Government of South Korea commits over $ 43 million to improve women’s rights and delivery of basic services in Afghanistan

16 Dec 2013

imageUNDP Afghanistan: The UN Resident Coordinator in Afghanistan, Mr. Mark Bowden, delivering his statement at the signing ceremony for assistance from Republic of Korea for UNDP, UNCEF, UNFPA and UN-Women.

Kabul: The Republic of Korea has pledged more than US$43 million for the next three years to support the implementation of projects to improve women’s rights and delivery of basic services in Afghanistan.  Mr. Young-cheol Cha, Ambassador of Korea, Mr. Mark Bowden, UNAMA Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General/Resident and Humanitarian  Coordinator, and representatives from the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes inked the agreement today in Kabul.

The assistance announced today aims to support the national development priorities identified by the Government of Afghanistan, and is a part of the commitment by the Government of Korea for its involvement in the long-term development of Afghanistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Cha said, “With the assistance that we have announced today, we signal our commitment of support to ensuring strong progress on gender equality, protection of women’s rights, and women’s empowerment in Afghanistan, including building greater focus on increased improvement maternal health, development of women’s entrepreneurship skills and elimination of violence against women. At the same time, we will support initiatives for ensuring transparent and accountable governance in the provinces, which is critical to improvements in delivery of basic services for all Afghans and expanding progress on socio-economic and cultural development of Afghanistan”.

Mr. Cha said that the Republic of Korea, in its modern history, had experienced war and extreme poverty about half a century ago but with the generous assistance of international community, could successfully overcome those difficulties and is today part of the OECD club of countries who provide assistance to other developing countries.“We feel it is our responsibility to assist countries in need, like our friend Afghanistan, by supporting them with financial assistance and development experience”, Mr. Cha observed. 

The UN agencies, funds and programmes receiving grants are United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women).

“The United Nations welcomes the generous support from the Government of Republic of Korea, which enables the UN agencies, funds and programmes to work more closely with their Government counterparts to ensure the rights and needs of Afghans are met at the national and subnational levels,” said Mr. Bowden.

UNDP receives US$11 million for women’s empowerment, including building capacity for oversight of the implementation of the National Action Plan of Women in Afghanistan (NAPWA), women’s entrepreneurship skills development and access to justice for women, including increasing awareness of women’s rights among men and women. UNDP will receive another US$8 million for support to strengthening sub-national governance in Parwan and other target provinces, including support to Provincial and District Governors’ offices and Provincial Councils. Provincial and district Municipalities will also benefit as a result of the Korean support to UNDP.
Contact: Kumar M Tiku, Communications Specialist, kumar.tiku@undp.org, or +93 (0) 797789721,

UNICEF receives US$16.8 million for the improvement of maternal and neonatal child health in under-served areas of Afghanistan. While great progress has been made in recent years, maternal and child mortality rates in Afghanistan still remain among the highest in the world. According to the recent Afghanistan Mortality Survey, out of every 1000 live births, 97 children die before their fifth birthday and 327 women die per 100,000 live births as a result of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. This project aims to reduce maternal and under-five mortality by establishing sustainable outreach Minimum Integrated Package (MIP) in under-served communities for increased coverage of maternal, child health and nutrition services.
Contact: Alistair Gretarsson, Chief, Communication & Advocacy, agretarsson@unicef.org  or +93(0)798507110,

UNFPA receives grant of US$4.2 million to address issues related to Gender-based Violence (GBV). The funding will be utilized for coordinated multi-sectoral response to gender-based violence with a focus on integration of professional assistance and referral services into the health sector in a socio-culturally sensitive manner. The current project implementation focuses in four provinces (Kabul, Nangarhar, Bamyan, and Ghor) through UNFPA direct execution and its implementing partners.
Contact: Ahmadullah Amarkhil, UNFPA Communication Officer, amarkhil@unfpa.org, or +93 (0)70 026 3232 

UN-Women receives US$3.432 million to support work addressing all aspects of Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW), including protection, prevention and advocacy.  UN Women will provide much needed technical and financial support to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs and civil society, focusing on Women Protection Centers and Family Guidance Centers, provincial EVAW Commissions and Resource Centers, and legal reform. Advocacy on women’s rights also underpins all UN-Women activities, and will play a significant part in the programme.
Contact: Ahmad Shikib Dost, Information and Communication Officer, shikib.dost@unwomen.org, or +93 (0) 702 558 091

The Korean Ambassador said that his country wants to be part of this transformative agenda and help Afghanistan through this critical period of transition to transformation.