Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan At the Third Committee debate on Agenda Item 106: International Drug Control 65th General Assembly

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since its inception in 1997, the UNODC has played an instrumental role in leading the global fight against illicit drugs and international crime. For our part, Afghanistan values the indispensible role of UNODC in supporting our efforts to eliminate the threat of narcotic drugs and other forms of organized crime. This support has been provided in various areas, including capacity building of relevant law-enforcement institutions for effective border-control management, drug-demand-reduction and provision of alternative livelihoods.

Mr. Chairman,

Addressing the threat of narcotic drugs on the security and well-being of our society is among the top priorities of the Afghan government. Given its global and transnational character, defeating this menace will be possible only through a concerted international and regional effort.  The problem of narcotics is part of a complicated and sophisticated criminal network, from which the people of Afghanistan continue to suffer immensely on a daily basis.

Cognizant of this threat, the Afghan government has taken a number of steps at the national, regional, and international levels for addressing this scourge.  We are pleased to state that our efforts have yielded important results. With support and assistance from our international partners, we have succeeded in reducing poppy cultivation by 48% this year. We are pleased to see this reflected in UNODC’s 2010 Afghanistan Opium Survey. Additionally, through a comprehensive set of measures, which include strengthened law-enforcement, agricultural development, interdiction, alternative livelihoods, demand-reduction and public awareness, we have maintained twenty poppy-free provinces and are committed to increasing that figure by next year.

Meanwhile, it has become evident that a successful fight against narcotic drugs requires a comprehensive strategy with more focus on addressing the trafficking and consumption dimension of the narcotics problem. More needs to be done by transit and consuming countries to prevent trafficking of chemical precursors, and reduce demand in foreign markets. In this regard, we call for increased measures by member-states to implement Security Council resolution 1817 on combating deliveries of chemical precursors for drug production in Afghanistan.

Mr. Chairman,

The production of illicit drugs is linked to the continuation of terrorist and extremist activity in Afghanistan and our region. The proceeds from narcotic drugs continue to be used as a main source of terrorist funding.  Like terrorism, the narcotics problem is a threat to stability in our region and beyond. Therefore, given the interdependent link between terrorism and narcotics, these twin challenges must be addressed in tandem with one another .

Aside from security implications, narcotic drugs pose a serious threat to the social fabric of Afghan society. Drug abuse in Afghanistan has increased substantially over the past years.  Those affected include both youth and adults.  As indicated in last year’s ‘Drug Use in Afghanistan Survey,’ “[e]asy access to cheap drugs and limited access to drug treatment, combined with three decades of war-related trauma have resulted in problem drug-use among almost one-million Afghans, roughly 8% of the population between 15-64 years old.” Moreover, according to the survey, more than 90% of drug users are in dire need of treatment.  Currently, 40 structured drug-treatment centers are operational in 21 provinces. In this regard, we underscore the need for sustained international assistance in expanding quantity and quality of “drug-treatment centers” throughout the country.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan attaches special importance to effective regional cooperation for addressing the many challenges facing our region. These include terrorism, extremism, narcotic drugs, and organized crime. In this regard, we continue collaboration with regional countries for a viable solution to these problems. We are working to expand cooperation in various fields, including strengthening of relevant law-enforcement agencies, greater intelligence sharing on terrorist threats, and drawing effective mechanisms to curtail trafficking of chemical precursors and narcotic drugs. We continue to hold bilateral, trilateral, and quadrilateral consultations, and maintain our efforts through other mechanisms and forums, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and South-Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
Moreover, in the context of more effective border management, we underscore the need to expedite the recruitment and training of Afghan security forces, including Afghan border and customs police to render a more effective role in preventing the infiltration into Afghan territory of all forms of illegal activity.

Mr. Chairman,

We are thankful to the international community, the UNODC in particular, for its continued support and commitment in addressing the challenges of security, narcotic drugs and organized crime, and achieving a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. Together we have come a long way, but much remains to be accomplished.  We look forward to our continued partnership to finish the vision we began nine and a half-years ago.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.

Check Against Delivery

H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin to serve as chair for the ongoing intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform

In his first appointment as President of the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly, His Excellency Joseph Deiss appointed H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, to serve as chair for the ongoing intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform.  Ambassador Tanin also currently serves as a Vice-President of the 65th session of the UNGA.

This is the third consecutive session in which Ambassador Tanin has chaired this process, which began officially during the 63rd session of the GA with the transition out of the Open-Ended Working Group and the launch of negotiations in February of 2009. Since then, Ambassador Tanin has overseen five rounds of negotiations and the preparation, for the first time, of a negotiation text which was met with universal and unanimous support from Member States.

As this process enters into its third year, Member States will seek to capitalize on the substantial achievements of the previous sessions in order to construct a transparent, inclusive, and comprehensive framework for reform, based on the positions and proposals of Member States, and in keeping with GA decisions 62/557, 63/565, and 64/568, in the search for an early solution that can garner the widest possible political acceptance.

Ambassador Tanin has accepted the appointment. He believes the process has reached a crucial and promising stage. “I feel that the Membership has both the momentum and the political will to find a solution,” he says, “but as always, this process must be owned and driven by the Member States themselves.”

Statement by Mr. Enayet Madani Counselor of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations During General Debate of Second Committee of the 65th General Assembly

Madame Chair,

As I take the floor for the first time, let me congratulate your Excellency on behalf of my delegation for your election as the Chair of the Second Committee. My delegation is confident that the important work of Second Committee under your wise and able leadership will be fruitful and successful during the General Assembly’s 65th Session. I take this opportunity to express our thanks to your predecessor for his excellent work. I also extend my congratulations to members of the Bureau for their election and assure you and the Bureau of our full cooperation.

I would like to express my support to the statement delivered by the delegation of Yemen on behalf of G-77 and China. As well I would like to affiliate myself with statements delivered by the delegations of Nepal and Pargway on behalf of LDCs and LLDCs.

Madam Chair,

Second Committee will deal with a large number of important issues, my delegation stress on the following issues to be addressed by the second committee:

Not longtime ago the world leaders in New York gathered to review the achievements and challenges of MDGs. At the time of the Millennium Declaration’s adoption in 2000, Afghanistan was cut off, isolated from the international community by the Taliban regime, which denied Afghan people even the most fundamental human rights and allowed terrorists to use Afghan soil to launch attacks around the world.  In 2001, with the overthrow of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan slowly began to rebuild its shattered political, economic and social structures, and regained its rightful place in the community of nations.  Our country undertook a series of policies aimed at a comprehensive reconstruction and stabilization of the political and economic situation both nationally and regionally. These policies centered on the urgent need to bring the Afghan people out of grinding poverty and provide them with the basic human rights, opportunities and services that had been denied them for decades.

In 2004, Afghanistan was able to join the rest of the international community in committing to a series of time-bound Development Goals. Because we were late in joining the MDGs, our targets were set to be achieved by 2020.  Therefore, we consider that those countries that are behind others in achieving their MDGs should be dully considered by the second committee.

Afghanistan, strongly believes that United Nation can play a very important role in helping developing countries and particularly LDCs including those countries emerging from conflict in achieving their MDGs.

My delegation, believes that the issues related to ongoing financial and economic crisis have enormous impact on development agenda of the developing and particularly the least developed countries, therefore, deserve to be addressed seriously.

My delegation, stress that the second committee to take into consideration some of the world’s most difficult and pressing development issues, including poverty eradication, fight against hunger, disease, environmental degradation, and the promotion of gender equality, education and health.

Afghanistan believes that poverty reduction can only be achieved through effective cooperation among all stakeholders. It also requires a resolute commitment on the part of both developed and developing countries for increased cooperation. In that regard, Afghanistan underscores the need for continued international support – in the form of financial and technical assistance – for developing countries.  The past years have seen a reduction in Official Development Assistance (ODA).  More needs to be done to prevent this trend.

By the same token, more needs to be done for ensuring effective utilization of official development assistance.  Donor countries should consider channeling greater portions of development assistance through the core national budgets of developing countries.  In short, national ownership of development priorities among developing countries is of paramount importance.

As more than 80% of population in my country depend on agriculture for their livelihood, thus we emphasis on matters related to agriculture development and food security to be addressed by the Second Committee.

Madam Chair,

Afghanistan has made enormous strides in the past decade, emerging from the ruins of war to build a more functioning government, a more prosperous economy, and a more healthy society. However, the complex issue of security remains as a big impediment for the government to implement its development policies, therefore we consider that the issue of security and its impact on development of post conflict countries to be given due consideration by the second committee.

I thank you.