U.S. and Afghanistan Announce $25.7 Million in Good Performers Initiative Awards for Provincial Counternarcotics Achievements
On November 9, 2010, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and Afghanistan’s Minister for Counter Narcotics Zarar Moqbel Osmani announced $25.7 million in Good Performers Initiative (GPI) awards to provinces that achieved or retain poppy-free status or reduced net poppy cultivation by more than 10 percent over the previous year. Twenty-seven of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces received GPI awards in 2010, including 20 provinces that earned $1 million awards for being poppy-free. Ambassador Eikenberry congratulated the citizens of the 27 recipient provinces saying that, “Through this contribution to the Good Performers Initiative, the Government of the United States reaffirms its support for your efforts to rid Afghanistan of the opium trade that obstructs the efforts of President Karzai and his Administration to establish a safe and prosperous environment for the Afghan people.”
The Good Performers Initiative was launched by President Karzai in 2007 with the purpose of delivering timely, high-impact development assistance to provinces leading the fight against poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. GPI projects help build infrastructure, employ local citizens, and give tangible recognition to governors who demonstrate strong leadership in reducing and eliminating poppy cultivation in their provinces.
The Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) funds GPI and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Counter Narcotics works with each province to design and implement development projects using GPI funds. In 2009, the Afghan Government awarded over $38 million for GPI projects in 2009, with awards reaching 27 provinces. GPI awards are calculated based on final poppy cultivation figures from the annual Afghanistan Opium Survey published by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).