Wednesday, October 18, 2017

General Debate of the First Committee

STATEMENT BY H.E. Mahmoud Saikal Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the General Debate of the First Committee 72nd Session

(Please check against delivery)

10 October 2017

NEW YORK

 

Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to congratulate you as the Chairman and the bureau of the 72nd session of the 1st Committee. My delegation is fully committed to the successful fulfillment of the work of the Committee, and assures you of our full support and cooperation.

Afghanistan aligns itself with the statement delivered by the delegation of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation reiterates its commitment to multilateral diplomacy as a crucial principle for advancing the global disarmament and non-proliferation agenda. Nuclear weapons proliferation is a pressing issue the world faces, and we must unite multilaterally to act against the threat of nuclearization to global peace and security. In this regard, Afghanistan maintains its position regarding the P5+1 and Iran’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and believes that the commitment of all parties to the agreement and its implementation is crucial.

Afghanistan reaffirms its commitment for de-nuclearization, advancing disarmament and nonproliferation, and ultimately moving towards a nuclear-free world. My delegation strongly condemns the recent nuclear tests conducted by North Korea, and urges all states to sign, ratify and support multilateral treaties relating to non-proliferation and disarmament. Afghanistan fully supports the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Afghanistan is strongly in favor of the establishment of the Middle East as a zone free of Nuclear Weapons and all Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan expresses concern for the current state of affairs, whereby the possibility of nuclear attack by aggressor states as well as by non-state actors appears very real. We also remain troubled about the use of biological, chemical, and radiological weapons. In this regard, we welcome the recent elimination of chemical weapons arsenal by the Russian Federation. Afghanistan remains concerned on the humanitarian consequences of the use of weapons of mass destructions. Therefore, we supported the Pledge of Austria on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons.

Further, Afghanistan’s commitment to strengthening nuclear disarmament was demonstrated more recently by adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, in an agreement made at the United Nations in July 2017.

Mr. Chairman,

The 2030 Agenda, particularly Goal 16 acknowledges the link between arms regulation and development, as well as between illicit trafficking in arms and organized crime. The abundance of illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons across the Durand Line, gives terrorists, violent extremists, and other organized criminal groups in our region easy access to weapons. This mass illicit trafficking of arms, mainly small and light weapons, has caused Afghans tremendous suffering for decades, and must be put to an end. Hence the nexus of illicit weapons, drug trafficking, and money laundering funds the purchase of weapons by non-state actors. Therefore, we call on all relevant parties to further strengthen their rules and regulations to prevent, combat, and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects.

I would like to inform that Afghanistan has ratified and acceded to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its protocol I, Protocol III, amended protocol II Protocol IV, and Protocol V on August 9, 2017.

Mr. Chairman,

The presence of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Explosive Remnant of War (ERWs), and land mines pose a severe threat to humankind.  According to some surveys, in 2016 there were approximately 20,000 deaths and injuries from IEDs around the world, of which a vast majority were civilian casualties. Furthermore, in the last six years, the harm caused to civilians by IEDs has outweighed every other kind of weapon; in the first half of 2017, there were over 1,500 Afghan civilian casualties caused by IEDs. Afghanistan remains one of the worst affected countries due to IEDs. It is for these reasons that the resolution to counter the threat posed by IEDs is so critical to Afghanistan and many other countries of the world.

Let me thank all member states who supported the resolution titled “Countering the threat posed by improvised explosive devices” adopted by consensus in 2015 and 2016 by the first committee and the UN General Assembly respectively. In pursuant to resolution A/RES/71/72, my delegation held the first informal consultations in coordination with the UNODA on 29 March 2017 in New York where panelists from UNODA, UNMAS, World Customs Organization, Interpol, Mines Advisory Group and UN Institute for Disarmament Research-UNIDIR were present.

My delegation is tabling the follow up resolution to 71/72 and we will have informal consultations with member states today at the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan. We seek your full support for the resolution.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.

Advancement of Women

STATEMENT BY H.E. Mahmoud Saikal 

Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Statement at the 3rd Committee on Agenda Item 28: Advancement of Women

(Check against delivery)

 

6 October 2017

NEW YORK

 

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Afghanistan is witnessing an unprecedented involvement of women in all aspects of life. Today, the voice of Afghan women is much stronger than before as they continue to play an important  role, both in socioeconomic development and political realm. I am happy to inform this gathering that at present there are 69 elected women in parliament, four female ministers, 9 female deputy-ministers, and 5 female ambassadors. Moreover, at institutional level, many bodies have been established to reflect Afghanistan’s ratification of significant international human rights conventions. Such institutions include the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the Commission on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Attorney General Office for Violence Against Women, and the independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan.

Additionally, in striving to eradicate discrimination and violence against women, an Anti-Harassment Law was passed recently, criminalizing harassment of women in both the workplace and in public. Additionally, the Family Law is being reformed which will increase the age of marriage to 18 years.

Furthermore, the continued commitment to involving women in peace building and leadership positions is exemplified by the Afghan Government’s adoption of the National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325. The Action Plan covers a comprehensive range of societal issues, including access to support for violence survivors, engaging boys and men in fighting violence against women, ending impunity for crimes against women, increasing female education and employment, and support for civil society, to name a few issues. 

We are happy to report to this committee that women’s access to education has significantly improved since 2001. Of the 9.5 million students enrolled in primary and secondary schools, 40% are girls; this was almost zero before 2001.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Afghanistan’s National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF), recognizes women’s empowerment as one of the main pillars in advancing the country towards sustainable development, economic growth, and prosperity.

Under the ANPDF, economic empowerment of women is a National Priority Program. The program will provide start-up technical and financial support, job skills and financial literacy to women-owned businesses. These will be delivered through the existing mechanisms and institutions, focusing on scaling-up successful interventions.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite the tremendous gains that have been made, Afghan women still disproportionately feel the burden of chronic conflict and resulting trauma, poverty, and poor infrastructure. The worsening security situation in some parts of the country, due to threats from terrorists and violent extremists, shows the difficulties Afghan women face today. We recognize that in Afghanistan, there is a long way to go; however we remain extremely motivated in the promotion and protection of women’s rights, recognizing women’s advancement as inextricably linked to the nation’s social advancement and sustainable economic development. This commitment to the advancement of women, and human rights more broadly, has motivated Afghanistan’s candidacy for the Human Rights Council 2018-2020. Our membership in the Council will allow Afghanistan as a country in the forefront of the international fight against terrorism and extremism to share its human rights gains and experiences with international community, particularly the Human Rights Council and its subsidiary bodies and mechanisms.

I thank you.

General Debate of the Second Committee of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly

STATEMENT BY  H.E. Mahmoud Saikal  

Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan  to the United Nations

at the General Debate of the Second Committee of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly

(Check against delivery)

3 October 2017

NEW YORK

Madam Chair,

At the outset, let me congratulate Ambassador Sven Jürgenson of Estonia for his Chairmanship of the Second Committee. I also congratulate all members elected to serve in the Bureau. Using this opportunity, I wish to assure you of Afghanistan’s full support and cooperation as you lead the work of the 2nd Committee. 

I also wish to commend you predecessor, His Excellency Mr. Dian Triansyah Djani of the Republic of Indonesia, and his bureau for their tireless efforts and successful leadership of the Second Committee during the last session.

My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered by Ecuador on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, Bangladesh on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, and Zambia on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries. I would now like to deliver some remarks in my national capacity.

Madam Chair,

Two years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, it is crucial we decisively tackle the outstanding challenges we have in front of us. As mentioned in the Report of the Secretary-General on the Progress Towards the SDGs, the pace of implementation must be accelerated, given the urgency of these challenges, particularly for developing countries.

Despite the significant challenges Afghanistan is facing as the forefront of the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, we are fully committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Working in close collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, my Government has designed the streamlining of the SDGs into the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF 2017-2021). Holding true to the spirit of an Agenda “of the people,  by the people and for the people”, Afghanistan is taking the necessary steps to make sure each community is involved first hand in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, strengthening our sense of national ownership in the development process. These steps, along with our future roadmap of implementation, have been presented during last July’s High-level Political Forum, where my delegation undertook its Voluntary National Review, sharing achievements, challenges, and lessons learned with the international community.

Madam Chair,

Countries in conflict and post-conflict situations have always faced unique challenges in achieving sustainable development; we have witnessed that conflict not only impedes but reverses decades of development gains. The theme of this year’s General Debate: “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet” aptly captures the relation of deep interdependence between sustainable development and a peaceful world. The deliberations and actions of this committee will play an important role in strengthening the nexus between peace and development in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

We believe it is essential to stay true to our commitment to “leave no one behind” and keep our focus on the “poorest, most vulnerable, and those furthest behind”. In this regard, we would like to express our concern that LDCs, forming one quarter of the UN membership, remain far below many of the targets of the SDGs, as reflected in the Report of the Secretary-General on the Progress Towards the SDGs. The success of the 2030 Agenda will depend for the most part on the progress made by LDCs in the next 13 years. In this regard, we call on the international community to follow through to its commitments, strengthening our collective efforts.

We would also like to stress that addressing the high trade costs faced by the LLDCs is important to facilitate their integration into the global economy, and that in LLDCs infrastructure deficit, including in transport, ICTs and energy infrastructure remains high, hampering landlocked countries’ prospects for development.

Madam Chair,

We reiterate that Official Development Assistance (ODA) continues to be a critical source of financing for the development of the Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries, and we express our concern for the decline in nominal terms of ODA to LDCs and LLDCs. In this regard, we call upon all development partners to fulfill the ODA-related internationally agreed targets, and we express encouragement to those providers allocating at least 50 per cent of their ODA to Least Developed Countries.

We welcome the establishment and operationalization of the Technology Bank for the LDCs, and we sincerely thank the Government of Turkey for its leadership and generosity. We call on development partners to mobilize resources for its sustenance and effective functioning, in line with SDG 17.8, as science, technology and innovation can be game-changing tools for furthering development in the LDCs.

Madam Chair,

We welcome the process of follow-up to the implementation of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review led by the Deputy Secretary General, and we appreciate its inclusive and transparent nature. In reaffirming our commitment to engage constructively in the reform of the UN development system, we would like to reiterate our conviction that it is crucial to shape a UN development system in which the nexus between peace and development is strengthened, building on, among others, the sustaining peace resolutions.

Madam Chair,

In conclusion, I would like to reassure you of my delegation’s constructive engagement throughout the discussion of this session of the Committee.

Thank you Madam Chair.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan