USD 20 Million New Japanese Funding For Livelihoods Generation in Rural Afghanistan
Kabul, Afghanistan: The Government of Japan will provide an additional USD 20 million for the implementation of livelihoods-support projects in Afghanistan under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-supported National Area Based Development Programme (NABDP). An agreement to this effect was signed in the presence of the Minister H.E. Mr. Wais Ahmad Barmak, Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), by the Japanese Ambassador to Afghanistan, H.E. Mr. Hiroshi Takahashi, and the UNDP Country Director for Afghanistan, Mr. Alvaro Rodriguez.
NABDP is the flagship programme under the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) for the implementation of economic empowerment, water, transport, energy and other critical projects across rural Afghanistan. The programme works to reduce disparities by investing in social organization, productive infrastructure, local economic development and sub-national governance initiatives. It strives to advance progress toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals – especially amongst Afghanistan’s rural population.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Barmak thanked the people of Japan for their strong support to the development of a peaceful Afghanistan. He said over USD 3.3 billion had been contributed by Japan to Afghanistan, making it the second largest donor partner of Afghanistan. “People, especially in rural areas continue to have immense needs and support of the international community will be needed for a long time to improve living conditions at the grassroots level”, the Minister remarked.
In his remarks, Ambassador Takahashi underlined the need for developing Afghanistan as an agriculture-based country. He said agriculture was highly developed in Japan and Afghanistan could benefit in this area through exchange of ideas and expertise between the two countries.
Emphasizing the significance of the Japanese contribution, Mr. Rodriguez said the new assistance would help UNDP directly support rural community infrastructure, sustainable livelihoods for the poor and efforts at women’s empowerment. He said the benefits of such support will be felt by the people of Afghanistan around the country.
The new funding will impact approximately 200,000 people in 132 districts that are spread across 32 of the 34 Afghan provinces. In addition to gender-based empowerment, the key focus of the projects will be upon strengthening local governance, improving access to services and facilities, and capacity development training targeting women, farmers and ex-combatants to improve rural livelihoods. Since 2007, the Government of Japan has committed over USD 66 million to various projects under NABDP. Significant milestones achieved include the establishment of District Development Assemblies which have improved participatory decision-making at a local-level in nearly 360 districts across the country. As part of rural development support under NABDP, an estimated 630,000 families have access to improved transport infrastructure and nearly 640,000 households are protected from floods and other natural disasters. And over 70 Micro Hydro Power projects have provided electricity to nearly 11,000 households.
The signing event, held at the Government Media Information Center (GMIC) in Kabul, was attended by senior government representatives, international partners and local and international media persons. Project implementation is scheduled to begin in January 2013 and will be carried out through 31 December 2014.
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