Sunday, October 23, 2016

UN Pledging Conference for Development Activities

Statement of Delegation of Afghanistan
on UN Pledging Conference for Development Activities
Delivered on behalf of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Madam President,

At the outset let me congratulate you, for your election as the President of the UN Pledging Conference for Development.

Let me take this opportunity to express my delegations heartfelt gratitude for the dedicated work and sacrifice of the six UN personnel who lost their life in the appalling attack in Kabul on October 28th, and my sincerest condolences to the families and other staff members affected.

Madam President,
We are extremely grateful for the support of the UN agencies present here today. The UNDP, UN Capital Development Fund, United Nations Development Fund for Women, UN Volunteers, the UN Fund for South-South Cooperation all provide essential assistance to further the aspirations of developing countries, least developing countries and post-conflict nations. We further recognize the role of monetary assistance and the no less important roles of technical assistance and capacity building in achieving development objectives.

The UN organizations here today are critical to the fulfillment of the MDGs and establishing equitable and peaceful societies in which people of all races, genders, and religions can achieve their full potential. The partnerships that have been forged between Afghanistan and UNDP, UNIFEM, and UNCDF are vital to our country as we re-build and provide a solid foundation for democracy, sustainable development, and equality.

We appreciate the UNDP’s efforts in Afghanistan for more than 40 years, particularly its pivotal role after 2002 in capacity building of Afghanistan institutions, and its role in poverty eradication and the development of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS).

UN Volunteers, which honorably aims to promote volunteerism in achieving peace and development, often work in very challenging and uncertain environments such as Afghanistan. Two of the UN workers killed in the appalling attack on the UN in Kabul were UN Volunteers, striving to promote reconstruction efforts.

Madam President,
The importance of women’s rights in Afghanistan cannot be understated. The government of Afghanistan recognizes that the successful socio-economic development and reconstruction of Afghanistan requires the complete and equal participation of Afghan women in all socio-economic activities. Yet, efforts towards the empowerment and advancement of women in Afghanistan face enormous challenges, and we offer our greatest appreciation to the work that UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) conducts locally in Afghanistan.

We are increasingly seeing the fruits of regional and south-south cooperation amongst developing countries. The UN Fund for South-South Development has played an important role in this regard, and we applaud their efforts.

In recent months there has been much speculation on the effect the global economic and financial crisis will have on development assistance. The crisis poses challenges for all countries, but post-conflict countries, least developed countries and land-locked least developed countries face particular challenges. Afghanistan as a post-conflict, least developed, and land-locked country has been hit severely by this crisis and will find it difficult to implement its National Development Strategy and achieve its MDGs without intensified international support. It has been shown that discontinued or decreased aid flows often hamper development efforts just as they are starting to show fruitful progress.

Madam President,

Further, the recent attack on UN personnel in Kabul highlight the need for increased financial resources for security and aid workers in Afghanistan. We are encouraged by the support of the Secretary General, the Security Council, and the international community. Let us work together to protect UN personnel as they perform critical peace keeping and development efforts.

It is important that the international community and UN agencies work in a coherent and consolidated way. From our experiences, we have found that collective coordinated efforts by funders are more effective than isolated, patched together attempts. This is why it is so essential that UN agencies are working collaboratively on different facets of development. Each agency is essential to our country’s reconstruction efforts, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Madam President,
We hope these financial pledges can strengthen the partnership between the UN system and the Afghan government. The UN agencies here today play a critical role in establishing the groundwork for a peaceful and equitable world, and we thank them for the tangible results that they have produced in our country. We urge donor nations to consider their vital position as they make their pledges.

Madam President,

Afghanistan is among the largest recipients of UN assistance; therefore, as a token of appreciation for the dedicated work of UN in my country, I would like to make the following symbolic pledge:
UNDP: $ 100
UNICEF: $ 100
UNFPA: $ 100
UNIFEM: $ 100
OCHS: $ 100
UNV: $ 100

Thank you

UN Security Council Press Statement on the elections in Afghanistan

The members of the Security Council acknowledged the conclusion of the electoral process in 2009 following the decision of the Independent Electoral Commission of Afghanistan to declare President Karzai elected President. The members of the Council congratulated the people of Afghanistan on their determined, active engagement and participation in the elections and commended the efforts of those who worked to ensure a credible process. The members expressed their appreciation for the support of the international community including ISAF and, in particular, paid tribute to the role of the Secretary-General, his Special Representative and team. The members also paid homage to all those who lost their lives during the process.

The members of the Council looked forward to working with President Karzai and his new administration. The members of the Council stressed the need for a renewed inclusive political process led by the Afghan government in accordance with the Afghan constitution in order to achieve national unity and a peaceful and prosperous future for all the people of Afghanistan.  .

The members of the Council reiterated their commitment to support Afghanistan on its path towards peace, reconciliation, democracy and reconstruction.  They called for the new Afghan government to effectively address the issues facing the country, including security, good governance and the fight against corruption as well as economic recovery, improving the livelihood of its people, and the cross-cutting issue of counter-narcotics.

The members of the Council reiterated their condemnation of violent and terrorist activities by the Taliban, Al-Qaida and other extremist groups aimed at destabilizing the situation in the country and reasserted that no terrorist act can reverse the path towards peace, democracy and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

The members of the Council took note of the information provided by the Secretary-

General on measures undertaken in the interest of the security of UN personnel and welcomed the continued commitment of the United Nations and UNAMA to support the people and the government of Afghanistan in their quest for peace, security and stability.

Questions related to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian issues

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN
On Agenda Item 41: Questions related to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian issues
Mr. Chairman,

On behalf of the government of Afghanistan, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Antonio Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, for his comprehensive Report and briefing this morning. I would also like to thank the High Commissioner for his commitment and dedication to the plight of world refugees and, in particular, the refugees, returnees, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) of Afghanistan.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan still holds the unfortunate record of being the leading country of origin of refugees worldwide, and eighty percent of these refugees have been in exile from Afghanistan for more than twenty years. Fortunately, this trend is beginning to change. These lost citizens of Afghanistan have at last begun to find their way back to their country. Since the collapse of the Taliban regime in 2001, more than 5 million Afghans have returned to Afghanistan, with over one-quarter of a million returned just in the past year.

I would like to express our gratitude particularly to the peoples and governments of the brotherly countries of the Islamic Republics of Iran and Pakistan for hosting and assisting the over 2.7 million Afghan refugees that have come to settle in their countries. We also extend our gratitude to all other host countries, as well as the UNHCR and other relevant international organizations for their continued support. Without their assistance, our efforts to encourage repatriation would be severely limited. At the same time, Afghan refugees seeking refugee status or asylum in other countries, particularly the developed world, deserve our attention as well. Refugees, whether they achieve official status or not, often face a hopeless and uncertain future, occasionally losing their lives in the pursuit of safety. They deserve our efforts to ensure they do not fall through the cracks, and are treated with dignity and respect, in line with international law and humanitarian norms.

Mr. Chairman,

Facilitating the return of more than three million refugees and other wandering Afghans is a top priority for the Government of Afghanistan. However, despite the success of Afghanistan’s voluntary repatriation program – the largest of UNHCR for the last seven years – as well as the desires of the country, Afghanistan does not presently have the necessary resources to provide for the needs of these returnees. Repatriation alone does not equal success.

Repatriation has also been affected by the twin threats of terrorism and insecurity – as proven by the number of IDPs that continues to rise in provinces with the highest levels of insecurity, particularly along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. In addition, humanitarian organizations still have limited access to the most insecure parts of Afghanistan. Also, widespread poverty and a challenging humanitarian situation have been further exacerbated by a rise in food prices and by continued attacks on international and non-governmental aid organizations providing assistance to Afghans.

Mr. Chairman,

The Afghan government is committed to continue its work to implement our strategy on refugees, returnees, and IDPs as outlined in our National Development Strategy (ANDS). The primary purpose of these policies and programs is to increase our absorption capacity in order to manage and assist sustainable reintegration. To further facilitate reintegration, we are working to improve the capacity of relevant Ministries to deal with repatriation, to reform in particular the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, to foster greater inter-Ministerial cooperation, and to mobilize additional resources with support from our international partners.
Successful reintegration requires that conditions exist to establish an adequate quality of life for returning refugees. In this regard, in November 2008 we hosted an international conference on the return and reintegration of refugees in Kabul where we discussed the need for greater efforts to guarantee basic necessities for returnees. Without sustained financial assistance by the international community, Afghanistan will find it difficult to implement our strategy for refugees.
We continue to work closely with the governments of Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran along with UNHCR to achieve our shared objectives. In July of this year, representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the UNHCR met in Kabul for a 17th trilateral meeting, where all parties reaffirmed their commitment to the voluntary, gradual, safe, and dignified repatriation of all Afghan refugees and agreed to strengthen and expand the ANDS in the context of reintegration. Furthermore, Pakistan has made a commitment to extend its program that provides Afghan refugees in Pakistan with P.O.R. cards until 2012, for which we are grateful.

Finally Mr. Chairman,

The government of Afghanistan would like to emphasize that it fully supports the UNHCR’s noble mandate of promoting humanity and of finding a comprehensive solution to the protracted situation of refugees throughout the world. Yet, in order to make progress in achieving these goals, there are many obstacles we need to overcome. The challenges facing Afghan refugees, returnees, and IDPs are the outcome of three decades of conflict. Accordingly, we recognize that our efforts require resources and the sustained commitment of our international partners. Nevertheless, we are confident that our joint efforts with the international community will effectively bring about the return of Afghan refugees.

Thank you for your time Mr. Chairman.