September 14, 2005 16:58 ET

CIDA/Canada Boosts Support for Afghanistan Election

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 14, 2005) - International Cooperation Minister Aileen Carroll announced today that Canada will contribute through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) an additional $5 million to support Afghanistan's upcoming parliamentary elections. This increase brings the total amount of CIDA funding for the election to $13 million, channelled through the United Nations Development Programme.

On September 18, Afghan voters will elect the Wolesi Jirga (Lower Chamber of Parliament) and representatives of 34 Provincial Councils. Canada's contribution includes support for recruitment and training of 135,000 Afghan staff for voting day.

"Canada's commitment to promoting good governance is long-standing and entrenched in the International Policy Statement," said Minister Carroll. "We are stepping up to facilitate the Government of Afghanistan's transition to a fully independent and democratically elect government that expresses the will of the people."

Canada is also providing $100,000 to the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) to fund an election support mission, headed by Canadian Craig Jenness. It also includes an expert sent by Canada Corps. The OSCE will send the Election Support Team to five urban centres.

Canada is supporting the elections in Afghanistan through a whole of government approach involving various departments including Foreign Affairs and National Defence.

"The upcoming Afghan elections represent a historic and impressive undertaking, however it is important to realize that the process of democratic development will not end on election day," said Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew. "By building governance institutions and lasting capacity we will ensure that our investment will endure long beyond our engagement. Canada is committed to helping Afghanistan affect sustainable change."

Violence directed at candidates and others associated with the elections is a paramount concern in staging elections amidst an acute security situation. Canada is playing a key role in supporting Afghan efforts to ensure safety and security during the election period.

"Meaningful and lasting progress has been made over the last three years but the situation in Afghanistan remains tenuous and volatile," said Bill Graham, Minister of National Defence. "Canada's significant military contribution in Afghanistan builds on the success of our peace support operations to strengthen the security situation in the country."

Canada has pledged over $616 million in development assistance for Afghanistan between 2001 and 2009, currently making the country the single largest recipient of Canadian aid. Delivered through CIDA, Canada's reconstruction and development assistance is targeted towards priority areas identified by the Afghan government in its National Development Framework.

Since 2001 Canada has contributed over $33 million to assist the democratic process in Afghanistan. The country has made significant progress -- the adoption of a constitution and a successful Presidential election both mark watersheds in the country's transition. Canada will continue to support the long-term process of democratic development beyond the September elections.

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the February 2005 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Andrew Graham
    Director of communications
    (819) 953-6238
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    (819) 953-6534 (electronic version of document)
    Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Sebastien Theberge
    Director of Communications
    (613) 995-1851
    Foreign Affairs Canada
    Media Relations Office
    (613) 995-1874
    Office of the Minister of National Defence
    Renee Filiatrault
    Director of Communications
    (613) 996-3100
    Department of National Defence
    Media Liaison Office
    (613) 996-2353 or 996-2354