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Thursday, 13 February 2003
Page: 11946


Mr Danby asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 12 December 2002:

(1) Is he able to say which countries pledged aid to Afghanistan at the international conference at Bonn, Germany?

(2) What sums did each country pledge?

(3) What aid referred to in parts (1) and (2) have been delivered?

(4) What aid has Australia pledged to help rebuild Afghanistan beyond the $40.3 million allocated and re-announced at the February Tokyo conference?

(5) What are the details of the pledges referred to in part (4), including whether they have been delivered; if they have not been delivered, when will they be delivered?

(6) For what has the $40.3 million in aid been used?

(7) Has the $40.3 million been fully dispensed; if not, why not?


Mr Downer (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) to (3) The international conference at Bonn, Germany in December 2001 fostered agreement on provisional governance arrangements in Afghanistan, pending the re-establishment of permanent government institutions. It involved a range of Afghan parties and factions, and was a key factor in building Afghan ownership for the reconstruction and transition processes. The Conference was sponsored by the United Nations and was not a pledging conference.

(4) The Honourable member's question refers to a figure of $40.3 million “re announced” at the Tokyo Donors Conference in January 2002. At Tokyo, the Government committed an additional $17 million in reconstruction assistance, building on $23.3 million in assistance that had been announced in September and October 2001.

Since the Tokyo Conference, Australia has committed a further $14.3 million in assistance to Afghanistan, bringing our assistance committed since September 11 2001 to approximately $54.6 million. This is Australia's second largest response to a single humanitarian crisis and is exceeded only by East Timor.

(5) The additional $14.3 million in assistance referred to above includes the following: $1 million for relief activities following the March 2002 earthquakes in Northern Afghanistan; $2.13 million for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for refurbishment of the Jangalak Refugee Processing Centre in Kabul, and to assist with re-establishing transportation networks for returnees; a further $7 million in food aid assistance through WFP; $1.5 million for mine action activities; $0.3 million for scholarships; and $2.4 million for capacity building activities in migration and border control announced in November 2002.

Of this amount, over $11.6 million has been disbursed including funding to IOM, WFP and for mine action. Australia is currently working with Afghanistan's Transitional Administration to identify candidates for ADS scholarships and develop a framework to guide the delivery of assistance in migration and border control. Funds for these activities are likely to be expensed over 2002-03 and 2003-04. The phased allocation and disbursement of funds is a result of the evolving situation on the ground, and the need to remain responsive to the emerging priorities of the Transitional Administration.

(6) The attached table details how the $40.3 million in assistance referred to by the honourable member is being delivered. Australia's approach has been to utilise multilateral agencies and NGOs as key delivery mechanisms. This reduces the burden on the Transitional Administration and utilises on the ground infrastructure and experience. It also facilitates donor coordination, reduces duplication, and allows rapid disbursement of funds targeted towards urgent and emerging national priorities. It is consistent with the strategy being pursued and supported by the broader international donor community in Afghanistan.

(7) Of the $40.3 million referred to, over $39 million has been disbursed. The remaining funding will include support for the banking and finance sectors, such as the provision of Australian technical expertise, and will be disbursed during the remainder of the 2002-03 financial year. It also includes a small amount to meet any emerging contingencies, given that Afghanistan continues to face major humanitarian challenges. The Government remains committed to assisting where it can in Afghanistan, bearing in mind the urgent priorities in our more immediate region.

Attachment A: Australia's Commitments to Afghanistan since September 2001

Amount

Announced

Composition

$23.3 million

23 September and 4 October 2001

$5 m in food aid, including 7,200 tonnes of Australian wheat flour$4 m to UNHCR* for protection and assistance to displaced Afghans$2 m to ICRC's* Afghanistan Appeal$0.5 m to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, to coordinate international relief efforts$0.5 m to IOM* for food, non-food supplies, shelter and other assistance to displaced Afghans$0.3 m to UNHCR for the Afghan Forum, Geneva 2001$1 m to Australian NGOs - CARE Australia, Australian Red Cross, UNICEF Australia and Oxfam CAA$7 m to UNHCR for sustainable solutions for displaced Afghans and protection activities for Afghans in SW Asia$2 m to ICRC for activities in Afghanistan, including family reunification$1 m to IOM for assistance with resettlement/migration

$17 million

Tokyo Conference 21 January 2002

$1.5 m to Australian NGOs to build capacity of local Afghan groups$2 m for costs associated with provision of Australian wheat flour$1m to UNDP* Regional Humanitarian Coordinator's Office$0.5 m to UNICEF for children's and women's winter survival, immunisation, nutrition, medicines$0.5 m to UN Drug Control Program$0.5 m for mine action activities$3 m to UNHCR for its global resettlement function$1 m to UNDP's Trust Fund for the Afghan Interim Authority$4 m to UNICEF for basic education$1 m to the International Centre for Wheat and Maize Improvement (CIMMYT) for work on wheat seed quality and distribution$0.5 m for assistance in banking and finance through UNDP and ADB*$0.5 m to meet emerging contingencies

$1 million

27 March 2002

$1 m for earthquake relief activities through ICRC and WFP*

$2.13 million

June and 4 July 2002

$2.13 m to IOM to assist with refurbishment of the Jangalak Refugee Processing Centre in Kabul, and for assistance with transport networks

$7 million

20 August 2002

$7 m through WFP for food aid assistance

$1.5 million

13 September 2002

$1.5 m for mine action activities

$0.3 million

14 November 2002

$0.3 m for scholarships

$2.4 million

14 November 2002

$2.4 m for capacity building in migration and border control

$0.04 million

Support for INTERSERV volunteers through AusAID's Australia-NGO Cooperation Program over 2001-02 and 2002-03

*UNHCR = United Nations High Commission for Refugees

*ICRC = International Committee of the Red Cross

*IOM = International Organisation for Migration

*UNDP = United Nations Development Program

*ADB = Asian Development Bank

*WFP = World Food Program