Press Release / July 4, 2013

Afghan Government reinforces comprehensive extractives sector commitment

Global Witness welcomes a statement from the Afghan government reinforcing its commitment to manage its natural resource sector openly, transparently and in line with international best practice, but warns that effective implementation will be key to success. The statement comes days after a coalition of 36 civil society groups, including Global Witness, wrote to the Afghan government and donors calling on them to strengthen their commitments in the extractives sector.

The declaration was contained in the Co-Chair’s Statement following a crucial meeting between the Afghan goverment and its donors on July 3rd in Kabul. In the statement the Afghan government reaffirmed “its commitment to the preparation and implementation of a comprehensive and effective development framework for the Extractive Industries, including measures incorporating international best practice on social, environmental, as well as on community engagement.”

“This is a positive step forward, and one which we welcome,” said Stephen Carter, Afghanistan Campaign Leader at Global Witness. “Now the test will be whether the Afghan government will develop a truly world-class set of mechanisms to safeguard against the full range of potential dangers in the extractives sector – and most importantly take steps to implement them effectively.”

Global Witness was one of a coalition of 36 civil society groups that wrote to the Afghan government and donors urging them to use the Kabul meeting to clarify and strengthen their commitment to effective governance of the country’s extractives sector. The commitment, first made at an international conference on Afghanistan held in Tokyo in July 2012, is critical to ensuring Afghanistan’s natural resource wealth does not fuel conflict and corruption, as it has in many other countries in conflict.

The 3rd July Kabul meeting declaration will play an important part in setting the agenda for the implementation of the Tokyo agreements. But the declaration was silent on some key issues, notably the need for the framework to cover security questions, and the actual process through which individual mechanisms would be developed. In their letter the CSOs had argued that participation of civil society and other interested parties in the process was crucial to generating effective and legitimate structures.  

“Given the concerns over armed groups in Afghanistan, it is important the framework addresses the issue of security forces and their role in mining.  It is also crucial that civil society are able to contribute meaningfully to discussions about the design of any framework from the very beginning,” said Carter. “The Afghan government has indicated they want an open dialogue and a effective framework, and I think they mean it. But the proof will be in what emerges from this process in a few months,” Carter concluded.

ENDS

Contact

Stephen Carter, Afghanistan Campaign Leader, Global Witness on [email protected] / +447803052872

Notes for Editors

• The Senior Officials Meeting in Kabul took place on July 3 under the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework. The full text of the Co-Chair’s statement can be accessed at
http://mfa.gov.af/en/news/co-chairs-statement-tokyo-mutual-accountability-framework-tmaf-senior-officials-meeting-kabul-afghanistan-3-july-2013

• The joint civil society letter urging government and donors to live up tot heir promises at the SOM meeting can be found here:
http://mfa.gov.af/en/news/co-chairs-statement-tokyo-mutual-accountability-framework-tmaf-senior-officials-meeting-kabul-afghanistan-3-july-2013