Friday, October 31, 2014

United Nations Security Council Debate on Post-conflict Peacebuilding: Institution Building

Statement By H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

at the Security Council Debate on Post-conflict Peacebuilding: Institution Building

Mr. President,

Please allow me to begin by congratulating you and your delegation for assuming the presidency of the Council for the month of January. I thank you for convening today’s important meeting on post-conflict peacebuilding and institution building and I wish to express my appreciation for the informative concept paper which you provided on 4 January. Thank you also to the Secretary General for his remarks. I would like to thank His Excellency, Vice Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres, who spoke on behalf of G7+ of which Afghanistan is a member. The voices of conflict-affected and fragile states provided a unique and crucial perspective on peacebuilding and institution building. Thank you to His Excellency, Ambassador Peter Wittig for addressing the council on behalf of the Peacebuilding Commission.

Mr. President,

Institution building is one of the essential components of establishing a peaceful and sustainable future in any post-conflict situation. The necessary requirements for successful institution building in post-conflict settings include: recognizing unique contexts; steady resourcing; growth of human capital; national, regional, and international cooperation; and strategic patience through the transition period. In Afghanistan we have learned firsthand the importance of each of these requirements.

Mr. President,

In the ubiquitous debate on the current situation in Afghanistan, it is easy to overlook the thirty years of conflict that Afghanistan has overcome in order to reach a point at which, today, we can discuss institution building and post-conflict peacebuilding. Let us not underestimate the time it takes to surpass the challenges of history. An environment such as Afghanistan’s, which has faced complex conflict, power struggles, and ongoing violence for decades cannot be changed overnight. As we engage in each and every discussion about the training of the Afghan army and police, the timeline for military engagement, or international partnerships, we must keep this context in mind.

Mr. President,

In 2001, Afghanistan was considered to be the most failed state in the world. The fall of the Taliban left a weakly governed state with no professional police or army to quell the ongoing fighting around the country. In 2001 Afghanistan lacked state institutions and had a budget of merely $27 million. After having hundreds of thousands of military and nonmilitary government employees in the early 1990s, educated and skilled workers fled the country and its government was left with less than 2,000 employees with higher educations. Many government institutions were nonfunctional because basic staffing and resourcing needs were not met.

Mr. President,

Given the magnitude of destruction, stabilization efforts in Afghanistan have produced impressive results. Despite its uphill climb from the time of Taliban rule, Afghanistan has experienced political transformation and development over the last decade, achieved through the support of the international community. The political process for the continued growth of the country is in place. Nearly 7 million refugees have returned. Women’s roles in politics have steadily increased. Civil society has emerged triumphantly in a more unified and organized manner. There are many areas in the country where we are witnessing governance for the first time in decades. Progress in the area of infrastructure development including building and paving roads and increased access to water, education, and health care has been among the most rapid of any post-conflict nation in decades. Women and girls now have equal educational access.

Security institutions have developed, supporting the emergence of Afghan national ownership. The last year has shown that it is possible to increase the Afghan National Army substantially and simultaneously see its planning and combat abilities improve. Local administrations have increased their involvement in security efforts, particularly through the engagement of Afghan people, especially elders, in defense programs in villages.

Mr. President,

As a measure to end violence and achieve lasting peace, we in Afghanistan have prioritized reintegration and reconciliation. We continue to encourage members of the armed-opposition to put down their weapons, choose the path of peace, and join efforts for stabilization and rehabilitation in the country. Progress continues toward implementing the recommendations of our national consultative peace-jirga, which constitutes the core of our reconciliation efforts. Now that we have come halfway, it is the Taliban’s turn to fulfill its responsibility. If the Taliban wants to join the peace talks, it must end violence and terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, IEDs, kidnappings, targeted assassinations and sever ties with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Mr. President,

We must also anticipate the challenges we will face going forward. The biggest issue is the sustainability of peace, not just for Afghanistan, but for any post-conflict country. The functionality of institutions is necessary; a country must have the resources, the human capital, and capacity to stop the threat of insurgency or avoid relapsing into conflict. Capacity building is essential if state institutions are to operate effectively; empowering state institutions means enabling national government to provide services for its citizens.

Mr. President,

In any post-conflict setting, maintained international engagement in the institution building stages, beyond military involvement, is necessary for the endurance of peacebuilding efforts. In Afghanistan, an additional component of the stabilization process is effective regional cooperation. Progress is at risk of unraveling if these partnerships do not remain strong.

Democratization in post-conflict countries is a multidimensional challenge. We have learned from our experience that the democratization process requires sustained security as well as political, and development support. However, as it has been emphasized time and again “democracy grows from within and external actors can only support it.” The international community and key national stakeholders must work collaboratively, with integrative strategies, to provide effective support for democratization.

Mr. President,

In the coming years, national ownership and leadership with continued international partnerships will be key for Afghanistan. The adoption of the Kabul Process involves more Afghan responsibility for security, development and governance in the country. The significant increase in the amount of international funding channeled through the Afghan Government reflects renewed support for national ownership. The Afghan Government is committed to assuming full responsibility for security efforts with the support of the international community by the end of 2014. It is a gradual and condition-based process, which relies upon support to build Afghan security forces’ size, strength and operational capability.

Mr. President,

Building peace through developing institutions can help address the causes of conflict. However, it is necessary to end violence in order to create an environment in which institutions can flourish. Progress can be destroyed when conflict flares up. We must not forget the lessons we have learned in Afghanistan: A school or clinic built in six months can be destroyed in only six minutes by the Taliban or other extremists.

Furthermore, the importance of effective international partnership during post-conflict situations cannot be overestimated. In this regard, adequate resourcing and capacity building are preconditions for ensuring lasting peace.

Thank you.

Ambassador Zahir Tanin Re-Elected as Vice Chair of Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People


The United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People met on January 21st. The purpose of the meeting was to re-elect officers to the committee, draft its programme of work, and accredit civil society organizations.

The committee unanimously re-elected H.E. Abdou Salam Diallo, Permanent Representative of Senegal as Chair.  H.E. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan and H.E. Pedro Mosquera, Permanent Representative of Cuba were re-elected Vice Chairmen.  H.E. Saviour Borg, Permanent Representative of Malta as Rapporteur.  The newly re-elected Chair thanked colleagues for his re-election.  Secretary General Ban Ki Moon congratulated the new Committee and expressed his concern about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.

He discussed the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory and voiced his distress about the continued house demolitions and evictions of Palestinian families.  He called on Israel to freeze all settlement activities and expressed the need to end the current stalemate and return to meaningful negotiations.

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was established in 1975 in accordance with General Assembly resolution 3376.  It serves as the main body devoted to the question of Palestine.

Afghanistan has been Vice-Chair of the Committee since its establishment.  In his capacity as Vice-Chair of the Committee, H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, has taken part and chaired numerous international conferences and gatherings, aimed at promoting a constructive analysis and discussion of various aspects of the question of Palestine, and mobilizing international support for and assistance to the Palestinian People.

330th meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee for the Fourth United Nations Conference on the least Developed Countries

Statement by M Wali Naeemi Minister Counsellor,

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN,

at the Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee for the Fourth United Nations Conference on the least Developed Countries,

New York,


Excellency Ambassador Jarmo Viinanen,

Chairman of the Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee:

Excellency Ambassador Cheick Sidi Diarra,

High Representative and the Secretary General of the Conference:

Excellencies:

Distinguished Delegates:

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.

On behalf of my delegation, I warmly congratulate you, Ambassador Viinanen, on your unanimous election as Chair of the Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee for the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to be held in May this year in Istanbul, Turkey. I would also like to congratulate the other members of the Bureau on their election. I assure you, Mr. Chairman, that my delegation will be constructively engaged throughout the intergovernmental negotiations and will extend full cooperation in order to ensure the successful outcome of the Conference.

I thank the High Representative and his team in OHRLLS for their continued support and hard work on the preparation of the Conference.

I also would like to thank the government of Turkey for generously hosting the 4th UN Conference on LDCs.

Mr. Chairman,

The LDCs represent the poorest countries in the world, which face severe and numerous challenges. Since the adoption of the Brussels Program of Action in 2001, progress has certainly been made, but it is becoming increasing clear that some LDCs, including Afghanistan, will be unable to reach the MDGs within the projected time frame of 2015. According to the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS), Afghanistan, an LDC, LLDC, and a post-conflict nation, has reassessed its situation and given the current context has designated 2020 as its target year to reach the MDGs.

Mr. Chair,

The Brussels Program of Action was adopted in 2001, and draws a comprehensive strategy for the LDCs to achieve the MDGs by 2015. Key challenges and constraints persist; the seven goals of BPoA have not yet been achieved. Going forward, we should focus on analysis of the main elements of existing challenges and constraints.

We all know that LDC-IV, which is taking place a decade after Brussels, will be dedicated to development issues of 49 LDCs; it is among the most important events in the year 2011. LDCs, particularly those emerging from conflicts have high expectations with a result-oriented outcome for this conference. The Conference will benefit and derive its sustenance from the strong political commitment of the international community.

It is equally important to note that the Conference is being held at a time when the international community continues to struggle with the impacts of economic and financial, as well as food and fuel crises, and climate change.

It is well-documented that LDCs, particularly countries emerging from conflicts, continue to face structural constraints and extreme vulnerability. While some progress has been achieved in some areas over the years, progress has been slow and uneven and whatever has been achieved is now reversed as a result of the combined effects of all these crises.  LDCs also starkly lag behind in meeting the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration. Despite their best efforts and support from the international community, LDCs continue to get caught in the vicious trap of poverty and hunger.

LDC–IV needs to be seen in this wider perspective. We have stressed earlier and I will reiterate here today the LDC’s overall approach to the Conference:

Ø  Istanbul should produce an outcome that is ambitious, comprehensive, forward-looking and result-oriented so that desired socio-economic transformation is achieved in LDCs in the next decade, enabling them to graduate from the LDC status. The progress that they will make has to be sustainable and comprehensive to have a desired impact on reducing poverty and accelerating economic growth. Past experiences amply demonstrate that the ‘business-as-usual-approach’ will not yield substantial results. What is required is an enhanced, effective and consolidated package of international support measures in line with GA resolution 63/227. We want an Action Agenda that is implemented in its entirety with stronger results on the ground. The Istanbul outcome should have a robust mechanism for monitoring and follow up of the implementation of the next Programme of Action with a clearly defined and shared accountability of LDCs and their development partners.

Finally, as mentioned in by previous speakers, in view of limited time available from now until Istanbul, the preparatory process must be expeditiously and intensely conducted in a constructive manner with the involvement of all stakeholders.

Thank you!