Friday, August 18, 2017

Improving Aid Effectiveness and Building Partnerships with National Stakeholders to Eradicate Poverty and Promote Prosperity

Press release on the occasion of Afghanistan’s Side Event “Improving Aid Effectiveness and Building Partnerships with National Stakeholders to Eradicate Poverty and Promote Prosperity”

 

New York, 17 July 2017 – Today, the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN organized a side event on aid effectiveness and building partnerships with national stakeholders to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity on the margins of the 2017 High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development.

The event was organized in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). A long-time actor in the country, UNDP and the Government of Afghanistan are seeking ways to improve the delivery of services to the Afghan people and improve coherence and effectiveness of the UN country team’s work.

The interactive panel at the side event included H.E. Abdul Sattar Murad, Minister of Economy of Afghanistan, Mr. Achim Steiner, Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Administrator of UNDP, H.E. Roberto Sarmento De Oliveira Soares, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, and Ms. Paloma Duran, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Fund.

The four panelists provided insights on the topic, given their long-standing experience in the field from different perspectives, and engaged in an interactive Q&A session afterwards.

Minister Murad made opening remarks focusing on the work the Ministry of Economy to start the nationalization process of the SDGs. As the leading Ministry in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the Ministry of Economy started a process of multi-stakeholders consultations, including civil society and the private sector, to make the Sustainable Development Goals truly a project for the people and by the people. The series of national consultations provided the foundation for identifying most critical areas of work to focus on, and assign the relevant line Ministries with the implementation and monitoring of SDGs targets and indicators.

Following that, UNDP Administrator Mr. Achim Steiner spoke about the importance of partnerships with national and international stakeholders and the critical role UNDP can play in this context. He praised the Government of Afghanistan for organizing this side event, which exemplifies the commitment made by the Government to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the political will for Afghan people not to be left behind. The UNDP Administrator highlighted that “continued development cooperation efforts from traditional donors and the evolving role of both domestic and private financing must be coupled with an increased role of non-government counterparts to create a sustainable and inclusive approach to financing the SDGs.” He also mentioned that the Agency will continue to support the NGOs registered in the country as they help to transform society and ensure accountability.

H.E. Roberto Sarmento De Oliveira Soares provided valuable insights on Timor-Leste’s experience with improving aid effectiveness for better delivery of services to the people. In this context, Mr. Soares stressed the crucial role of the g7+, a group of countries that are or have been affected by conflict and are now in transition to the next stage of development, of which Afghanistan is a member. The Vice Minister explained how, from the establishment of the Group

and the adoption of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States (http://www.g7plus.org/sites/default/files/basic-page-downloads/A%20New%20Deal%20for%20engagement%20in%20Fragile%20States.pdf), the Government of Timor-Leste has been putting additional emphasis on transparency and accountability to their people and the donors, identifying aid effectiveness as a pivotal element of sustainable development.

After Mr. Soares’ remarks, Ms. Paloma Duran, SDGs Fund’s Director, provided insights on the role of the Sustainable Development Goals Fund in fostering public-private partnerships through integrated and multidimensional joint programs, illustrating examples of the Fund’s work in different countries’ contexts. Ms. Duran stressed the importance for UN Agencies to work together when implementing projects at the country level, building synergies through collaboration, and supporting a better delivery of services to the population.

A Q&A session followed, moderated by H.E. Mahmoud Saikal, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan. Ms. Farid, Member of Parliament of Afghanistan and Ms. Naderi, Senior Adviser on UN Affairs to H.E. President Ghani, commented on the panelists’ presentations, highlighting the importance of the SDGs as catalyst of collective action towards sustainable development. They also emphasized that the 2030 Agenda provides a unique chance for UN Agencies operating in the country to strengthen the coherence of their work and redouble their efforts in working with and for the people of Afghanistan to achieve a future of prosperity.

The Q&A session featured comments and questions from other delegations (Iran) and several members of civil society organizations (Cordaid, Netherlands).

 

UN condemns terrorist attack in Kabul, underscores need to protect civilians

31 May 2017 – Condemning the terrorist attack in the Afghan capital, Kabul, United Nations officials, including the Secretary-General and his Special Representative for the country as well as members of the Security Council underscored that all parties to the conflict are obliged, under international law, to ensure that civilians are protected from any harm.

“Indiscriminate attacks against civilians are grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and can never be justified,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement attributable to his Spokesman.

“Those responsible for today’s attack must be brought to justice,” he added, underlining the need to reinforce the fight against terrorism and violent extremism

The UN chief also expressed his sympathies to the families of the victims, wished a speedy recovery to those injured, and reaffirmed the solidarity of the UN with the people and the Government of Afghanistan.

Also today, the UN Security Council, in a press statement stressed that those responsible for the bombing should be held accountable, and called on all UN Member States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of Afghanistan and all other relevant authorities in this regard.

Reaffirming that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constituted one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, members of the Security Council “reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.”

Hundreds of people – mostly civilians – were killed and injured when a suicide attacker detonated a vehicle-borne explosive device in downtown Kabul’s Wazir Akhbar Khan area, which also houses a number of diplomatic missions, this morning (local time).

While the Security Council says the attack resulted in more than 80 deaths and at least 350 injuries, news reports suggest the casualty numbers are expected to rise.

In addition to the loss of lives and injuries, the explosion also resulted in considerable damage to the immediate and surrounding, with some embassies being seriously affected.

“Beyond the immeasurable human suffering caused by today’s attack, the deliberate detonation of a massive truck bomb in a civilian area, particularly during the peaceful month of Ramadan, is morally reprehensible and an outrage,” Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, said in a news release, underscoring that the attack is a serious violation of humanitarian law.

“There can be no exceptions: the use of explosive weapons in civilian-populated areas must stop,” Mr. Yamamoto, who is also the head of the UN Assistance Mission, known as UNAMA, added.

Statement by Nazifullah Salarzai Minister, Deputy Permanent Representative of Afghanistan at the UNSC

Statement at the UNSC Open Debate on

“Threats Caused by Terrorist Acts – Protection of Critical Infrastructure”

February 13, 2017

Mr. President,

Afghanistan thanks Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin of Ukraine and his delegation for convening today’s debate on the “protection of critical infrastructure attacks by terrorist groups.” We are pleased at the high number countries inscribed in today’s discussion, which reflects the importance of the topic under consideration.

Infrastructure provides a key component for the normal and effective functioning of society, enabling citizens access to fundamental services, such as food, water, shelter, adequate health care, transportation facilities and economic opportunity – each of which are critically important for stability in any environment. Any attack on and damage to a nation’s infrastructure, in essence, manifests in irreparable harm on the very social fabric of society. The protection of physical and social infrastructure should, therefore, comprise a key component of any strategy for ensuring peaceful and stable societies. 

salarzai_UNSCTerrorism and violent extremism constitute a dominant factor of instability in the current international landscape, bringing untold suffering and devastation on peoples and communities.  As evident in the case of my country, Afghanistan, and many other countries where terrorist operate, extremist forces have gone to all lengths to advance their viscous agenda:  creating havoc, undermining the rule of law and terrorizing populations.  In that effort, and with blatant intent, they also target various infrastructures to amplify the effects of their barbarity, and to attract global media attention.

Afghanistan has been a prime victim of global terrorism for over two decades, and even long before the start of the international community’s engagement in our country in 2001. Today, our people remain defiant against a multitude of terrorist groups, such as the Taliban, Haqqani network, Al-Qaeda, Daesh, Lashkar-e-Taiba,Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and other foreign terrorist fighters, all of whom share symbiotic linkages, have come from abroad, and are sustained with various forms of support, including political, ideological, moral and material aid. Aside from targeting our security forces, and that of international partners countries present in Afghanistan, extremists are attacking our political and legal institutions; mosques and schools; health and medical facilities, and other soft targets, such as non-governmental organizations, which are working to improve life for ordinary Afghans.

Just last week, in the continuation of their carnage, a suicide bomber conducted an attack on our Supreme Court, the highest judicial institution in our country, killing 21 people and wounding close to 50 people. The victims included several female judges, prosecutors and Court employees who were simply returning home to their families after a hard day’s work.

On the 11th of January last month, the Taliban carried out on our Parliament, resulting in more than 120 people dead, with many more left severely maimed and injured. This act of barbarity was widely viewed as an attack on the infrastructure of our democracy, which is among Afghanistan’s most significant achievements since 2001. In August of last year, extremists attacked the American University in Kabul, which is seen as a beacon of hope for a better future, among our educated and talented youth – 16 people were tragically killed in that attack.

Moreover, there are many cases of local hospitals, clinics and international humanitarian relief agencies coming under attack or otherwise being negatively affected by the activities of extremist groups. A few days ago, Daesh militants in northern Jowzjan province killed 6 personnel of the International Committee of the Red Cross in northern Afghanistan. The ICRC convoy was attacked while traveling to distribute aid to a storm stricken area. The overall security environment has only complicated humanitarian conditions for our people, to the point where 9.3 million people, mainly women and children, are in dire need of immediate humanitarian assistance. This figure marks a notable increase from last year. We reiterate our call on the international community to support OCHA’s 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan.

Terrorists also pose threat to economic and development infrastructure projects in which we have invested heavily. We are currently working to implement 18 cooperation and investment projects in the areas of energy, transport, trade as well as in the commercial and labor sectors. Once completed, these projects will benefit the prosperity of Afghanistan and our wider region.

Mr. President,

The ongoing cycle of violence in Afghanistan is not, by any means, a homegrown phenomenon. Its roots lie elsewhere, outside Afghanistan, emanating from a strategic design crafted from within our region to advance an ill-fated political agenda, which serves no one, defies international law and constitutes a blatant violation of the very spirit and tenets of the UN Charter, including relevant counterterrorism resolutions of the General Assembly and Security Council. We believe the fight against international terrorism stands at a crossroads. At this critical juncture, a refined global effort is needed to combat this menace with greater precision and accuracy.  In this context, we welcome the efforts of the new Secretary General to strengthen the UN counter-terrorism architecture, including his decision to create the Office of Counter Terrorism (OCT), and appoint of an Under-Secretary General to head that office.

Mr. President,  

Despite Afghanistan’s difficult security environment, we are a nation that is making steady progress towards lasting stability and Self-Reliance. The National Unity Government is working, in greater cohesion and coordination, on tackling a difficult set of challenges facing our people. In that effort, our security forces are serving valiantly to enhance security, while defending and protecting our sovereignty, infrastructure and people against terrorism and violent extremism.

In conclusion, we believe today’s meeting marks an important step forward in devising a more effective UN approach for the protection of critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks. As the principal organ of the UN responsible for the maintenance of peace and security, we hope the Security Council will continue to render due focus and attention on this important matter.

I thank you!

 

 

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan