Thursday, December 8, 2016

Stement by H.E. Mahmoud Saikal Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the Third Committee under agenda item 106 and 107

 

6 October 2016

NEW YORK

Madam Chair,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As this is the first time my delegation is taking the floor, allow me to congratulate you as the Chair of the Third Committee. Let me assure you of my delegation’s full support  and cooperation throughout the work of this committee.

I also wish to express my gratitude to the UN Secretary General  and the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for their comprehensive  reports which provided us with important updates on the latest developments on the international efforts in combating illicit narcotics. Let me also thank UNODC and its dedicated team for their support for our joint efforts, in Afghanistan  and elsewhere.

Madam Chair,

While the international community has to deal with a number of formidable challenges such as transnational organized crimes, including illicit drugs and drug trafficking, the threat of violent extremism and terrorism is by far the greatest and most menacing of all.

Today, terrorist  groups in various parts of the world continue to affect our peace, security, social order, and economic development and have put the future of a prosperous and peaceful world in jeopardy. According to our experience in Afghanistan over the last two decades, the threat posed by this evil phenomena, mixed with criminality, is real and growing fast.  No country and no region, regardless of their religion and race is immune to its destabilizing effects. Moreover, the transnational nature of this problem and its interlinkages with drugs mean that no state can effectively deal with this global scourge alone. We know the challenge ahead of us is daunting, but we also know that the ultimate responsibility for creating a peaceful environment for our families and future generations rests upon our shoulders. Therefore, we believe that today, more than ever before, it is crucial for the members of the international community to put aside their differences, strive to work together, and use all available tools to tackle this problem.

In this regard, we believe the United Nations can play an important role by developing a better and more workable international approach to violent extremism  and terrorism through further strengthening the global regime with a focus on those who use terrorism and militant extremism as a political weapon to further their hegemonic ambitions.

Madam Chair,

Illicit drugs is another growing concern of our time that continues to undermine our stability, economic development and facilitates other forms of transnational organized crimes.

Afghanistan is also a victim of illicit narcotics and its impact on Afghan society mirrors the current challenges of the country. Moreover, the nexus between illicit drug trade and terrorist groups has contributed to the problem of security in Afghanistan as drug related proceeds is one of the sources, among others, to fuel violence in the country. According to UNODC reports, the bulk of opium poppy cultivation and opiate production occur in the provinces where security situation is worst and economy and infrastructure are least developed.

Cognizant of the gravity of the challenge, the Government of Afghanistan has taken a number of steps to address this problem. We are pleased to state that our efforts have yielded important results. We succeeded in reducing opiate production by 11% and poppy cultivation by 19% since 2015. Moreover, through a comprehensive set of measures we have increased the eradication of opium poppies by 40% and are committed to increasing that figure by next year.

Since 2015, we have been implementing a National Drug Action Plan that aligns law enforcement, education, and public health. Recognizing that successful reforms require long-term commitments, over the next five years, we will continue to provide alternative livelihoods for farmers while strictly enforcing laws against money-laundering and drug trafficking. This Action Plan has set three main interrelated counter narcotics goals to be achieved by 2019:

–         Decrease the cultivation of opium poppy;

–         Decrease the production and trafficking of opiates; and

–         Reduce the demand for illicit drugs and increase the provision of treatment for users.

The Brussels Conference on Afghanistan which took place on 5th of October 2016, marked a new phase of mutual commitment between the Government of Afghanistan and the international community. The conference underlined the need for a sustained and integrated approach in effectively reducing the illicit production and trafficking of narcotics and precursor products, and fighting organized crime, including money laundering, corruption and the financing of terrorism. Moreover, the conference also supported the Afghan National Drug Action Plan.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indisputable that the issue of narcotics is widespread, and the effects of drug cultivation, production, trafficking and consumption are vast and devastating. Addressing this global problem requires a comprehensive global, and unified response with a focus on trade, trafficking, production, and consumption aspects.

In our part, the people and Government of Afghanistan are strongly committed to continuing their efforts to not only build upon the achievements of the last sixteen years, but also put a new foundation for  progress and advancement for our future generations. In this regard, we have already taken major steps to expand our cooperation with countries of the region and beyond to strengthen our relevant law-enforcement agencies, greater intelligence sharing on terrorist threats, and drawing effective mechanisms to curtail trafficking of chemical precursors and narcotic drugs. We also continue to hold bilateral, trilateral, and quadrilateral consultations, and maintain our efforts through other mechanisms and forums, including the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the South-Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

In conclusion, Madam Chair, I would like to express our gratitude to the international community for its generous support and commitment at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, UNODC for its continued support in addressing the challenges of narcotic drugs and organized crime, in order to acheive a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. I thank you.

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 Sixth Committee on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism

 

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4 October 2016

NEW YORK

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

I join the previous speakers in congratulating you and other members of the Bureau on your election. We assure you of our full support, and wish you every success in leading the work of the 6th Committee to a successful conclusion.

We align ourselves with the statement, delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Terrorism is the most blatant form of violation of human rights, and a phenomenon that contradicts the core values and tenets of all religions and the essence of the UN Charter.  As we take up this agenda item each year, we have come to realize that this dangerous menace continues to grow in its scope and reach, posing a serious threat to the security and stability of all societies, irrespective of their geographical location.

This year is no different, as numerous attacks took place in my own country, Afghanistan and in other countries in five continents.  The status quo makes it ever more evident that despite ongoing efforts, the global counter-terrorism campaign must be revitalized for a more responsive approach.

To that end, the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy remains the most effective framework within which States must carry out their counter-terrorism obligations. We welcome the 5th Review of the Global Strategy this past July, which helped give new focus on ways to address some new trends, with respect to the global terrorist threat. We also acknowledge the important mandate entrusted to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) and Implementation Task Force (CTITF) for supporting States with technical and logistical assistance to meet their counter-terrorism obligations.

Having said that, a glimpse at the status of counter-terrorism efforts show that terrorist threats have rapidly increased rather than subside.  This reflects the obvious; States need to do more to meet their counter-terrorism obligations, in a timely and efficient manner.  In light of the continuing trend, we see merit in a review of the activities of UN entities, to identify and fill gaps in implementation, and assess what really can be done to achieve a more results-oriented approach for fulfilling respective mandates.

Mr. Chairman,

The many counter-terrorism resolutions of the General Assembly and Security Council, including SC resolutions 1373 and 2178 remain living documents. Nevertheless, far too often, we see elements in Some States, particularly one in our region, still resort to terrorism as a tool to advance their misguided foreign policy agenda.

Here again, we wish to state that the fight against terrorism cannot be won, if the international community fails to address the lingering problem of terrorist sanctuaries, safe havens and training centers, where extremists are nurtured, equipped and directed to engage in terror. Any State or elements within a State, involved in the perpetration or orchestration of terrorist attacks must be held to account.

Mr. Chairman,

This year, Afghanistan’s fight against terrorism continued unabated. Our security forces were tested on different fronts, battling a sophisticated nexus of 9 terrorist groups in different parts of the country.  As we speak, our security forces have repulsed another failed attempt by the Taliban and affiliate groups to establish a presence in Kunduz city, in northern Afghanistan.  However, as they retreat, they have taken innocent people hostage and have intentionally caused as much destruction to civilian lives and property as they can. Latest estimates indicate enemy forces have suffered heavy losses in their ranks, including senior figures. Weakened in their morale and operational capability, enemy forces increasingly resort to asymmetrical attacks on schools, universities, aid agencies and public events.  In July and August, they attacked a large gathering of peaceful demonstrators and the American University in Kabul, resulting in the loss of scores of civilians, including many of our talented youth.

We have adopted a holistic approach to combat terrorism, entailing both military and peace-building components.  We have consistently pursued a policy of combating those elements driven by extremist ideology, while keeping the doors of peace and reconciliation open to those elements that are ready to renounce violence, accept the constitution, and return to normal life.  Moreover, the National Unity Government has facilitated an effective platform for our religious clerics to amplify their denunciation of terror and violence, whether in Afghanistan or any other parts of the world.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan joins the call for the conclusion of the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, for a more responsive approach in dealing the problem of terrorism. A final conclusion of this important legal instrument has eluded us for far too long, while thousands of people have fallen victim to terrorism around the world: men, women; the elderly, and even children.   The time is now to break the impasse and address outstanding issues to finalize the draft comprehensive convention as a matter of priority.

We attach great importance to the Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (PEV) and its recommendations, which offers a unique perspective on addressing some of the underlying conditions that drive individuals to radicalize and join extremist groups.

Afghanistan also believes that inter-religious and inter-faith dialogue and collaboration can play an important role in the fight against terrorism by fostering a spirit of peace, solidarity and harmony between different cultures and religions.  In this context, we reject any form of religious and faith-based intolerance, and association of any religion with terrorism.  To that end, we welcome the important work being done by the UN Alliance of Civilizations and welcome the outcome of the Baku Declaration, adopted at the conclusion of the AOC’s 7th Global Forum in April.

Mr. Chairman,

To conclude, we reiterate our long-standing commitment to defeating international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  As a country whose people have stood valiantly in the front line of the global war against terrorism for over two decades, we will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders, nationally, regionally and internationally to reduce, and eventually eliminate the threat posed by this global menace.

Thank You.

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 71st Session of the General Assembly

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3 October 2016

NEW YORK

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, allow me to congratulate you on the assumption of the Chairmanship of the Second Committee of the 71st Session of the General Assembly. I hope that under your leadership, the Second Committee will have productive and fruitful discussions in the forthcoming weeks. I would like to assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation throughout the deliberations of issues concerning this Committee.

I also wish to commend the Chair of the Second Committee of the 70th Session of the General Assembly and his team for their successful leadership last year.

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

Mr. Chairman,

In 2016, we started our journey towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this regard, the High Level Midterm Review of the Istanbul Programme of Action for LDCs and the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development have been milestones in providing political guidance for the sustainable development process, as well as occasions to exchange views on common challenges, best practices, and lessons learned.

Mr. Chairman,

The implementation of the 2030 Agenda constitutes a great challenge as well as an invaluable opportunity.  It is fundamental to work to foster coherence in the UN system, adopt a holistic approach to further sustainable development, and honor the promise of leaving no one behind. We cannot overemphasize that “leaving no one behind” means addressing the special needs and challenges of countries in special situations, in particular LDCs, LLDCs, and countries in conflict and post conflict situations through the work of the Committee.

Mr. Chairman,

As a member of LDCs, LLDCs, and as a conflict affected country, I would like to highlight the following points:

 

·      Countries in conflict and post-conflict situations have always faced unique challenges in achieving sustainable development, as conflict not only impedes but reverses decades of development gains. Our delegation sees the strengthening of the connection between peace and security and development as a priority in the work of the Committee. Furthermore, we cannot stress enough the importance of mainstreaming SDG 16 (promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development) in the relevant resolutions and documents adopted by the Committee;

 

·      Financing for Development plays a crucial factor in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. We put a high value on the realization of the commitments made in Addis Ababa, and we would like to reiterate that Official Development Assistance (ODA), especially towards LDCs and LLDCs, is an element of primary importance to support our efforts for reaching sustainable development and economic growth;

 

·      We welcome the adoption of the Paris Agreement as a comprehensive and ambitious effort to combat climate change. After going through the due process, Afghanistan would ratify the agreement. We are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, although not being responsible for it in the first place. We expect the international community to follow through with its financial commitments aimed at developing capacity for adaptation in developing countries;

 

·      We welcome the outcome of the H.L. Midterm Review of the Istanbul Programme of Action. We see the Midterm Review as a serious and ambitious document aimed at redoubling our efforts in addressing the needs of LDCs, and we put a high value on creating synergies with the 2030 Agenda, with the aim of designing a comprehensive and sensible strategy to achieve sustainable development in the Least Developed Countries;

 

·      We would like to reiterate the relevance of the timely implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the importance of developing disaster risk reduction strategies for a better and more effective implementation of the SDGs;

Mr. Chairman,

2016 marks an important year for the work of Second Committee and the UN Development System as a whole, as we are called to adopt the new Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR). This resolution is of the utmost importance, especially in light of the need to align the UN Development System with the 2030 Agenda, as well as the need to fostering a more comprehensive and effective approach to sustainable development.

We call for the new QCPR to pay special attention to crucial elements such as the transition from relief to development, enhancing the funding of core resources, poverty eradication, and the needs and challenges faced by countries in special situations.

Mr. Chairman,

This month is of extraordinary importance for the development process of Afghanistan. Tomorrow and the day after, the National Unity Government and the international community are coming together for the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan. This key event will provide a platform for the Government of Afghanistan, the international community, along with other partners to reaffirm and consolidate their partnership for peace and prosperity in Afghanistan.

For this important occasion, the Government of Afghanistan has prepared “Afghanistan’s National Peace and Development Framework,” (ANPDF) a five-year strategic plan for achieving self-reliance and sustainable development, bringing an end to poverty, and ensuring security and stability to the country. The ANPDF has been developed in accordance with the goals and targets set out in the 2030 Agenda, by streamlining the SDGs in the relevant national policies and plans, with the goal of achieving the SDGs and addressing the unfinished business of the MDGs.

At the national level, Afghanistan has also developed a roadmap for the implementation of 2030 Agenda, learning from our experience in implementing the MDGs. The National Coordination Committee (NCC) is the highest coordination body for the SDGs implementation. Meanwhile, several other technical working groups, involving the Government, Parliament, UN agencies, civil society, and the private sector have been established to support the implementation of the Agenda.

Mr. Chairman,

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

Thank you Mr. Chairman.