Mark Lowcock: A year on from the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Speech by the Department for International Development's Permanent Secretary at the senior official's meeting in Afghanistan.

The next 12 months will be critical for the future of this country. Working together, the Afghan Government and its international partners have a unique chance to set the conditions for political, security and economic transition. But we must be honest in our assessment of progress and focus on areas where continued reform is needed. Failure to deliver these reforms could jeopardise the long term stability of the country.

There has been a lot of important progress.

On elections, it is of utmost importance that credible, inclusive and transparent elections take place on 5 April next year. We need to see the two election laws pass through parliament before recess on 22 July. If this does not happen it would raise serious questions about the quality and rigour of the elections preparations. On corruption, we want to see more done to pursue the perpetrators of the Kabul Bank fraud to maximise asset recovery – to send a signal that fraud on a grand scale will not be tolerated.

On managing the economy, we’d like to continue to make progress on revenue collection and stay on track with the IMF programme.

On women’s rights, we want to see reporting on the implementation of the EVAW law – and this translating into a better deal for Afghan women.

In the UK, we remain deeply committed to Afghanistan for the long term. We will not let the people of Afghanistan down. The UK looks forward co-chairing with Afghan Government the 2014 Ministerial meeting; we expect this will take place three to six months after the formation of the next government. As agreed at Tokyo, the Ministerial meeting will ‘review progress, update indicators, assess resource requirements and renew (both Government and international) commitments’.

So between now and the Ministerial meeting, we look forward working with our internal partners, the Government and Afghan community to review and encourage progress against the Tokyo Framework.