Statement of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations
at the General Debate of the UNGA Second Committee
First, allow me to congratulate you sincerely on your election as Chairman of the Second Committee. My delegation looks forward to cooperating with you over the next months, and we look forward to a productive session.
Afghanistan aligns itself with the statement of Nepal on behalf of all LDCs. Also, we would like to express our solidarity with the G77 and China, as well as other post-conflict states, LDCs and LLDCs.
The Second Committee this year is faced with a number of pivotal issues whose resolutions are crucial to our common efforts in creating a stable, secure, and promising common future. The financial and economic crisis, food insecurity, the eradication of poverty in developing countries, climate change, and sustainable development all represent extremely difficult challenges. It is essential that the United Nations, and we nations united under its banner, work together to address them urgently.
Recent international accords and conferences have demonstrated a broad global desire for progress. The United Nations International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries, as well as the 3rd UN Conference on Least Developed Countries have shown crucial initiative. The Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda on Aid Effectiveness, as well as the Hong Kong Ministerial declaration, all prioritize the needs and difficult situation of LDCs in our current environment. Afghanistan is committed to all of these initiatives, and hopes to add the resolution of the Doha Round to this list of crucial programs.
Like other nations in its situation, Afghanistan’s development capabilities have been particularly threatened by the financial crisis. Official Development and foreign aid to Afghanistan and other LDCs and special-needs countries must be effective, consistent, and predictable in order to meet the demands of development. Nations deserve the chance to lift themselves out of poverty, eradicate corruption, and become truly self-sufficient; but this cannot happen without proper use and channeling of aid, and without encouraging national ownership. Accountability, transparency, donor coordination, and fulfillment of promises must all be comprehensively addressed as soon as possible to ensure that limited resources are being effectively utilized. Otherwise, without intensified aid, Afghanistan will find it very difficult to implement its National Development Strategy, as well as the Millennium Development Goals and the IADGs.
As with other poor countries, a sustainable, self-sufficient future for Afghanistan will depend on agricultural development and food security. Least developed nations cannot afford to suffer from the consequences of a Financial Crisis that we had no hand in; more well-coordinated development programs and increased agricultural aid now are the only way to free Afghanistan of the need for them in the future.
Afghanistan’s situation reflects the desperate need for the eradication of poverty in developing countries. The global system will never be able to establish a balance of less dependence and more cooperative work if developing countries continue to be burdened by the impossibly heavy load of poverty combined with the strain of their own need for development. Afghanistan hopes that this 2nd UN Decade for Eradication of Poverty will be the last.
Climate Change is a unique issue without extensive precedence in the United Nations. It affects, and will unequivocally affect, all countries – no matter their size or wealth. All should recognize the dire need for a successful Copenhagen Conference, and support the G77 and China’s UNFCCC as well as the Kyoto and Montreal Protocols, as these remain central to the framework for cooperative action to address climate change. Afghanistan assures all member states of its complete cooperation towards a solution for a secure future.
Afghanistan is facing a number of very difficult challenges, most of which center around its situation as a post-conflict country. Sustainable development is often sidelined in post-conflict situations because of the more immediate needs of these states. After all, large-scale sustainability projects require much time and resources, and so short-term projects often seem more feasible, especially during a period where financial issues are creating donor reluctance. However, both the short- and long-term are necessary. We cannot delay development indefinitely while waiting for security, or rely on superficial quick-fixes. The ingredients of the long-term solution will include sustainable development, job creation, and poverty reduction, along with the spread of science and technology. In places like Afghanistan, efforts towards sustainable development may be the only way to establish enduring security and to reduce dependence on foreign aid.
Regional cooperation represents another necessary element needed to construct a solution to the situation in Afghanistan and other post-conflict states. South-South as well as North-South Cooperation are essential for development. Afghanistan hopes that its stability and prosperity, and that of the region, will benefit from cooperation through the reinvigorated use of Afghanistan as a land bridge within the larger region; through the expansion of regional energy, trade, and transit markets; and through a coordinated effort to eliminate the narcotics trade. To this end, Afghanistan is an active member of ECO, SAARC, and are in the contact group of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. It is only through this cooperation that international – and especially regional – sustainable growth, trade, transit, and development can be supported.
The work of the second committee this year will address essential global issues that bear not just on development, but on the environment, peace and stability. We are hopeful that he work of and cooperation within the Second Committee this year would be productive.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.