On behalf of FAO, I wish to express our deep gratitude to the Government of Japan for hosting this important and timely gathering once again, following successful first Tokyo Conference held a decade ago in 2002. I also wish to thank the Afghan Government and the International Community for inviting FAO in this extremely important event.
FAO fully supports and endorses “ the Tokyo Declaration: Partnership for Self-Reliance in Afghanistan from Transition to Transformation” which is the key outcome of today’s conference, including the recognition of the importance of our joint and concerted effort on poverty reduction, food security, provision of basic social services, protection of human rights including for women and children, promotion of governance, decent employment, education, culture, as well as public and private sector investment, especially in agriculture, irrigation and energy sectors. FAO also welcomes the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (Tokyo Framework) and fully supports the importance of monitoring the performance of five major goals, especially the goal to achieve inclusive and sustained growth through a focus on food security, human capacity development, private investment and decent employment, as well as to improving aid effectiveness.
In Afghanistan, agriculture sector employs nearly 80 percent of the total population who constitute the majority of the poor in the country. Yet, agriculture sector is constrained by low productivity, lack of adequate access to water, irrigation and arable land, inadequate farm infrastructure and high post-harvest losses. FAO believes that these constraints could overcome through improved farm management and agricultural investment in association with technological innovation, capacity building and good governance. This is where donor intervention can play a crucial central role, which would also facilitate in achieving food security and alleviate poverty.
FAO currently operates in Afghanistan the largest programme in Asia and the Pacific Region with over 400 FAO staff working nation-wide, and nearly 30 on-going emergency and long-term programme and projects with the total budget of approximately US dollar 140 million funded by various resource partners. FAO’s priority in Afghanistan which is aligned with Afghan government’s priority as stipulated in its Country Programming Framework (CPF) 2012-16, focuses on six areas of support to 1) fostering agricultural productivity, 2) better water resources and irrigation management, 3) enhancing policy making and administrative capacity, 4) better natural resource management, 5) food and nutrition security, and 6) capacity development in emergency management.
In this opportunity, I wish convey our special gratitude to Afghan government for its strong collaboration with FAO, and the International Community and donors for their partnership in attaining our shared goals. I wish to assure you of FAO`s continued commitment and strong support to Afghanistan to its effort to attain self-reliance and sustainable development.