8 July 2010The United Nations today welcomed the priority programmes laid out by the Afghan Government in such areas as governance, development, and peace and security ahead of a major international conference to be held in the country later this month. The Government presented 23 national priority programmes at the 14th Joint Coordination & Monitoring Board (JCMB) meeting held in the capital, Kabul, which brought together senior Afghan ministers and representatives of the international community. “These programmes are evidence of the transition to Afghan responsibility and leadership,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura.The JCMB, which is co-chaired by the Afghan Government and the UN, oversees implementation of the Afghanistan Compact – a five-year development blueprint launched in January 2006 by the country and its international partners.The Government and the UN will also be co-chairing the Kabul Conference – the first major international gathering inside Afghanistan – on 20 July.“Afghan priorities for the Afghan people” will be the focus of the Kabul Conference, Afghanistan’s Minister of Finance, Omar Zakhilwal, told participants at today’s meeting, which discussed issues related to economic development; governance; security, peace and reconciliation; and regional cooperation. The 20 July gathering, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and foreign ministers and top officials from over 70 countries will be attending, follows the London Conference held in January, during which the Government and its international partners jointly endorsed a strategy of transition to greater Afghan responsibility for the affairs of the country.Mr. de Mistura, in his briefing to the Security Council last week, said the main objective of the Kabul conference is to foster confidence in a “public contract between the Afghan Government and the Afghan people” and promote the delivery of social and economic improvements. The international community, he added, will not be expected to bring new funds to the meeting – which is not a pledging conference – but to re-align the resources which they have already allocated for Afghanistan with the country’s own priorities. “It will give an opportunity for the international community to support Afghan-led priorities including fighting corruption, building up self-reliant Afghan national security forces, and undertaking reconciliation and reintegration activities to reach out to opposition and to encourage combatants to lay down their arms,” a joint news release issued by the UN and the Government stated.