Monday, June 18, 2018

Operational Activities for Development Segment of the Economic and Social Council

STATEMENT BY Mr. Nazifullah Salarzai

Minister, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

 to the United Nations

at the General Debate of the Operational Activities for Development Segment of the Economic and Social Council

(Check against delivery)

1 March 2018

NEW YORK

Mr. Vice President,

At the outset, I would like to commend your efforts in organizing this important segment of the Economic and Social Council. My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered by Egypt on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, Bangladesh on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, and Paraguay on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries. I would now like to deliver few remarks in my national capacity.

I would like to highlight 3 key points:

  1. We should focus our efforts on bringing the humanitarian, development, and peace dimensions of our work closer together through this reform of the UN development system. This is the only way we can achieve a whole-of-system approach, critically needed in countries implementing the 2030 Agenda while faced by humanitarian crises and/or conflict. In this regard, we support the proposal outlined in paragraph 111 of the Secretary General’s report, to use the Operational Activities Segment to enhance guidance on the development system’s coordination with humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding efforts. We also support the proposals for Resident Coordinators being better prepared to work across the development-humanitarian-peacebuilding nexus, as well as the idea of incentivizing interagency mobility across UN pillars in order to strengthen the pipeline for Resident Coordinators of the future. Furthermore, we believe it is important to consolidate ECOSOC’s role as an intergovernmental space to reinforce the UN’s transition towards a culture of prevention and focus on results. On a similar note, we support the Secretary General’s decision to establish a Joint Steering Committee to advance Humanitarian and Development Collaboration.

 

  1. In creating a new generation of UN Country Teams and reinvigorating the Resident Coordinator system, we should keep in mind that our main goal is increasing quality, efficiency, and coordination of UN operations in host countries. Eliminating duplications of efforts and fragmentation of work, shaping UN country presence according to host Governments needs and priorities, reducing transaction costs at all levels and respecting national sovereignty and ownership of the development process are key elements in this regard. As a country hosting a significant volume of UN operations and a Special Political Mission, Afghanistan looks forward to a strengthened UN development system, able to step up its support for Government’s efforts through increased efficiency, transparency, and accountability. In this regard, we are hopeful that dual reporting lines, taken together with strengthened accountability, will result in greater impact on the ground and the achievement of collective results under the UNDAF.

 

  1. We believe that a revamped regional approach should be one of the main outcomes of the reform of the UN development system. Receiving tailored support in the field of regional connectivity and regional economic cooperation is vital for countries in special situations, in particular LDCs and LLDCs. It is important that the UN system steps up its capabilities in aligning its activities at the regional level with countries’ priorities and needs, as well as that Regional Economic Commissions achieve more coordination with other regional platforms, with a view to build synergies in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and reduce duplications and overlaps.

 

Mr. Vice President,

In conclusion, let me reassure you of my delegation’s commitment and continued constructive engagement in moving forward with the consideration of the Secretary General’s proposals for the reform of the UN development system.

I thank you.

Social Development

STATEMENT BY  G. Seddiq Rasuli  Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations

 At the Third Committee of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly

Agenda Item 27: Social Development

New York, 2 October 2017

 

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to join the previous speakers to congratulate you and the members of this bureau on your election. We are convinced, Mr. Chairman, that under your leadership this session will be a success for all of us.

Taking this opportunity, let me also assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation in the deliberations ahead. I further wish to thank the Secretary-General for his reports and recommendations contained therein under this agenda item.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was an important achievement for the international community to respond comprehensively to the most pressing issues of our time. On our part, the Government of Afghanistan remains committed to the achievement of sustainable development with an overarching objective to reduce poverty and promote socioeconomic development. In this regard, I am happy to inform that our national policies, strategies, and development plans are aligned with the goals and targets of this agenda.  Afghanistan was one of the countries that presented its Voluntary National Review to the high-level political forum on sustainable development this year.

 

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan’s National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF), which serves as the roadmap for the welfare of our people, recognizes “Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion” as the main agenda in moving the country towards sustainable development, economic growth, and prosperity. This framework identifies three national priority programs to achieve its goals of poverty reduction and social inclusion, namely, Social Protection, Women’s Empowerment, and Citizen’s Charter.

Under the social protection program, we are working to reduce poverty, primarily by helping the poor to increase their skills and productivity, and by providing them with access to labor intensive paid employment through the Jobs for Peace Program. While investing in increasing opportunities for young people is the central focus of our poverty reduction strategy, there is still a substantial population of vulnerable, disabled, widowed, and elderly citizens who need carefully targeted and professionally managed assistance.

Women’s empowerment in social, economic and political spheres is the top blueprint of the Government of Afghanistan. Under the ANPDF, Economic Empowerment of Women is a National Priority Program (WEE-NPP). The program will provide start-up technical and financial support to women-owned businesses, along with job skills, and financial literacy. These investments will complement and be delivered through the existing mechanisms and institutions, focusing on scaling-up successful interventions.

Another National Priority Program is the “Citizens’ Charter” which is a foundation stone for realizing the government’s self-reliance vision, contributing to poverty reduction, sustainable development, and socioeconomic growth. It is a promise of partnership between the Government of Afghanistan and communities. In other words, the Charter is a commitment to provide every village of Afghanistan with basic services such as education, health, basic rural infrastructure, and agriculture, based on community’s own prioritization along with the improvement of mechanisms for service delivery.

Mr. Chairman,

Peace and security play a fundamental role in the prosperity of societies; development cannot be assured in the absence of these vital elements. Despite many achievements, unfortunately, security challenges still remain a serious concern for the government and people of Afghanistan as terrorist groups target our public infrastructures and threaten innocent civilians, including children and women on a daily basis. According to the recent report of the UN Secretary-General, UNAMA has documented 5,243 civilian casualties during the first half of 2017. We know that these evil forces and their supporters can create hindrance in our efforts towards a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan, but they cannot prevail forever, as the people and government of Afghanistan are strongly determined to continue their noble fight to secure their country against the enemies of humanity and civilization.

 

I thank you Mr. Chairman.

 

 

 

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