Statement by Mr. Wahidullah AminSecond Secretary, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
At the Fifth Committee debate on the ACABQ Budget Report, including UNAMA
At the outset, since my delegation is taking the floor for the first time during a formal meeting, let me congratulate you Mr. Chairman and the members of the bureau on your election. I would also like to thank Ms Susan McLurg, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) for introducing the report of the ACABQ on United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Afghanistan, after twenty-five years of war and conflict imposed from outside the country, and six years of the Taliban regime, faced heavily damaged physical infrastructure, and a significant loss of human life. Afghanistan was hijacked by Al Qaida, who used Afghan territory to organize and lead their global terrorist acts and supported the Taliban in installing a regime of fear that brutally repressed the population. With the assistance of the UN and the international community, great progress has been made since 2001.
The Afghan Government has, as its primary goal, the creation of a stable constitutional, democratic state with effective institutions that can help our people rebuild their lives and their country after decades of war. This cannot be accomplished without the help and support of the international community. UNAMA plays an integral coordinating role by streamlining the efforts of the international community and supporting the ownership of the Afghan Government. National ownership of the reconstruction process is necessary to ensure the stability and sustainability of the results. UNAMA has done an admirable job thus far, and we look forward to working with them further as their new mandate is enacted.
UNAMA has grown since its creation precisely because it serves such an essential coordinating and advising role. The Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Kai Eide, has become a trusted presence in this process, and we are grateful to him for his efforts. In order to effectively discharge its responsibilities, UNAMA needs increased staff and support, and more specialized expertise. It is in this regard that we fully support the proposed increased budget for UNAMA in the coming year.
The next elections, scheduled to be held in 2009 and 2010, will be the first to be administered by Afghan authorities since the 1970s. UNAMA is providing essential assistance for the Afghan Independent Electoral Commission in the voter registration process. Successful elections in 2009 and 2010 will reaffirm the legitimacy of the Afghan Government, and will form a necessary step towards creating a prosperous and peaceful society for all Afghans.
As the Afghan Government puts all of its energy towards the Afghan National Development Strategy, we look forward to the increased coordinating capacity of UNAMA to help ensure the success of the ANDS.
The harshest winter in 30 years, combined with lack of capacity of the Afghan government, has aggravated the existing humanitarian challenges in the country. Poverty and lack of access to food, medical care and education remain major obstacles to equitable and sustainable development. There has been significant progress in some areas, but Afghanistan still faces the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world, and 42 percent of the country still lives in extreme poverty.
In addition, with almost 2000 NGO’s, 20 international organizations, and 41 troop contributing countries all trying to work together in Afghanistan, it is essential that someone coordinate all of these efforts, to ensure the ownership of the Afghan people and its elected government, and the growth of national capacity. UNAMA has proven itself capable of a larger role in the stabilization process, and we will support them in the coming year.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.