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

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


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.

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