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 72nd Session of the General Assembly
(Check against delivery)
3 October 2017
At the outset, let me congratulate Ambassador Sven Jürgenson of Estonia for his Chairmanship of the Second Committee. I also congratulate all members elected to serve in the Bureau. Using this opportunity, I wish to assure you of Afghanistan’s full support and cooperation as you lead the work of the 2nd Committee.
I also wish to commend you predecessor, His Excellency Mr. Dian Triansyah Djani of the Republic of Indonesia, and his bureau for their tireless efforts and successful leadership of the Second Committee during the last session.
My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered by Ecuador on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, Bangladesh on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, and Zambia on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries. I would now like to deliver some remarks in my national capacity.
Two years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, it is crucial we decisively tackle the outstanding challenges we have in front of us. As mentioned in the Report of the Secretary-General on the Progress Towards the SDGs, the pace of implementation must be accelerated, given the urgency of these challenges, particularly for developing countries.
Despite the significant challenges Afghanistan is facing as the forefront of the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, we are fully committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Working in close collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, my Government has designed the streamlining of the SDGs into the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF 2017-2021). Holding true to the spirit of an Agenda “of the people, by the people and for the people”, Afghanistan is taking the necessary steps to make sure each community is involved first hand in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, strengthening our sense of national ownership in the development process. These steps, along with our future roadmap of implementation, have been presented during last July’s High-level Political Forum, where my delegation undertook its Voluntary National Review, sharing achievements, challenges, and lessons learned with the international community.
Countries in conflict and post-conflict situations have always faced unique challenges in achieving sustainable development; we have witnessed that conflict not only impedes but reverses decades of development gains. The theme of this year’s General Debate: “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet” aptly captures the relation of deep interdependence between sustainable development and a peaceful world. The deliberations and actions of this committee will play an important role in strengthening the nexus between peace and development in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
We believe it is essential to stay true to our commitment to “leave no one behind” and keep our focus on the “poorest, most vulnerable, and those furthest behind”. In this regard, we would like to express our concern that LDCs, forming one quarter of the UN membership, remain far below many of the targets of the SDGs, as reflected in the Report of the Secretary-General on the Progress Towards the SDGs. The success of the 2030 Agenda will depend for the most part on the progress made by LDCs in the next 13 years. In this regard, we call on the international community to follow through to its commitments, strengthening our collective efforts.
We would also like to stress that addressing the high trade costs faced by the LLDCs is important to facilitate their integration into the global economy, and that in LLDCs infrastructure deficit, including in transport, ICTs and energy infrastructure remains high, hampering landlocked countries’ prospects for development.
We reiterate that Official Development Assistance (ODA) continues to be a critical source of financing for the development of the Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries, and we express our concern for the decline in nominal terms of ODA to LDCs and LLDCs. In this regard, we call upon all development partners to fulfill the ODA-related internationally agreed targets, and we express encouragement to those providers allocating at least 50 per cent of their ODA to Least Developed Countries.
We welcome the establishment and operationalization of the Technology Bank for the LDCs, and we sincerely thank the Government of Turkey for its leadership and generosity. We call on development partners to mobilize resources for its sustenance and effective functioning, in line with SDG 17.8, as science, technology and innovation can be game-changing tools for furthering development in the LDCs.
We welcome the process of follow-up to the implementation of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review led by the Deputy Secretary General, and we appreciate its inclusive and transparent nature. In reaffirming our commitment to engage constructively in the reform of the UN development system, we would like to reiterate our conviction that it is crucial to shape a UN development system in which the nexus between peace and development is strengthened, building on, among others, the sustaining peace resolutions.
In conclusion, I would like to reassure you of my delegation’s constructive engagement throughout the discussion of this session of the Committee.
Thank you Madam Chair.