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Brussels, 14 October 2014 - The basic document for future EU development cooperation in Afghanistan, the Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP), has finally been signed by the new President of Afghanistan . This document outlines the EU development and aid policy for the next 7 years. From 2014 until 2020, the total EU commitment  is € 1400 million, € 200 million a year, which means that the budget for Afghanistan has not been reduced. The MIP will be implemented through Annual Action Programmes and Financing Agreements.  There are new opportunities, mainly in health sector.

ENNA was present at the official presentation of the new MIP at the EU Department of Development Cooperation in Brussels.

 

 

The MIP is indicating four sectors of development cooperation in Afghanistan, with a budget of € 1100 million :

$11.       agriculture & rural development,  supported by 30% of the budget

$12.       health,  supported by 25%

$13.       policing and rule of law,  supported by 30%

$14.       democratization and accountability,  supported by 14%

There will be a project approach, aligned with the Government strategies (National  Priority Programmes-NPPs).  Most of the funds will be implemented through multi-donor trust funds.  It was confirmed that funds are still available for INGO’s , or directly or through the World Bank or the Government of Afghanistan.

A brand new addition in the EU policy are the incentive-based funds for Afghanistan, for € 300 million, 20% of the total budget.  The mechanism for that will be related to the TMAF.

 

Health sector

MIP 2014-2020 : “Together with education, progress in the health sector is crucial to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals as well as government's outreach in the provinces. Success in the Health sector is largely credited to the government’s Basic Package of Healthcare Services (BPHS) and Essential Package of Hospital Services (EPHS) and the decentralised system of basic health delivery. The EU will continue its support to the sector aiming at improvement and expansion of basic health care delivery services and strengthening the government's capacity. Nutrition will receive due attention under this focal sector.”

Although access to basic health services has been approved and the maternal and infant mortality rate has been reduced, a lot still needs to be done. Almost 41% of the Afghan children are stunted, one quarter of them is underweight. Polio has not been eradicated, malaria, tuberculosis and acute respiratory infections affect large portions of the population.  And due to decades of conflict in the country, app. 2.7% of the population is severely disabled and mental health problems like depression and post-traumatic stress disorders remain untreated.

The future EU’s strategic objectives in support of the health sector are :

$1-          to expand the scope, quality and coverage of health services provided to the population

$1-          to improve the health of the most vulnerable, including people living with disabilities and metal health problems, nomads and displaced persons

$1-          to enhance the stewardship functions of the Ministry of Public Health

Maternal health, child health and vaccination will continue to be the main focus. Issues such as hospital care, pharmaceuticals (including quality control), nutrition and the development of an adequate referral system will be increasingly included.

 

SEHAT

The EU is financing the health sector in Afghanistan, since 2013, through the System Enhancement for Health Action in Transition (SEHAT) Program. This is a 5 years project, “on-budget”, managed by the Ministry of Public Health, but contracting most of the health services to (I)NGO’s.  It is financed through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) and administered by the World Bank. EU and USAID are the major contributors to SEHAT.  EU is in favour of prolonging the SEHAT program.

 

Cross-cutting priorities

In all sectors, EU assistance will mainstream, where possible, the following cross-cutting issues:

- gender sensitivity and human rights (in particular the rights and empowerment of women & girls and children);

- sustainable economic growth and job creation, including green jobs;

- anti-corruption and transparent management of public finances;

- counter-narcotics

 

Conclusion for INGO’s

The EU is supporting health care in Afghanistan since 2001, but it has finally broadened its objectives.  Projects which are not included in the Basic Package of Healthcare Services (BPHS) and Essential Package of Hospital Services (EPHS) can now be supported and funded. Of course, there are priorities:  INGO’s/NGO’s  providing care to disabled persons, to men and women with mental problems, to victims of abuse, to children with specific needs especially due to malnutrition are eligible now to apply for funds.

And, The Afghan Government is planning to develop Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to ensure secondary and tertiary care. EU and other donors are looking at cautiously supporting a future PPP Department inside the Ministry, within a proper legal framework.