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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.