On 13 September, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted a working luncheon in which Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General (DSRSG) and UNDP Resident Representative for Afghanistan, Mr. Michael Keating, gave an informative briefing. Mr. Ajay Chibbher, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Assistant Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific opened the event with introductory remarks, welcoming first H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations.
Ambassador Tanin expressed sincere appreciation for the work of DSRSG Keating and UNDP in Afghanistan. He emphasized the connection between development and security in his country. “Afghanistan’s ability to provide basic needs for its citizens, can build confidence among Afghans for their Government,” he said, “voiding the kind of desperation that can lead to alignment with anti-Government forces.” He described the importance of the international community’s continued support going forward, while noting the need for more coherent, coordinated aid. He thanked Mr. Keating for his efforts toward effective aid delivery, and encouraged further measures to this end.
In his briefing, DSRSG Keating highlighted that although there is often a big focus on any negative trends or events in Afghanistan, there are in fact a lot of “amazing” things happening. He noted the progress made by Afghan-driven initiatives toward development and governance, and underscored the importance of international support for those country-led processes. He expressed optimism about the pledges made by the international community at the Tokyo Conference in July and said honoring those pledges will be crucial. He also noted the need for the international community to continue assessments of its assistance in order to continue improvement and ensure the most effective practices. It is not a sign of disease, he said, but “a sign of health that we’re getting to the bottom of some of the problems.”
Held at the Millennium Plaza Hotel in New York, the briefing was followed by a conversation between representatives of Afghanistan, UNDP, and a number of UNDP’s development partners on some key development issues in Afghanistan at this important juncture.