Thursday, October 23, 2014

World Financial and Economic Crisis

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Permanent Representative of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Head of Delegation

at the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development
24th to 26th June 2009

NEW YORK

STATEMENT

H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin addresses General Assembly on the world financial and economic crisis and its impact on development

H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin addresses General Assembly on the world financial and economic crisis and its impact on development

Mr. President,

I am honored to have the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in this timely and important discussion on the Global Economic and Financial Crisis. At the outset let me thank H.E. the  President, for his initiative in convening this meeting at a time when the global financial and economic crisis seriously threatens the livelihood and well being of millions of people all over the world. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his efforts in this regard. In order to prevent lasting damage, particularly to developing countries, we must maintain focus and resources on the development agenda, particularly for those countries in a special situation, we should improve and encourage both North-South and South-South partnerships, and we must improve the quality of aid and accountability.
Mr. President,

The international community is facing the most severe financial and economic crisis of the past several decades. And it is those least responsible for it, the poorest among us, particularly women and children, who are hit the hardest.
The global financial crisis exacerbates other already severe problems: of energy, environment and food that particularly affect the developing countries of the South. Already poor countries are becoming even more mired in poverty.
Mr. President,

The global financial crisis poses challenges for all countries, but post-conflict countries, least developed countries and land-locked least developed countries face particular challenges. Afghanistan as a post-conflict, least developed and land-lacked country has
been hit severely by this crisis and will find it difficult to implement its National Development Strategy and achieve its MDGs and other IADGs without intensified international support. Moreover the impact of the insecurity caused by the Taliban in parts of Afghanistan combined with several recent natural disasters has increased the need for additional resources for humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of displaced and vulnerable people. Afghanistan and other countries in a special situation need additional funds and resources for social protection, food security and human development.

Mr. President,

We are at a critical juncture that requires rapid, decisive and coordinated action. To defuse this crisis, to address the causes of the crisis and to prevent similar crises in the future, we all have to work together to prevent the current tenuous situation from becoming a social and human disaster with implications for the lives of millions of impoverished people, the implementation of the MDGs, political stability and peace.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan believes that the United Nations is in a position to play an important role in coordinating international co-operation towards solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character. We encourage our international colleagues to make sure that UN development agencies are fully resourced so that they can increase their technical and financial assistance to the governments of LDCs,  LLDCs and other countries with special needs. The Government of Afghanistan also supports the Secretary General’s High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis in connection with international efforts on setting-up a Global Partnership on Agriculture and Food Security.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan also sees the necessity and potential of North-South collaboration, in addition to cooperation between countries in the South. We have an active and crucial partnership with our regional neighbors, and also with the international community as a whole, and we can testify to the value in different sorts of partnerships. Cooperation can be best accomplished through improving the operations of international and regional institutions, supporting international and regional cooperation, and increasing the effectiveness of international and regional efforts in recipient countries.
We urge donor countries to execute their bilateral and multilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments. We urge them to meet their commitments made at the G 20 Summit in London and other international forums such as the Monterrey Consensus, the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, the Doha Declaration and others. We urge them to reduce allocation of ODA outside of the government system and channel more funds through the core budget and trust funds. We also call on developed countries and

donor agencies to adhere to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness in order to ensure national ownership in the development process.
Lack of donor coordination, incomplete reporting, lack of transparency and unpredictable aid are all challenges that need to be addressed in order to ensure the best use of our money. And particularly now, at a time of limited resources, it is important that donors prioritize the efficiency, accountability, and the principle of national ownership.

Mr. President,

The Government of Afghanistan considers the substantive and comprehensive reform of the international economic and financial institutions to be a matter of urgency. This sort of crisis must not occur again.
Afghanistan joins all developing countries and reiterates their call for an early, successful and development-oriented conclusion of the Doha round of trade negotiations that places the needs of developing countries at its highest priority. Afghanistan also supports the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration to implement duty-free and quota-free access for LDCs.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan trusts that the outcome of this important historic Conference will reduce the suffering of millions of vulnerable people all over the world and will protect the world from future crisis.

I thank you.

VIDEO

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Africa and the International Court

By KOFI ANNAN–

Eleven years ago when I opened the Rome conference that led to the founding of the International Criminal Court, I reminded the delegates that the eyes of the victims of past crimes and the potential victims of future ones were fixed firmly upon them. The delegates, many of whom were African, acted on that unique opportunity and created an institution to strengthen justice and the rule of law.

Now that important legacy rests once more in the hands of African leaders as they meet in Libya on Wednesday. The African Union summit meeting will be the first since the I.C.C. issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes for his alleged role in the atrocities in Darfur.

The African Union’s repeatedly stated commitment to battle impunity will be put to the test. On the agenda is an initiative by a few states to denounce and undermine the international court. In recent months, some African leaders have expressed the view that international justice as represented by the I.C.C. is an imposition, if not a plot, by the industrialized West.

In my view, this outcry against justice demeans the yearning for human dignity that resides in every African heart. It also represents a step backward in the battle against impunity.

Over the course of my 10 years as United Nations secretary general, the promise of justice and its potential as a deterrent came closer to reality. The atrocities committed in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia moved the Security Council to set up two ad hoc tribunals, building on the principles of post-World War II courts in Nuremberg and Tokyo.

These new tribunals showed that there is such a thing as effective international justice.

But these ad hoc tribunals were not enough. People the world over wanted to know that wherever and whenever the worst atrocities were committed – genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity – there would be a court to bring to justice anyone in a government hierarchy or military chain of command who was responsible. That principle would be applied without exception, whether to the lowliest soldier or the loftiest ruler.

Thus the International Criminal Court was formed. It now has 108 states, including 30 African countries, representing the largest regional bloc among the member states. Five of the court’s 18 judges are African. The I.C.C. reflects the demand of people everywhere for a court that can punish these serious crimes and deter others from committing them.

The African opponents of the international court argue that it is fixated on Africa because its four cases so far all concern alleged crimes against African victims.

One must begin by asking why African leaders shouldn’t celebrate this focus on African victims. Do these leaders really want to side with the alleged perpetrators of mass atrocities rather than their victims? Is the court’s failure to date to answer the calls of victims outside of Africa really a reason to leave the calls of African victims unheeded?

Moreover, in three of these cases, it was the government itself that called for I.C.C. intervention – the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Uganda. The fourth case, that of Darfur, was selected not by the international court but forwarded by the U.N. Security Council.

It’s also important to remember that the I.C.C., as a court of last resort, acts only when national justice systems are unwilling or unable to do so. There will be less need for it to protect African victims only when African governments themselves improve their record of bringing to justice those responsible for mass atrocities.

The I.C.C. represents hope for victims of atrocities and sends a message that no one is above the law. That hope and message will be undermined if the African Union condemns the court because it has charged an African head of state. The African Union should not abandon its promise to fight impunity. Unless indicted war criminals are held to account, regardless of their rank, others tempted to emulate them will not be deterred, and African people will suffer.

We have little hope of preventing the worst crimes known to mankind, or reassuring those who live in fear of their recurrence, if African leaders stop supporting justice for the most heinous crimes just because one of their own stands accused.

Kofi Annan served as secretary general of the United Nations from 1997-2006 and is now president of the Kofi Annan Foundation.

Source: The New York Times

Dealing with Crises in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Panel Discussion – Dealing with Crises in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Political and Diplomatic Perspectives
26th International Workshop on Global Security
Istanbul, Turkey
June 27, 2009

Thank you. It is an honor to have the opportunity to speak to you today.

This is a key time for the world in Afghanistan and the region. In the last few months, international attention has refocused. New US leadership has promised more troops and a civilian surge. In a few short weeks, Afghans will go to the polls and choose our next leaders. Despite the continuing security and political challenges, this new focus has already generated several steps in the right direction: a civilian surge, attention on sub-national governance, a new international alignment with Afghan priorities.

The stakes for success in Afghanistan are high. This is NATO’s first peacekeeping mission outside Europe in its 60 year history. Some have suggested that Afghanistan will represent a definitive measure of NATO’s ongoing transformation and resolve and a true test for NATO’s future. In addition, a failure of international engagement would be a serious triumph for terrorism. As the world saw eight years ago, an unstable Afghan state can foster terrorists. Conversely, a successful Afghan state offers security for its neighbors and allies and can act as an economic hub and land bridge.

The time is right. The stakes are high. So today our discussion about how to achieve success in Afghanistan is crucial.

I have been asked to speak about the political and diplomatic perspectives on a strategy for success. In an audience of mostly defense specialists and representatives, my goal today is to lay out the correct civilian and political strategy to complement our military understanding.

At a time of economic uncertainty, a civilian strategy and military strategy need to be complementary. The US has recognized this, as President Obama stated, “It is far cheaper to train a policeman to secure their village or to help a farmer seed a crop than it is to send [US] troops to fight tour after tour of duty.” We also understand that no victory in Afghanistan can be purely military. Only a comprehensive political-military solution is sustainable and lasting.

My recommendations for a comprehensive political-military strategy would improve the understanding of the situation in Afghanistan in order to improve our actions in Afghanistan.

We need to cultivate two understandings: one, an understanding that rejects defeatist assumptions about the politics of Afghanistan and two, an understanding that better identifies the enemy so that we can defeat it.

Far too often, I am asked about the “likelihood,” or the “possibility,” of building a successful state and political culture in Afghanistan. To understand my country’s history is to recognize there is no question about a possibility-there is only the actuality of a stable, democratic state in our country’s history.

The modernization of our country did not begin in 2001-it began in the early 1900s. In 1923, our first constitution enforced such laws as compulsory elementary education. In the 1960s, women voted and served in political offices alongside men. There was freedom of movement and security of property. The state enforced a legitimate control that extended throughout the country before external powers interfered and violence unsettled our progress. In short, there has been a central state in Afghanistan; there can be again.

The Taliban also seeks to persuade the world, and Afghans themselves, that their movement is only “returning” Afghanistan to its traditional morality. But their barbarity does not represent any Afghan tradition. The Taliban is exactly the opposite-they are an anti-tradition, an anti-culture. They are a product of war and destruction, capable of producing only further destruction.

So we must ensure that our comprehensive political-military strategy is not stymied by wrong assumptions. A better political understanding of Afghan culture and history opens up new belief in our opportunity for success. Similarly, a better political understanding of the enemy opens up new possibility for their defeat. This enemy is comprised of Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and their international terrorist allies, as well as the destabilizing internal networks of corruption and warlordism.

In the last eight years, Al Qaeda and the Taliban have been able to strengthen and regroup. In 2001, they were not included in the Bonn political process, nor did the international community send enough troops to eliminate them. After their initial defeat, flagging international attention ignored the sanctuaries and sources of their external support. The combination of all these factors was a deadly recipe for terrorism’s strengthening and re-emergence. Recent developments in the region indicate that terrorism continues to find leadership and guidance from outside Afghanistan.

Beyond the Taliban, a network of corruption and warlordsim threatens our Afghan state from within. Since 2001, old warlords have been able to gain new power by linking themselves to the aims of the international community. Yesterday’s warlords with guns have become today’s warlords of position and money. The international community has continued to ignore the extra-legal operations of these power-holders, contributing to a deepening nexus between warlordism, drugs and sometime the criminalization of politics. This internal weakness denies the Afghan people’s desire for justice and destabilizes the democratic process in Afghanistan. International efforts in Afghanistan should instead focus on supporting the moderate forces for progress. Moderate elements are a more stable foundation for our state.

Today we must also translate this better understanding into better action. Better action prioritizes security, strengthens governance and emphasizes regional cooperation.

First, the right strategy stems the insecurity to create space for governance. Where there is no minimum security, governance will be impossible. Thus, international forces can help our government in creating a human security corridor where we can move beyond only fighting the Taliban to delivering an effective system of justice, health care, education and safety of movement for Afghans.

We must establish this minimum security environment immediately. But for long-term success, troops should move towards establishing a more permanent security by eliminating the sanctuaries that provide long-term support to the insurgency. In addition, politically, we should work to weaken the Taliban and their extremist allies by separating out those elements that are willing to support a strong, stable, democratic Afghanistan and including them in the political process.

Second, the right strategy strengthens governance. Interlinked with fighting the Taliban is establishing Afghan government institutions, including effective Afghan national security forces.

At this time of economic constraints, quality of strategy is more important than quantity of resources. International support should be accomplished through a strategy that maximizes the impact of every international effort. This best quality strategy is coordinated, continuous and accountable.

There has been a recent improvement in the coordination of international efforts, but we must continue to be focused. Military efforts are still visualized through a province-by-province, instead of the national, perspective. Civilian and development work are often conducted by piecemeal non-state organizations outside of the Afghan government. Many of the foreign experts also do not stay long enough to complete their projects.

This does not have to be the case. Last year’s Paris Donor Conference recognized that international engagement should be coordinated around the pillars of the Afghan National Development Strategy.

In addition, how we spend the money must be clear and accountable. The Ministry of Finance has recently revived our donor database. International aid should be channeled through this database so that we can measure how well funds have been used. Private contractors must also be accountable.

Today the most visible test for strengthened governance is in the upcoming elections-a crucial moment for democratic progress in Afghanistan. We are happy to see full international and Afghan commitment to fair, free and transparent elections with a level playing field for all candidates. It is important to keep the right expectations: a successful election does not deliver a quick-fix solution to all challenges. Instead, our goal is to strengthen a continuing democratic process that is fully and completely Afghan-owned.

Third, the right strategy requires sustained regional cooperation.
The region has the most to lose-and the most to win-from Afghanistan. Increased bilateral, trilateral and multilateral processes can reduce negative perceptions and increase positive, productive action. Together with Pakistan, Afghanistan has recognized that we face a joint threat of terrorism. We are coordinating our efforts to defeat this threat. We also look towards NATO and the US to support us in eliminating sanctuaries for terrorism in the region.

Beyond Pakistan, Afghanistan looks to bilaterally work with Iran, India, Central Asia, Russia and China on issues of security, border, trade and drugs. For the first time in a long time, many countries in our region understand the possibility in honest cooperation. The Uzbekistan energy supply and the Russian Federation’s facilitating of the NATO supply line are two important examples. In addition, trilateral processes with the US, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran are becoming important ways to forward talks for cooperation. Multilaterally, Afghanistan is committed to participation in ECO, SAARC and the contact group of SCO.

The focus on Afghanistan and renewed work through bilateral, trilateral and multilateral processes ultimately strengthen the frameworks in which they are conducted. And with stronger regional frameworks and organizations, we are better equipped to face the future. Afghanistan’s present challenges may very well be the catalyst to a stronger, more peaceful region for decades into the future.

Today there is refocused international attention on Afghanistan and a genuine momentum forward in the right direction. We must seize the moment to cement our progress in an improved political-military strategy. This strategy increases understanding of Afghan culture and of the enemy to prioritize security, strengthen governance, and emphasize the region. Success in Afghanistan will mean opportunities realized: a state rich in minerals, energy and agricultural potential; a state located strategically to serve as a land bridge between Europe, Central Asia, South Asia and China. Afghans hope to become active and productive players in global progress.

Thank you.