9 May 2013
On 9 May, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted a working breakfast in which Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General and UNDP Resident Representative for Afghanistan, Mr. Mark Bowden, 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 and welcoming H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations.
Ambassador Tanin then also gave remarks which welcomed the release of the UNDP publication The Development Advocate and reaffirmed that the UN will have a considerable effect on the success of Afghanistan’s development efforts. He emphasized that development must involve efforts in all sectors of a country’s economy and society and that the way forward must be “planned with utmost awareness.” He further praised UNDP’s new Strategic Plan for 2014-2017, saying that it will facilitate the necessary shifts in security, politics, and the economy to help Afghanistan stand on its feet.
In his briefing, Mr. Bowden, like Ambassador Tanin, highlighted that the upcoming transition as an opportunity for positive change. Mr. Bowden noted that challenges still exist, including a lack of oversight for sub-national governments, a lack of support for justice and the rule of law, a dependence on aid, a demographic “youth bulge,” and rapid urbanization, UNDP and the international community are engaged in some key areas to address these issues. As a result, UNDP is largely targeting its work toward the development of local capacity, initiating micro-projects to improve economic performance and strengthening provincial governments to increase the implementation rate of UN programs. Further, delivering equitable access to justice and building a strong democratic system will be crucial to ensuring a stable future. He finally urged that we must sustain the gains already made, with particular regard to women’s rights.
Held at the Millennium Plaza Hotel in New York, the briefing was followed by a conversation between UNDP and a number of UNDP’s development partners on some key development issues in Afghanistan at this important juncture.