STATEMENT BY G. Seddiq Rasuli
Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations
At the Second Committee
Agenda item 24: Eradication of poverty and other development issues
New York, 17 October 2018
Thank you for giving me the floor. My delegation aligns itself with the statements delivered by Egypt on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, Malawi on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, and Paraguay on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries.
Despite achieving some progress towards the eradication of extreme poverty in recent years, poverty and hunger continue to be high in many countries, particularly in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). According to the recent report of the Secretary General, some 767 million people live below the extreme poverty line. Most of these people are concentrated in rural areas, and about 689 million are also experiencing severe food insecurity. Given the distribution of wealth and resources, today more than half of the world’s extreme poor live in LDCs.
Additionally, according to the World Economic Situation and Prospects’ mid-2018 update, the per capita economic growth in LDCs is rising at levels insufficient to eradicate extreme poverty. Therefore, under the current growth trajectory, by 2030 nearly 35% of the population in LDCs would remain in extreme poverty. This is a cause of tremendous concern for the international community, as we embark on the third year of implementation of SDGs.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since poverty eradication is directly linked with efforts for economic growth, countries should accelerate inclusive and equitable economic growth and sustainable development that will not leave behind vulnerable populations. However, the LDCs are experiencing the slowest pace of economic expansion and growth rate well below the sustainable development targets. Contributing to these factors, multiple families slide into poverty due to economic, environmental, health or other shocks. Further, the impacts of armed conflicts, weak domestic infrastructure, lack of social welfare nets, and climate change further exacerbate poverty among vulnerable populations worldwide.
My delegation believes that in order to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development goals, there are critical areas that require more attention, both at domestic and international levels. In this regard, we need to focus on our national strategies to embrace a holistic and integrated approach towards poverty eradication.
Since 2001, Afghanistan has made considerable progress on many fronts. Our Government is committed to uphold the rights of all citizens and ensure that they enjoy a life of dignity. To that end, poverty eradication has always been a top priority for us. Through multiple development programs over the course of last 17 years, the people of Afghanistan have experienced significant improvements in their social, political, economic, and cultural rights, including the right to education, access to healthcare, and the ability to pursue a livelihood. To further consolidate these gains, the Government of Afghanistan has developed a sustainable reform agenda for the country that incorporates good governance in all sectors, with fighting poverty at its core principle.
It is worth noting that the progress on poverty eradication in Afghanistan is directly and intrinsically linked to the overall well-being of the economy, political, and security factors. In this regard, Afghanistan’s National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF) sets out Afghanistan’s Strategic Policy Priorities towards achieving self-reliance. ANPDF further underscores the urgency of reducing poverty by creating employment, as well as address widespread related problems such as child malnutrition, access to education and healthcare, food insecurity, poor sanitation, and conflict related impoverishment. Better indicators on these areas can significantly better the situation of the people in the country.
Afghanistan continues to be on a forward-looking trajectory which lends further optimism and ensures that progress on poverty eradication is possible. However, despite our progress on multiple fronts, terrorism and imposed conflict for nearly four decades have deteriorated the security situation, and exacerbated poverty and underdevelopment in Afghanistan. We continue to experience a number of fluctuations on poverty, inequality, employment, food security and other economic and social indicators over time. The most concerning among these are the worrying situation in Afghanistan’s labor market, the current rise in food insecurity, and ongoing drought, all of which are exacerbating poverty across the country.
However, despite all challenges, our Government is firmly determined not only to preserve the gains made over the past 17 years, but also build upon these gains by creating an environment where peace, security and prosperity prevails. Thereby, we have made our decision to move our country beyond conflict and poverty to peace and prosperity. Before I concluded, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the UN and our international partners in supporting us in this endeavor.