Sunday, July 22, 2018

Statement by Mr. Nazifullah Salarzai Deputy Permanent Representative and Charge d’ Affairs of Afghanistan at the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment

Mr. Chairman

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My delegation aligns itself with the statements delivered by Egypt on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and Bangladesh on behalf of the Group of the Least Developed Countries.

Mr. Chairman,

This year’s Humanitarian Affairs Segment comes at a critical time, one in which humanitarian crises worldwide are raising serious concerns about protection of civilians, particularly women and children in conflict, and promotion and protection of human rights.  In addition, these situations are negatively impacting countries’ efforts towards achieving sustainable development goals. This is why this year’s theme “Restoring Humanity, Respecting Human Dignity and Leaving No-one Behind: Working together to reduce people’s humanitarian need, risk and vulnerability” should be our point of departure for reflection on emerging and pressing humanitarian issues, resulting in actionable deliberations for strengthened coordination of the humanitarian assistance of the United Nations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Afghanistan continues to face significant humanitarian challenges. In fact, the emergency landscape is one of the most complex and challenging in the world. The challenges caused by terrorism and violent extremism and a long imposed conflict have led to a high number of casualties and disabilities among civilians, including women and children. Deliberate attacks on civilian spaces, like schools, hospitals, mosques, and voter registration centers, have further added to the worsening humanitarian crisis in the country. Additionally, another consequence of this challenging security scenario has been the protracted situation of refugees and internally displaced persons, who constitute one of the most vulnerable groups needing assistance. We have had over 200,000 voluntary repatriations, deportees, and refugees in the last quarter; these people are in severe need of food, water, sanitation, livelihood, and healthcare to survive, which has further complicated the humanitarian situation.

Mr. Chairman,

In mid-April, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock officially declared a drought. As we speak, extreme dry weather and drought have affected two-thirds of the country and threaten the lives and livelihoods of at least two million people, who are in dire need of humanitarian assistance for survival. Additionally, we expect two million more who could feel the effects of drought over the coming months. Drought-related migration has begun in some provinces, and if this condition exacerbates, more than a million people might have to leave their homes.

In the backdrop of this ongoing crisis, humanitarian activities in Afghanistan had received $129.3 million in funding, of which $98.2 million was for activities included in the Humanitarian Response Plan. We wish to thank the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the UN Agencies for their work on the ground. Further, we call on the international community to fully fund Afghanistan’s Humanitarian Response Plan 2018-2021 which, after the current revisions due to the drought affecting the country, will reach to 4.2 million people with emergency humanitarian and protection assistance in 2018.

Ladies and Gentlemen,        

For the first time, the Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan spans across a period of 4 years. This decision stems from the recognition that both acute humanitarian and chronic needs coexist in the country. While humanitarian programing is urgently required, chronic needs of the population are being addressed through the implementation of the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework, plan to achieve self-reliance and thereby increase the welfare of our people. The Humanitarian Response Plan will serve to provide timely and life-saving assistance to families in emergency shelters or in need of urgent support across the country. This plan will help the most vulnerable Afghans in dire situations, and provide life-saving assistance much needed for their survival.

Mr. Chairman,

Today, more than ever, it is clear that we will not be able to honor the ambitious commitments of the 2030 Agenda if we do not adopt a comprehensive approach to sustainable development – one that understands and integrates the complex challenges brought by humanitarian emergencies. In this regard, it is crucial to ensure that the environmental dimension of sustainable development and related issues such as mitigation and adaptation to climate change and effective water management to prevent crises brought by droughts – is appropriately addressed, including through a humanitarian perspective.

Mr. Chairman,

To conclude, Afghanistan remains committed to work together with the international community in shaping a new, more effective and comprehensive approach to humanitarian intervention, enabling us to prevent and respond to existing and emerging emergencies to achieve sustainable development and prosperity for all.

I thank you

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan