Tokyo Declaration pushes regional cooperation for Afghanistan's development
Photos: Department of External Relations, Asian Development Bank.
The Tokyo Declaration—Partnership for Self-Reliance in Afghanistan from Transition to Transformation, issued at the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan on 8 July 2012, endorses regional cooperation to help sustain Afghanistan’s growth and development. The declaration states, “Regional cooperation and integration contribute to the sustainability of development efforts, through increasing economic and trade opportunities as well as enhancing political dialogue.”
With the governments of Japan and Afghanistan as conference co-chairs, ministers and representatives of 55 countries and 25 international and other organizations reaffirmed support for Afghanistan’s sustainable growth and development throughout the Transformation Decade (2015–2024).
The conference, led by Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihiko Noda and President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, included high-level participants such as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and United States (US) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Afghanistan and Regional Cooperation
A landlocked country at the heart of the New Silk Road, Afghanistan is envisaged as a hub and a landbridge at the center of a stable and prospering region. Afghanistan’s future is vital in realizing this vision of regional connectivity and economic integration.
In the declaration, conference participants mentioned ways to promote regional economic cooperation:
Participants also shared the view that developing a vibrant private sector will be essential for Afghanistan’s long-term development, supported by an enabling business environment. They encouraged the creation of models for cross-country partnerships in investment to encourage international investors to engage in partnership arrangements with regional investors, as well as with local Afghan entrepreneurs.
Participants also discussed security and the peace process as well as the important role of civil society in advocating for human rights, good governance, and sustainable socioeconomic and democratic development of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan and CAREC
Afghanistan became a CAREC member country in 2005 and has received $2.1 billion worth of investments in transport, trade, and energy. Some of these investments are funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which also serves as the CAREC Secretariat.
ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda reported that within the framework of CAREC, ADB has funded six major regional road and rail corridors in Afghanistan. These include the Ring Road, the north–south corridor, the Kabul to Jalalabad expressway, and the Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif railway. In the energy sector, construction of regional transmission lines is being financed to supply electricity to Afghanistan from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Overall, since 2002, ADB has approved more than $2.8 billion in loans, grants, equity investments, and technical assistance for Afghanistan, primarily focused on infrastructure—the backbone of economic and social development—in the transport, energy, water, and irrigation sectors.
$16 Billion in Development Aid
Conference participants committed to provide over $16 billion in development aid through 2015, and sustaining support through 2017. This aid aims to address budget shortfall that cannot be met by Afghanistan’s domestic revenues, as estimated by the World Bank and the Government of Afghanistan.
The following donors announced these commitments:
To ensure continuity and progress, the Government of Afghanistan and participants agreed to establish a follow-up mechanism to review their mutual long-term commitments laid out in the Tokyo Declaration and the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework, and to verify the fulfillment of these commitments. The first follow-up meeting will be in 2014, to be co-hosted by Afghanistan and the United Kingdom.