I wish to begin by thanking Mr. Nicholas Rosellini for his introduction, and by commending the tireless efforts of the entire team at the UNDP’s Division for Afghanistan both in New York and in Kabul. I would also like to express my country’s appreciation of UNDP’s close consultation with the government of Afghanistan in drafting the country programme document, which will be presented later in the meeting for approval. In addition, I would like to thank the donor countries who fund the UNDP’s important work in Afghanistan.
The UNDP is presenting the draft country programme document for Afghanistan 2015-2019 at a very critical time: the country is undergoing a political transition and the Afghan people and the international community are eagerly awaiting the final result of a democratic election. The United Nations and the UNDP have played a prominent role throughout the electoral process, from providing capacity building and technical assistance to the Afghan Independent Electoral Commission and Independent Complaint Commission in the lead up to the elections, and in supporting the historic, unprecedented and full audit process after the second round of elections on 14 June.
The new country programme lays the foundation for a fresh and reinvigorated partnership between Afghanistan and the UNDP. On this note, let me highlight the following points:
Firstly, we appreciate the fact that the draft country programme document for Afghanistan is a product of one year of extensive consultations between the Government of Afghanistan and the UNDP country team in Afghanistan. It has been aligned with Afghanistan’s National Priority Programmes (NPPs), which constitute the bedrock of Afghanistan’s strategy for economic growth, development, and self-reliance in the Transformation Decade.
Secondly, we appreciate the flexible nature of the document, specifically that it allows the government of Afghanistan to revisit the document after the inauguration of the new government. This is a clear indication of respect for the principle of Afghan ownership and leadership.
Thirdly, we also appreciate the fact that the country programme document has been adapted to the United Nations Development Framework (UNDAF) which enjoys the support of the Government of Afghanistan in principle.
Last but not least, this country programme document has also taken the recommendations of the Assessment of Development Results (ADR) 2013 – Afghanistan into account. This is evident in its focus on poverty eradication, environmental protection, and attention to local governments, the legislature, the judiciary and civil society.
As we move into the Transformation Decade (which starts in 2015 and last until 2024), it is crucial that we learn from the past, that development assistance supports enhanced Afghan leadership and ownership, and that it enables the country to move from aid dependency to self-sufficiency. This will be vital to end fragility, achieve greater Afghan sovereignty and a more normalized relationship with the international community in the future.
In conclusion, I would like to express my government’s deep appreciation for the UNDP’s long engagement in Afghanistan particularly through the last decade. Afghanistan is grateful for our joint stabilization, reconstruction and development efforts and UNDP’s provision of support and assistance in the field of security and the rule of law, civil service reform, transparency and accountability, local governance, political processes including support to the Elections Commission and the newly elected parliament, civil society empowerment, youth, gender equality, human rights, environment and rural energy, the reintegration of former combatants into society, as well as rural development and private sector development.
Mr. President, I wish to stress that Afghanistan highly values its partnership with the UNDP and wishes to continue to work together towards enhancing Afghan ownership and leadership through the efficient implementation of this country program.
Thank you, Mr. President.