Cooperation for Development

The European Union (EU) is one of the major donors providing official development assistance (ODA) as well as humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. The EU set up a Delegation in Kabul in February 2002, immediately after the establishment of the Interim Transitional Authority headed by President Hamid Karzai. By end 2013, the EU had committed € 3 billion, including € 615 million in humanitarian assistance and disbursed more than € 2.5 billion, i.e. 81% of the funds it committed for this period.

EU aid to Afghanistan 2002 – 2013 in € million


Total Commitments









































How is EU aid delivered?

Assistance from the EU Budget is managed by the European Commission (EC), through the European Union Delegation to Afghanistan in Kabul. The EU's legal and strategic framework for development cooperation with Afghanistan is rooted in the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) and includes a Strategy for Afghanistan 2014-2016 pdf - 196 KB [196 KB] and a Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) . CSPs and MIPs define focal areas as well as the broad objectives of cooperation and are formally agreed with the Government of Afghanistan. These agreements are further implemented through Annual Action Programmes (AAP) and Financing Agreements setting out specific actions. All Financing Agreements are signed with the Ministry of Finance. The first CSP and MIP (2003-2006) promoted stability and poverty reduction by supporting, mainly, rural development, food security, governance, infrastructure and health.

Multiannual Indicative Programme 2014-2020

The current MIP covers the period between 2014 and 2020 and it is the largest bilateral multiannual programme under the EU's Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), with a total budget allocation of € 1.400 million.

The current MIP defined EU interventions in four focal areas - agriculture and rural development, health, policing and rule of law and democratisation and accountability. In addition to receiving bilateral assistance, Afghanistan is the recipient of EU funds under regional programmes for Asia, in particular Aid for Uprooted People, as well as thematic programmes such as Food Security, Non-State Actors, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. Humanitarian assistance is provided by the Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) which has a separate office in Kabul.

Multiannual Indicative Programme 2014 – 2020

Priority Areas/Sectors

million EUR

Agriculture and Rural Development






Policing & Rule of Law



Democratisation & Accountability



TMAF related incentive Total


Support measures Total


Total Commitments

1 400

Every year, the EU adopts an Annual Action Programme (AAP) for Afghanistan, with several sectoral actions, in line with the MIP.

Annual Action Programme (AAP) 2014


€ million

Agriculture and Rural Development


Health and Nutrition Services


Democratisation and Accountability




EU cooperation is aligned with the Afghan Government's priorities

The EU has progressively aligned its development portfolio with the Government priorities as set out in the Afghan National Development Strategy (ANDS). The ANDS is structured around three pillars, namely

(1) Security, (2) Governance - Rule of Law & Human Rights, and (3) Economic and Social Development. National Priority Programmes (NPPs) are used to implement sector development strategies in areas such as governance, basic service delivery, agriculture and rural development and infrastructure.
In London (December 2014), the new Government presented a strategy and reform package for the next five years entitled Realising Self-Reliance: commitments to reforms and renewed partnership and expressed its intention to revise the NPPs accordingly.
In line with the principles of aid effectiveness, the EU aligns its actions with national programmes. This includes a shift from a project to a programme–based approach, support for stronger government-led donor coordination, and efforts to better target development assistance.

The EU contributes to donor coordination and dialogue with the Afghan Government

The EU is a member of the highest-level governance structure for ANDS: the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB), co-chaired by the Government and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The EU contributes to the work of the Standing Committees of the JCMB, as well as to Task forces and various technical coordination groups relevant for areas of EU cooperation.

The EU Delegation in Kabul also plays an important role in intra-EU donor coordination by organising and moderating regular meetings of the EU Development Counsellors.

The EU pursues the aid effectiveness agenda

The European Union plays an active role in supporting the Ministry of Finance on a wide range of aid management issues, which are discussed and monitored by the High Level Committee on Aid Effectiveness. Core initiatives in this area, such as the Joint Evaluation of the Paris Declaration in Afghanistan and the Paris Declaration Monitoring Survey, prove the commitment of the Government and donors to making aid more effective.
The EU is involved in the dialogue on strengthening Public Finance Management, also with a view to paving the way for budget support in specific sectors. Based on the “principles of effective partnership” discussed at the 2010 Kabul Conference, a Public Finance Management (PFM) Roadmap was prepared to improve budget execution, formulation, transparency and accountability. The Government is expected to meet a number of conditions in order to enable donors to deliver on their Kabul Process commitments, namely: channelling at least 50% of development aid through the Afghan Government’s core budget within 2 years and aligning progressively development assistance behind national programmes and priorities with the goal of achieving 80% of alignment.
In 2013 the EU exceeded its alignment commitments due to a long-standing engagement with the Ministry of Public Health and close collaboration with other donors in the health sector. Strong government-led donor coordination in this sector allowed for a progressive move towards a sector wide approach and the subsequent approval of the System Enhancement for Health Action in Transition (SEHAT) programme implemented through the ARTF. As a result of the EU and the World Bank joining efforts with the Ministry of Public Health, SEHAT currently provides capacity building to the Ministry and operates in 22 provinces (out of 34) ensuring basic health service delivery and essential hospital services. The remaining provinces, until now supported directly by USAID, are expected to be integrated in SEHAT during 2015. This will ensure SEHAT's country wide coverage and a harmonised and coherent approach to health service delivery in Afghanistan.

How does the EU contribute to improving the life of ordinary Afghans?

  • Improved health services: 65 % access to primary healthcare (up from 9% in 2002) and basic services provided to over five million Afghans in ten different provinces.
  • Agriculture and water: (a) horticulture: support to 1,000 nursery growers in 58 districts of 21 provinces; (b) improved water management (legal framework, capacity building): protection of 40% of Afghan water resources (Panj-Amu river basin).
  • Public administration: since 2002, contributing to financing salaries and training of 220,000 public sector workers including doctors, nurses, teachers and police officers.
  • Police reform: Afghan police is paid reliably and transparently through an Electronic Payroll System operating in all 115 payroll stations in 34 provinces nationwide. Capacity for civilian policing is progressively strengthened.
  • Social Protection: more than9000 vulnerable children benefited from non-formal education,vocational training, recreational activities, sports, healthand hygiene education.
  • Better disability services: achievedthrough the creation of local expertise on prosthetics and orthotics devices.
  • Central Veterinary Diagnostic & Research Laboratory (CVDRL): established and functioning.
  • Improved data and statistics for policy development and decision making: Agricultural Economics, Market Information and Statistics Services (daily, weekly,monthly collection of agricultural price data) covering allmajor commodities; monthly price bulletins disseminatedthroughout the country.
  • Regional Cooperation: Torkham Border Crossing Point with Pakistan established and operational since November 2007 and major revenue source of the Government; Heiratan (BCP with Uzbekistan) and Sher Khan Bandar (BCP with Tajikistan) now significant transport hubs in the North.