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December 2011 Bonn Conference on Afghanistan

In 2001, the reconstruction and stabilisation of Afghanistan was formally launched with the signing of the Bonn Agreement. Since then, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and a range of other international and Afghan stakeholders have worked to promote security, development and legitimate governance. Their work has been indelibly affected by the 2001 Bonn Agreement and has been refined in light of the Afghanistan Compact, the Kabul Conference and other key events and documents. In December 2011, a decade after the first Bonn Conference, more than 1,000 delegates from 90 countries re-convened in that same German city to outline the path for Afghanistan's transition. This page will capture key documents concerning and pertinent to the second international Bonn Conference on Afghanistan.

This page has been established by the NATO Civil-Military Fusion Centre (CFC) to track events surrounding the second international Bonn Conference on Afghanistan. This page is not an official conference page and is intended solely to provide background information on the conference for those civillian and military stakeholders interested in following the preparations for and course of the conference. The information posted on this page strictly originates from publicly available, open sources such as think tanks, international organisations, NGOs and governmental agencies. The information provided herein or noted in the publications posted here does not reflect the policies or positions or NATO, ISAF, the CFC or any other organisation.


 


 


 

Bonn Conference Looks Past 2014, Obtains Renewed Committments

Click here to access the 2011 Bonn Conference Communiqué


A thousand delegates from about 85 countries and 15 international organisations gathered for the Second Bonn Conference on Afghanistan on 05 December to
discuss the future of Afghanistan beyond the planned withdrawal of international forces in 2014, reports The New York Times. President Karzai started the meeting with a speech in which he called for political and military commitment that would last beyond 2014 until at least 2024, what was later dubbed the Transition to Transformation Decade of 2015-2024, according to The Times of India. Karzai told the gathering that the Afghan economy had made great strides from its “dismal baseline” in 2001, but said that “persistent poverty, corruption and imperfect aid schemes continued to hobble its progress,” a Reuters article stated. The resulting document, the Bonn Conference Communiqué, detailed a renewed commitment by the international community in areas of governance, security, the peace process, economic and social development and regional cooperation.

Pledges of Economic Support

Conference participants responded to Karzai with pledges to continue economic support to Afghanistan until 2024, the year by which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects the country to have become self-sufficient through revenue gains from mineral exploitation, reports The Guardian. The United Kingdom, for example, pledged to maintain its current level of approximately USD 278 million per year, said The Guardian. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the United States would free up an estimated USD 650 million in support of small community-based development projects in Afghanistan, currently frozen due to irregularities with Afghanistan’s Kabul bank, the Associated Press (AP) reported (see the CFC “Special Report on the Kabul Bank Crisis). A recent World Bank report said Afghanistan was likely to need around USD 7 billion a year to help pay its security and other bills until 2021.

US officials say they hope the conference will mark a start to a process outlining future support to be pledged by mid-2012, says the India Times. Reuters

also reported that US officials will begin pressing fellow donor nations to define future aid commitments in the coming months, “perhaps with the goal of announcing pledges at a NATO summit in Chicago in May.” According to The Guardian, the Gulf Cooperation Council will meet in February 2012 to discuss Arab support for the Afghan economy and its security forces.

 


Japan will host a global economic aid pledging conference in July. 
 

Calls for Accountability

Moreover, the Conference Communiqué stated that “Afghan government institutions at all levels should increase their responsiveness to the civil and economic needs of the Afghan people and deliver key services to them.” However, according to The New York Times, the head of the Afghan NGO Coordination Bureau told Clinton during a civic group roundtable discussion prior to the main event, that “Billions of dollars have been spent in Afghanistan but unfortunately, the expectations of the people have not been met.” Clinton echoed several other ministers by saying there was no purely military solution to the conflict but also stated that Afghans will have to face “taking difficult decisions to embrace reform, lead in their own defence and strengthen an inclusive democracy rooted in the rule of law,” according to The Guardian. In return, Afghanistan pledged to increase its anti-corruption efforts since the international community said it was ready to stand by Afghanistan so long as the country focuses more on good governance, reports the BBC

Regional Cooperation and Prospects for Reconciliation

According to the Press Trust of India, India’s Minister of External Affairs S M Krishna announced India is attempting to simplify the process of exporting goods from Afghanistan to India and has extended assistance for capacity building. Krishna also stated that India was prepared to make long-term investments and said that “If others do the same, we could set off a virtuous cycle of healthy economic competition in Afghanistan that benefits Afghanistan and the region.” Notably absent was Pakistan, which did not take part in the conference as a show of protest against the NATO airstrike that killed 24 of its troops. Reuters is reporting that the decision to boycott the meeting could indicate that Pakistan will not be using its influence with Taliban militants to bring them to the peace table. “Pakistan has an important leverage of facilitating, cooperating, trying to put pressure on the Taliban, trying to put pressure on the Haqqani group,” said retired general and defence analyst Talat Masood. Die Welt noted that Pakistan is the key” to the peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, many Afghans expected the event to be more talk without change, whether Pakistan attended or not. Reuters reported expectations   were   already   low   since


chances of an
appearance by Taliban representatives had disappeared earlier on in the planning of the conference. Even with the Taliban absent at the conference AP said that the delegations supported “an inclusive Afghan-led reconciliation process on the condition that any outcome must reject violence, terrorism and endorse the Afghan constitution and its guarantee of human rights.” In a separate AP article, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that Pakistan is committed to reconciliation, despite its absence at the Bonn Conference. This comes as the US Senate voted to require President Barack Obama to devise a plan for expediting the pullout of US troops from Afghanistan, reports a separate Reuters article. Though the chances of the requirement becoming law appear slim, the move signals a growing impatience to leave Afghanistan, according to Reuters. Vanda Felbab-Brown of the Brookings Institution told Deutsche Welle that “What really happens on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan in terms of negotiations with the Taliban is more important than what happens at these international summits.”  

Concerns for Civil Society

 Reuters had reported that civil society groups and women’s rights groups had shown great concern prior to the conference that their causes would be inadequately represented. The Communiqué reaffirms a commitment to the equality of men and women and the need for a “thriving and free civil society.” Despite such a recommitment to international human rights obligations Wazhma Frogh, an activist in the Afghan Women’s Network told The Guardian that financial support for gender equality, civil society organisations and a free media is already drying up as members of the international community are feeling the effects of a recession and have  subsequently cut aid budgets. US development aid, for instance, was quoted as having dropped from USD 3.5 billion in 2010 to USD 2 billion in 2011; within that budget, rule of law projects are suffering an ever deeper cut from USD 43 million to USD 16 million. Just days before the conference, a group of various civil society organisations and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) issued a report titled “Afghan People’s Dialogue on Peace: Laying the Foundations for an inclusive Peace Process.” The document details the views expressed by 1,500 Afghans from a wide range of professions, backgrounds, ethnicities and regions on topics such as security, economic development, peace, justice and reconciliation.

 

 

  


 

 

 RELEVANT REPORTS

 

 

 

Laying the Foundations for an Inclusive Peace Process (Afghan People's Dialogue)
The Afghan People's Dialogue on Peace are public discussion sponsored by thirteen civil society organisation and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. In October 2011, 78 focus groups were held in 31 provinces, involving more than 1,500 Afghans from all different ethnic, professional and economic backgrounds.

 

Istanbul and Bonn Conferences: Building Blocks of the Afghan Process (United States Institute for Peace)
This document by USIP seeks to address the challenges surrounding transition by examining the top items on the agenda of the upcoming conferences.

 

 

A Place at the Table: Safeguarding Women's Rights in Afghanistan (Oxfam)
This brief report examines the progress that has been made in Afghanistan in the area of women's rights in the past 10 years and also examines the persisting challenges that women face. Oxfam also highlights a few mportant topics that they argue need to be addressed in the near future.

 

Afghanistan: The Timetable for Security Transition (UK Library of the House of Commons)
This document, released in May 2011, offers some background information on the situation in Afghanistan as it relates to the ISAF presence and also details various countries' plans for troop withdrawal from the area.

 

 

Afghanistan Looking Ahead: Challenges for Governance and Community Welfare (Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit)
This is a compilation of policy notes prepared to coincide with preparations of the Second Bonn Conference. The various briefs are based on recent and ongoing research in governance, development and justice.

 

 

 

Afghan Women's Declaration: International Conference on Afghanistan in Bonn (Afghan Women's Network)
This declaration, which was published by the Afghan Women's Network  to coincide with the day of the Bonn Conference, demands a confirmation of the Afghan government's plans and commitments in protecting and promoting women's human rights.

The Need for a Political and Economic Transition Strategy in Afghanistan (Center for American Progress)
This report is based on four days of meetings in Kabul, Afghanistan frm July 27-30, 2011, with top Afghan, U.S., and international officials. The report concludes that the Afghan state's fragile democratic institutions is facing numerous political and economic hurdles that must be addressed before transition.

Afghan Women Towards Bonn and Beyond: Position Paper (Afghan Women's Network)
This position paper addresses the challenge of women participation in national and subnational processes of decision-making.

Afghanistan in Transition: Will 'Bonn II' be a Game Changer? (Institute of South Asian Studies)
This report highlights key political challenges currently facing Afghanistan and offers areas for improvement.

Afghan Women at the Crossroads: Agents of Peace--Or Its Victims? (The Century Foundation)
This paper examines ways in which the international community can take greater collective responsibility for assisting Afghanistan's transition.

Canadian Policy Toward Afghanistan to 2011 and Beyond: Issues, Prospects, Options (Canadian Library of Parliament)
This background paper seeks to analyse the current situation in Afghanistan as it relates to the Canadian contribution.

Afghanistan Transition: Missing Variables (The International Council on Security and Development)
An overview of interviewees' perceptions of ISAF and the wider international community, their attitudes toward the Taliban, and their opinions on internatinal development efforts in their community.

UNSCR 1325: Implementation in Afghanistan (Afghan Women's Network)
This report examines the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UN SCR) 1325 implementation in Afghanistan using a set of indicators developed originally by AWN and other members of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP).

 

 

OTHER TRANSITION DOCUMENTS

 

Transition in Afghanistan: Looking Beyond 2014 (World Bank)

Piecemeal or Peace Deal? NATO, Peace Talks and a Political Settlement in Afghanistan
(Christian Aid, Open Society Foundations, Oxford Research Group)

Joint NGO Statement for the Istanbul Conference
The statement was issued on 01 November on behalf of several national and international development and humanitarian aid agencies working in Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan Activities and Civil Society Forum Afghanistan

Perspectives of Young People on the Conflict in Afghanistan

 

 PAST CONFERENCE DOCUMENTS

 


The Council of the European Union Conclusions on Afghanistan
The 3124th Foreign Affairs Council Meeting, 14 November 2011

Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation For a Secure and Stable Afghanistan
The Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan, 02 November 2011

Declaration by NATO and the GIRoA on an Enduring Partnership
The Lisbon NATO Summit,
19-20 November 2010

Kabul Conference Communiqué

The Kabul International Conference on Afghanistan, 20 July 2010

London Conference Communiqué

The London Conference: Afghan Leadership, Regional Cooperation, International Partnership, 28 January 2010

Declaration of the Special Conference on Afghanistan convened under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Moscow Special Conference on Afghanistan, 27 March 2009

Declaration of the International Conference in Support of Afghanistan
Paris International Conference on Afghanistan, 12 June 2008

Joint Recommendations from the Rome Conference
Rome Conference on the Rule of Law in Afghanistan, 02-03 July 2007

The Afghanistan Compact
The London Conference on Afghanistan, 31 January - 01 February 2006

Berlin Declaration

International Afghanistan Conference in Berlin, 31 March - 01 April 2004

Bonn Agreement

First International Bonn Conference on Afghanistan, December 2001

 

 

    USEFUL LINKS