Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Statement By H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations General Debate of the Second Committee 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Mr. Chairman,

Excellencies and colleagues,

Let me express my felicitations to you on your election as the Chairman of the Second Committee during the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I am confident that your proven leadership skills and rich academic background will lead the work of the Second Committee successfully. I also would like to extend congratulations to all newly elected members of the Bureau.  I take this opportunity to express our thanks to your predecessor, Her Excellency Ms. Enkhsetseg Ochir, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Mongolia for her excellent leadership during the sixty-fifth General Assembly of the UN.

I associate my support to the statement delivered by the Representative of Argentina to the United Nations on behalf of the G-77 and China. I would also like to affiliate myself with statements delivered by the delegations of Nepal on behalf of LDCs and Paraguay on behalf of LLDCs.

Mr. Chairman,

The second committee commences its deliberation at a critical juncture, as it is tasked with addressing a number of pressing global challenges such as: environmental degradation, the on-going financial crisis, food insecurity, hunger, and poverty in developing countries. The second committee must continue to work together to tackle these challenges, which seriously threaten the well-being of hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.

The Government of Afghanistan is of the firm belief that such challenges can only be eliminated through effective cooperation among all stakeholders. Overcoming our challenges 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 issues related to the on-going financial and economic crisis have an enormous impact on the development agendas of developing and particularly the least developed countries, and therefore, deserve to be addressed with serious attention.

Mr. Chairman,

Before 2001, Afghanistan was cut off and isolated from the international community by the brutal 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.  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 and threats of terrorism remain as major impediments for the Government to implement its development policies. Therefore, the Government of Afghanistan remains convinced that issues related to security and their impact on the development of post conflict countries should be given due consideration by the Second Committee.

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 emphasize that the situation of those countries that are behind in achieving our MDGs should be duly considered by the Second Committee.

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

Mr. Chairman,

As more than 80% of Afghans depend on agricultural production for their livelihoods, we stress that matters related to agricultural development and food security continue to be a significant focus for the work of the Second Committee.

The challenge of climate change affects all countries equally –  poor, rich, small or big – and therefore, requires genuine cooperation among all countries. In this regard, my delegation strongly supports the stand of the G 77 and China that the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the Kyoto Protocol should remain the central multilateral framework for cooperative action to address climate change issues.

Afghanistan also supports closer collaboration between developing countries and development partners as well as all other relevant actors to implement the Istanbul Programme of Action in order to ensure enhanced, predictable and targeted support to the least developed countries

In conclusion, my delegation is firmly convinced that your wisdom and effective leadership of our Committee will go a long way in helping us achieve important progress on the issues under our consideration. And I assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation!

I thank you.

Statement By H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the Third Committee Agenda Item 108: International Drug Control


Mr. Chairman,

Please allow me to congratulate you, and all members of the Bureau on your election. Let me assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation throughout the work of this committee.

I would also like to express my appreciation to the Secretary-General and the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for their comprehensive reports and the ongoing technical support provided by UNODC for our efforts to combat the threat of narcotics and narcotics-related crime in Afghanistan.

Mr. Chairman,

Years of conflict and violence, and the rule of the Taliban have severely damaged the basic physical and economic infrastructures of Afghanistan and have taken the country from a state of peaceful development into a cycle of conflict, fueled by international terrorism.

Among the many devastating effects of decades of war and insecurity, increased poppy cultivation carries the largest societal, political and economic consequences. These threaten to endanger our efforts to rebuild a stable and democratic Afghanistan with a legitimate economy.

Today, Afghans suffer from the dual menace of terrorism and drugs. The deep-rooted nexus between terrorism and the trafficking of illicit narcotic drugs poses a serious threat to stabilization efforts. Terrorist groups in our region are financed in part by the profits from illegal drug activity. At the same time this is the insecurity caused by terrorism that instigates the continuation of the illegal trafficking and cultivation of narcotics.

Mr. Chairman,

The ever-present threat posed by the international narcotics trade is a real challenge that we all face equally. For our part, Afghanistan is solemnly committed to continuing to combating production as well as reducing consumption and demand of illegal narcotics.

Afghan farmers have been coerced into using the country’s valuable land for the cultivation of poppy crops; however, they only receive a fraction of a percentage from the sale of their crops while 97% of the profits flow out beyond our borders and into the hands of transnational mafias. The illicit drug industry converts our precious agricultural land into a catalyst for fueling war and violence rather than the vital resource it should be for feeding our people, all while lining the pockets of traffickers and helping the global terror and crime networks.

Narcotics have also had a deep societal impact in many countries, draining our communities of economic and human resources through addiction. It is evident that illicit drugs have no value to a strong and sovereign Afghanistan and that it is in the best interest of the future of the country and the entire international community to do what is necessary to succeed in the counter narcotics’ fight.

We continue our call for cooperative regional and international efforts, including the establishment of the recently planned Afghanistan, Russia, Pakistan and Tajikistan Strategic Counter Narcotics Centre in Kabul, along with the opportunities, such as today, to discuss this issue constructively with the international community. We highlight, however, that greater collaboration is required to tackle this issue rather than continuing to point the fingers of blame at the Afghan farmer, overemphasizing the production aspect of the problem, and underestimating the main danger that stems from trafficking.

Mr. Chairman,

Despite prevailing, formidable challenges, Afghanistan continues to make progress in its fight against narcotics. With reinvigorated efforts throughout the last few years, we have succeeded in dramatically decreasing poppy cultivation. As a result the number of poppy-free provinces has increased from 6 to 20. According to the recent report of the Secretary-General on the Situation in Afghanistan, there was a 65% increase in the eradication of poppy fields in 2011, compared with 2010. Furthermore, in the first half of 2011, large quantities of chemical precursors, which had been smuggled into the country, were seized and the smugglers, including foreign nationals attempting to smuggle narcotics from Afghanistan were arrested.

These achievements have not come about without a cost. Hundreds of Afghan police officers have sacrificed their lives in the eradication of poppy fields. Compared with 2010, this year we have experienced a fourfold increase in security-related incidents during eradication operations. There is a strong link between insecurity and poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. The UNODC report acknowledges that almost 98% of production takes place in provinces that continue to see the highest levels of insecurity.

In addition to concerted international and regional efforts, sustainable progress in addressing the problem of narcotics in Afghanistan will require strengthening the Afghan security forces’ capacity and providing alternative livelihoods for Afghan farmers. We have already seen the relapse of some poppy-free provinces and our hard-won gains are at risk without the continued partnerships of the international community to address our shared responsibility to this trans-boundary, multifaceted issue.

Mr. Chairman,

Before I conclude, let me reiterate the commitment of the people and Government of Afghanistan in the fight against narcotics. We look forward to working with our regional and international partners to address this ongoing threat as quickly as possible.

I thank you.