The Permanent Missions of Afghanistan and Timor Leste along with the Center on International Cooperation (CIC) at New York University co-hosted a workshop on 24 October 2012 entitled “Building Stable Societies as part of the post-2015 Development Framework.” This productive meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan and H.E. Ms. Sofia Mesquita Borges, Permanent Representative of Timor Leste. Dr. Bruce Jones, Director and Senior Fellow of CIC, framed the conversation.
Ambassador Tanin opened the discussion, remarking that in order for the post-2015 framework to be universal and inclusive, it must consider the special circumstances of states in and coming out of conflict. He shared Afghanistan’s experience, highlighting the successes the country has made over the past twelve years as well as the challenges it still faces in advancing its development agenda, namely terrorism and risks posed by armed anti-government elements. “A sad fact remains,” he said, “that a school built in six months can be burned down in six minutes.”
Following Ambassador Tanin, Ambassador Borges commented on her country’s position, explaining, “Timor-Leste recognizes that peace and effective institutions are necessary to reach the goals of eradicating extreme poverty and bringing about sustainable development. These are not issues that are pertinent only to a group of countries affected by conflict or fragility.” In his remarks, Dr. Jones added, “The reality is that there’s no way of achieving the goals of ‘leave no one behind’ or getting to zero on absolute poverty without grappling with the fact that a plurality of the world’s poorest live in countries affected by conflict.”
Workshop discussions were enriched by insightful remarks from Mr. Eric Kashambuzi, Advisor on the Post-2015 Development Agenda from CIC and Ms. Karina Gerlach, a Member of the High Level Panel Secretariat. A number of participants shared their views. Issues discussed included the links between development and peace, the individual experiences of states, and potential political roadblocks in the post-2015 planning process. As the session came to a close, speakers welcomed the existence of a broad coalition of member states characterized by optimism for the ongoing process to consolidate the post-2015 development agenda.