Thursday, August 17, 2017

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Land Locked Developing Countries Meeting of Foreign Ministers

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Land Locked Developing Countries

Meeting of Foreign Ministers Delivered by Mr. Daud Yaar


Mr. Chairman,

At the outset let me express my sincere appreciation to Paraguay for its successful leadership of the Group of Land Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs).

Mr. Chairman,

The landlocked developing countries are commonly among the poorest of the developing countries and 16 of us, including my own country are classified as least developed countries with the weakest growth rates, and critically dependent on a very limited number of commodities for our export income.

There is a clear connection between distance and the transport costs. High transport costs affect the competitiveness margin of landlocked developing countries and trade volume.

Lack of territorial access to the sea, distance and isolation from world markets and high transit costs continue to impose serious constraints on the overall socio-economic development of our countries. In addition to numerous global crises, such as widespread poverty, climate change, financial and economic crises, the threat of terrorism, volatile energy prices and food shortages are among many challenges which developing countries, particularly land locked developing countries are facing.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan’s export and import have been adversely affected by long distance, difficult terrain, bad condition of roads, non-existence of railway system in the country, volatile security, threat of terrorism and relations with neighbouring countries and inefficiency of transit transport.  As well our export and import depend on transit through other countries. Additional border crossings and long distance from the market considerably increase our total expenses for the transport services. Not only the above challenges, but also sensitive relation with neighbouring countries all the time impose extra pressure and cost on our poor economy. Afghanistan is a commodity exporter country. We pay almost two times more of our export earnings for the payment of transport and insurance services. All of these challenges have had enormous harmful effects on the implementation and realization of our MDGs.

The three decades of war has enormously damaged our economy and our political and social infrastructure, including our roads and transport system. During the past 10 years we managed to built and rehabilitate much of our roads and transport system, however, for adequate development and maintenance of transport infrastructure, establishing a better transit transport system and enhanced technical assistance, capacity building for the formulation of trade policies, investment into infrastructure for transport, communication and etc. we need much support of our development partners and regional cooperation.

Afghanistan fully supports the commitment  of the landlocked countries to accelerate the implementation of Almaty Programme of Action through effective and genuine partnerships between landlocked and transit countries and their development partners as well as between public and private sector  at national , regional and global level.

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion, I reiterate our commitment to work closely with you all to advance our common interests.

I thank you.

High Level Meeting on Youth

Statement  of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Delivered by Mr. Ahmad Zahir Faqiri  Minister, Deputy Permanent Representative
At the General Assembly  High Level Meeting on Youth

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I wish to take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. President, for organizing this timely High level Youth Forum highlighting the International year of Youth.

Mr. President,

On behalf of the Afghan Government, I would like to stress the need for further effort to support young people in developing their capacity to tackle the challenges they face. Let me emphasize that the primary responsibility for ensuring youth development lies with states. Today I will address both the challenges ahead for Afghan youth and achievements accomplished thus far.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan is a country of youth. 68% of the population is below 25 years of age. The bulk of the population is to a certain extent deprived of their fundamental rights, including but not limited to lack of educational and employment opportunities. The situation of Afghan girls is of particular concern – under traditional pressures they enter early marriage and early pregnancy, contributing to Afghanistan’s dire MMR and IMR.

Youth literacy rates are low; 50% for boys and 18% for girls; secondary school enrollments are respectively 23% and 7%, and less than 2% of the Afghan population reaches higher education.

Faced with these challenges, Afghan youth are at risk. Their vulnerability is exacerbated by unemployment, low wages, lack of safety and security, poverty and lack of medical care, making youth particularly at risk to recruitment to armed opposition and terrorist organizations.

Mr. President,

In the face of these challenges, we should not lose sight of the progress made thus far.  To date, more than seven millions boys and girls are enrolled in schools, investing in their futures.  We have constructed more than 4,000 schools across the country; we predict to have Fourteen million children enrolled in schools by 2020; and in a country where practically no girls received education just ten years ago, over 40 percent of these new students will be girls. Additionally, the great majority of Afghanistan’s population has access to basic health-care, showing great progress over the last ten years.

It is worth mentioning that a considerable percentage of the Afghan parliament are comprised of young representatives, almost entire of the news agencies, TVs broadcasting, monthly magazines are running by the young generation in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

The Government of Afghanistan is committed to fulfilling its responsibility to protect the rights of all youth and to addressing violations of youth’s rights. We have initiated a number of important steps at the national, regional and international levels. This includes the launch of a National Youth Programme, which reiterates our commitment to the development of the sons and daughters of Afghanistan and seeks to establish an opportunity for Afghan youth to fulfill their aspirations.

Mr. President,

This generation of youth in my country, having experienced conflict and exile, now they must be empowered with alternative opportunities. Their fresh perspectives, their energy, enthusiasm and determination must be guided for promoting peace and development in Afghanistan.

I wish to conclude by joining the previous speakers to express the condolences of the Afghan government and Afghan people to the Mission of Norway and through them to the people of Norway on the recent act of terror which caused dozens of casualties.

I thank you.

For your attention

Statement By Mr. M .Wali Naeemi Minister Counsellor and Reporter of the 4th Committee, UNGA-65 At the 4th Committee Meeting on UNRWA

Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to thank you for organizing this meeting and I also wish to thank the Commissioner-General for his self-explanatory and informative briefing on the situation and activities of the UNRWA.

It is a great honor for me to speak on behalf of my delegation on this very important issue.

My delegation aligns its statement with the statement delivered on behalf of NAM and welcomes with appreciation the report of the Secretary-General on UNRWA, which pointed out very important issues on the financial situation faced by the Agency.

Mr. Chairman,

In November 2010, the Commission-general of UNRWA presented a comprehensive report to the General Assembly, explaining in detail the challenges and constraints that UNRWA is facing at the present time.

Furthermore, he elaborated upon recommendations on necessary steps for the improvement of the Agency’s work at the regional and global-level.

UNRWA has been working for more than 60 years and providing humanitarian assistance and technical support to over 4.7 million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.

The Agency is running education programs for young Palestinian girls and boys in more than 58 recognized refugee camps; delivering vital medical services throughout the refugee camps; and providing food and immediate assistance, in particular for disabled people, in the refugee camps.

Mr. Chair,

A real improvement in the lives of Palestinian refugees across the region requires a permanent solution with justice and the establishment of two independent states living side by side within the 1967 borders.

The international community’s support to UNRWA is of the utmost importance and must continue until a permanent solution for the long lasting conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is achieved.

In conclusion, while the humanitarian and advocacy character of UNRWA has played a decisive role since its establishment in 1949, it is now more than ever crucial for it to continue its efforts dedicated to the implementation of relief programs and services to all Palestinian refugees.

The continued successful implementation of the Agency’s programs requires the strengthening of its management capacities, an increase in the number of employees, improvement in the quality of work and expansion of the Agency in the areas of education, health, water sanitation, and strengthening the rules and assistance for Palestinians in refugee camps as well as for IDP’s.

In this regard, the grave financial situation of UNRWA, due to 12 % underfunding for the last four biennium and rising costs with refugee numbers approaching 5 million, requires many measures for improving the outlook facing the Agency, including its capacity to utilize voluntary funds more effectively and in a long perspective.

As the Secretary-General already emphasized in his report of 1 February 2011,

“UNRAW needs access to a greater share of predictable, secure funding”.

While the support of traditional donors must be sustained and increased, at the same time the income from non-traditional donors including the public and private sector needs to be enhanced and strengthened.

Hence, the international community and special-financing institutions and other entities must redouble their contribution and assist the agency’s services and programs.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan