The Nordic focus on the war on drugs is becoming increasingly more
important. Finland and the other Nordic countries are working to
provide alternative livelihoods for the Afghan people.
The drug issue is further reinforced by other Finnish projects. The Finnish government cooperates through its embassy in Kabul with the UNODCs Programme for Strengthening Provincial Capacity for Drug Control. This project has been ongoing since 2006 and includes provinces Nangarhar, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar and Badakshan. The project is a non-agricultural alternative development programme that seeks to enhance these provinces’ ability to sustain themselves on other businesses than drugs. This project is co-funded by the Swedish and Finnish government, and the project works through the Provincial Directorates of the Ministry of Counter Narcotics. The Finnish 2006-2010 Assistance Programme ensures a continued commitment to this project, and the Embassy of Finland in Afghanistan informs that € 1 million is pledged for the year 2008. Another means of gaining on the Finnish resolve to combat narcotics in Afghanistan is the other UNODC project, Monitoring of Opium Production in Afghanistan. This ongoing project is co-financed by Finland, the UK and the USA. The project has lasted from as early as 1994 and conducts an annual survey of the poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, the prices on opium and similar questions. This survey is a good tool for both the other UNODC projects and other NGOs looking to reduce narcotics production in Afghanistan.
Also, mine clearance, law and order, health projects and efforts to support humanitarian rights have received contributions from the Finnish government. Mine clearance is channelled through the HALO Trust and received € 1 million in 2008. The UNMAS / Mine and UXO Clearance Programme in Afghanistan also received € 1.1 million in 2008. The LOFTA, Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, a major recipient of Nordic funds and administered by the UNDP, was promised € 1 million in 2008 and 2009 by the Finnish government. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and the PRTs in RC-North with Finnish contributions will also receive funds in the coming years in order to further endorse the work for human rights and also help reconstruction work in the Northern provinces.