Statement delivered by, Mr. M. Wali Naeemi, Minister Counsellor,
before the Second Committee
On Agenda Item 56 :Group of Countries in special situation(a) Third United Nations Conference on the Least DevelopedÂ CountriesÂ ; and (b)Â ; Specific actions related to the special needs and problems of Land LockedÂ Developing Countries and Transit developing Countries and Donner Countries and International Financial and Development Institution and Transit transport cooperation
on behalf of H.E. Zahir Tanin
It’s a great honor to deliver the statement on behalf of the Afghanistan delegation to the United Nations on this very important agenda item 56Aand B, of the UGA64 , 2nd committee.
I would like to align my statement with the statements put forth by the distinguished representatives of Sudan on behalf of the G77 and China and Nepal on behalf of the Least Developed Countries.
The Afghanistan delegation thanks the Secretary General for his informative report presented under the agenda item 56(a) and 56(b). The report provides a good basis for our discussions under this important agenda item. The consideration of this agenda item provides an opportunity to review the circumstances of countries in special situations with particular focus on the LDCs, LLDCs and countries emerging from conflicts.
We also commend the Under Secretary General, Mr. Cheick Sidi Diarra, for his tired work in regards to least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island states.
The SG report on item 56A and B, clearly point to the gaps in the implementation of commandments made to address the development challenges face by the LDC and LLDCS. Unfortunate the new emerging crisis (financial crisis food crisis, emery crisis and other crisis) multiply the challenges of countries in special situations and undermine the implementation of the agendas.
The Brussels Programme of Action provides specific goals and targets in seven critically important areas: Fostering a people centered policy framework; good governance at the national and international levels; building human and institutional capacities; building productive capacities to make globalization work for LDCs; enhancing the role of trade in development; reducing vulnerabilities and protecting the environment; and, finally, mobilizing financial resources. Afghanistan believes that these are necessary components required to help LDCs navigate the path of sustained growth and stability.
Since 2001, the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, with partnership of the international community, has taken very important steps towards achieving the goals of the Programme.
Despite lack of security, shameless terrorist attacks on schools, teachers, government and public institutions, significant progress have been taking place in different areas in Afghanistan:
- Nearly 7 million children are back to school, of which roughly one-third are girls.
- Roughly 85% of Afghans have access to basic health services, and the rate of infant and maternal mortality has been reduced by 85,000 and 40,000 annually.
- In 2008, 343 community water points were constructed in the drought hit and conflict-affected parts of southernÂ Afghanistan.
-More than seven million people have access to communication facilities at the national level.
-The Government of AfghanistanÂ has taken numerous initiatives to prevent environmental degradation.
However, Afghanistan as a least developed, Land Locked and post conflict country, faces multiple challenges:
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Lack of security is the major challenge, particularly in the southern part of the country.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Only 23% of the entire population has access to safe drinking water
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Close to 900 children under the age of 5 die daily and more than 60 women dieÂ every day from pregnancy-related complications.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 600 schools are still being closed in the south and southwest provinces.
AfghanistanÂ remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with an estimated 22 million Afghans – representing 70% of the population – living in poverty.
Poverty and unemployment, both of which have contributed to the increase of the insecurity in the country, can jeopardize the gains made in the last 7 years.
Though we believe in the path that the Brussels Programme of Action has paved, we fear that it is being undermined by such phenomena as the global economic crisis and climate change, as well as by a lack of commitment and implementation by the international community. It is hoped that we can continue to address these issues as we move closer to the 4th UN Conference to be convened in Turkey in 2011. In this regard, my delegation extends gratitude to the generous offer to the government of Turkey. We are confident that the fourth United Nations conference on the least development countries will play a crucial role in restoring the momentum of development to the poorest people, will undertake a comprehensive review of the implementation of international support measures, and chalk out a road map for further actions to advance the development needs and concerns of LDCs.
We appreciate the recognition in the Secretary General’s report regarding the unique and difficult position that many landlocked developing countries are currently in. Yet, we also recognize that our geographic characteristics are not going to change, and we must make the best use of what we have. For instance, Afghanistan now has an exceptional opportunity to realize its potential as a “land bridge” country between Central Asia, South Asia, and the West Asian regions. We are aware of our responsibilities to work with our neighbors towards policies and institutional mechanisms to translate this potential into concrete regional projects. But, we would like to encourage others in the international community to work with us with similar pace and spirit.
While Afghanistan is amongst the LDCs and LLDCs, it also in a post conflict situation that lends too many additional problems. Being is such a situation, we urge the UN system, international organizations, and the international community to assist Afghanistan in the area of financial and technical support, capacity building, and development assistance and building infrastructure in order to achieve the goals of the Brussels Programme of Action, Almaty Programme of Action and the Millinium Development Goals within their time frame.
I thank you for your attention.