voters’ lists;
  • diversification of the economy, including the development of agriculture and cultivations alternative to opium poppy,
  • access to drinking water;
  • health protection, including the building and extension of rural health care centres;
  • education;
  • development of the Ghazni province.

The Embassy of the Republic of Poland implements 10 assistance projects whose total cost amounts to over 242 thousand EUR in 2009. Furthermore, development and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan co-financed by the MFA are also conducted by 2 Polish NGOs: Polish Humanitarian Organisation and Association "Peace for Education".

In 2009 more than USD 2.6 million was transferred via Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), World Food Programme (WFP), NATO/ISAF Post-Operations Humanitarian Relief Fund and United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

In 2009, a total of PLN 15 million was spent on co-financing 45 projects. More information about all the projects realised in 2009 is available in the Annual Report on Poland’s Development Cooperation (see Documents and Publications).

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Actions in 2008

Between 2004 and 2008 over 60 projects were implemented. Their total cost amounted to EUR 5.7 million. In 2008 Polish support to Afghanistan became focused on specific areas:

  • strengthening of state structures and civil society;
  • diversification of economy;
  • access to potable water;
  • health protection;
  • education.

Until 2008 the majority of projects concerned construction and modernisation of schools and health centres, support of agricultural education and construction of water pumps. In 2008, in order to strengthen the Afghan state structure, Poland organised the first edition of Strategic Economic Needs and Security Exercise (S.E.N.S.E). Participants (over 40 representatives of government, media and NGOs) received hands-on experience in the field of managing the process of economic transformation as well as governing democratic state.

In 2008, PLN 8.5 million was allocated for the development assistance provided to Afghanistan. This includes 33 projects which were implemented with co-financing amounting to PLN 5.5 million. More information on all projects implemented in 2008 is available in the Annual Report on Poland’s Development Cooperation (see Documents and Publications).

Moreover, Poland provides assistance to Afghanistan through voluntary contributions to international institutions and organisations, whose total value between 2004 and 2008 amounted to USD 3,5 million. Additional funds have been allocated towards multilateral initiatives active in Afghanistan, e.g. the World Food Programme’s Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation, measures implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund.

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