§ The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos)
My right honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (Mr Gareth Thomas) has made the following Statement.
Ensuring the legitimacy of the Afghan Government within the timescale set down by the Bonn agreement is an important part of the Government's strategy for Afghanistan.
Elections are due to take place later this year and the Government have already provided £1 million from the Department for International Development (DfID) and £2 million from the joint DfID/FCO/MoD Global Conflict Prevention Pool towards the UN's programme of voter registration in Afghanistan. So far just over 1.2 million of an estimated 10.5 million electorate have been registered.
DfID will now be providing an additional £6 million to the UN to support the registration process. Combined with a US pledge of 12 million dollars, this takes the total funding from 48 million dollars to 71 million dollars out of a total budget of around 98 million dollars. This will allow registration to continue while we work with other donors to fill the remainder of the shortfall, and help to ensure the success of Afghanistan's first free and fair elections.