Sunday, October 4, 2015

Leaders’ Summit on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

Keynote Remarks By H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah The Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Leaders’ Summit on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment



September 27, 2015


Excellency, Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon

Excellency, President Chi,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


On this 20th anniversary of the Beijing Program of Action – a landmark event that galvanized a concerted international effort to advance women’s rights – we are grateful for the initiative to convene this year’s Global Leaders Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment,


Today’s Summit provides a unique opportunity to reflect on how far we have come since Beijing, and to identify unresolved challenges that women continue to face in various domains across the globe. But identifying those challenges is not enough. We need to seek solutions for those challenges, in addition to pathways to equality and parity.


Madame Chairperson,


I don’t have to remind everyone in this hall where my country stood 15 years ago in relation to the oppressive nature of the Taliban and other radical groups who ruled for several years over most of our territory before 2002. Afghan society in general, but women and children in particular, bore the brunt of the extremists’ non-traditional and un-Islamic practices for several years.


Today, we have a totally changed environment. Afghan women and children have come out of oblivion and, under a constitutional order that enshrines their basic human rights, have made steady strides in the political, social and economic spheres of their country.


Despite difficult security conditions in some regions caused by terrorist elements or illegal armed groups, we have reached a point where women have regained their historic role as a powerful force for change and progress in society. But we see it only as a beginning, as the march forward has some ways to go.


Today, Afghan women make up one-fourth of the government workforce, with increasing access to high level decision-making positions. We have four female ministers in the cabinet, two female governors, new female ambassadors, several deputy ministers and, very soon, we intend to introduce a female member to the Supreme Court.


Women comprise 27 percent of all legislators in our national assembly, and have an unprecedented rate of representation in provincial councils. As such, they are actively engaged in decisions of national and local importance – including those, which concern our national security, political inclusivity and economic development.


In the area of education, we have invested heavily to increase the number of girls enrolled in schools, and to improve the quality of education they receive. Girls make up forty-percent of the more-or-less seven million children enrolled in schools.


And in the security sector, women are serving courageously to defend our country against various security threats as air-force pilots, soldiers, officers and in the police.


On the political front, I and President Ghani know from personal experience as presidential candidates last year that millions of our sisters turned out in massive campaign rallies, and comprised more than 35% of all voters in two rounds of elections. It is encouraging to know that Afghan women will continue to be an integral part of our journey towards the consolidation of democracy in Afghanistan.


Having listed these accomplishments does not mean that we no longer have serious problems in this sector. Women in my country continue to suffer as a result of violence, including honor killings, lack of adequate access to the justice sector and abject poverty.


Madame Chairperson,


This year’s UNGA also coincides with the 15th Anniversary of the adoption of Resolution 1325 on “women, peace and security.” On this occasion we reiterate our long-standing commitment to strengthen the role of women in preventing and resolving disputes; and in peace-building and development activities.


Afghan women are now part of peace-building initiatives, including track II exchanges with the Taliban and as members of the High Peace Council.


In June, we presented our national action plan on 1325; and we are confident that it will go a long way in expediting progress to implement the landmark resolution.


Protecting the constitutional rights of all our citizens is a high priority for the Afghan National Unity Government. As a result, we are conducting comprehensive reforms in our security, legal and judicial institutions to effectively investigate all incidents of mistreatment and to assure justice. In short, we aim to fight impunity.


We are sparing no effort to the implement the Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law, and our National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA). The same is true for our commitments under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), on which our first national report was presented in 2013.


We thank the international community for its generous commitment to helping Afghan women and children. However, under current conditions, problems stemming from insecurity, poverty and injustice will need continued support from the international community. We are also hopeful that development aid and gender programming assistance will be aligned with our national priority programs.


We welcome the fact that the post-2015 development agenda contains a stand-alone goal on achieving gender equality, strengthening women’s role in society, and in ensuring that their rights are protected. Afghanistan will do its part to reach the goals set for 2030.


Madame Chairperson,


Once again, I thank the Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon and President Xi Jinping of the Peoples Republic of China for convening this important meeting, and reiterate Afghanistan’s firm commitment to further our progress in ensuring gender equality and the empowerment of women.


Thank You.



Keynote Remarks By H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah The Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan The High Level Trilateral Meeting of Afghanistan-US-China on Afghanistan’s Peaceful Development & Regional Cooperation

Check against Delivery


بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ


Secretary of State John Kerry,

Foreign Minister Wang Yi,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,


I extend my sincere appreciation to the United States Government and to the People’s Republic China for co-chairing alongside Afghanistan this essential meeting. I commend both leaders, Secretary Kerry and Minister Wang Yi, for their result-oriented diplomacy and constructive leadership in regards to issues surrounding Afghanistan and our neighborhood.


I am also thankful to all other friends and partners of Afghanistan represented here, as I look forward to hear your views on what is an optimal, yet realizable wish of the Afghan people: Peaceful development and regional cooperation.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Earlier this month in Kabul, we hosted a Senior Officials’ Meeting, to assess Afghan progress and remaining challenges aimed at promoting self-reliance since the London Conference in 2014, which was preceded by the RECCA-VI gathering of our regional partners to enhance Afghan and regional economic integration.


The Self-Reliance through Mutual Accountability Framework (SMAF), an expanded version of our agreement signed in Tokyo in 2012, guides our partnership with the international community over the next four years. This framework will help all sides deal more effectively with prioritized sectors such as security and stability, social and economic development, regional economic integration, political and institutional reform, good governance, rule of law, human rights and gender empowerment.


However, for peaceful reconstruction and regional cooperation to actually work and produce tangible results, we – in the region – need to experience an actual paradigm shift in how we resolve contentious issues, whether in the context of countering terror and radicalism or other lingering disputes.


I remember a time, prior to the tragedies of September 11, 2001, when Afghan warnings about terrorism trying to conquer my country and use it as a launching pad, fell on deaf ears. Today, after the loss of many more lives across the world, we are at a very different place, as we see the demise of some threats, but the emergence of newer forms of dangers aiming to undermine nation-state stability.


The lesson from Afghanistan is that we cannot allow radicals and terrorists to violently impose false brands that deny human rights, a legitimate order and popular aspirations, in the same manner that no state should tolerate or facilitate the use of terror in the pursuit of foreign and military policy objectives. If we fail to do so, nation-state will have a lot to lose.


Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,


Ours is a twin strategy aimed at reaching a real and durable peace with the armed opposition, and through development and economic activity, help unleash the untapped economic potential that exists in our region, enabling Afghanistan and the whole neighborhood to experience more prosperity and growth, and less violence and destruction.


To that end, with the generous help of the international community, we have built a resilient national security force that can now proudly claim to have withstood major attempts by spoilers at trying to destabilize Afghanistan and be a threat to others.


The National Unity Government of Afghanistan opened a new chapter in our relationship with our neighbors and allies to demonstrate our firm commitment to global and regional security cooperation. H.E. President Ghani and I took all necessary measures to ensure that our relationship with one country would not overshadow our relationship with others.


We took a concrete set of actions against anti-Pakistan insurgents posing a threat to both nations. However, in return, we do not see clear evidence thus far pointing to a decrease in the terrorist footprint threatening our people, nor do we yet see cross-border sanctuaries and support systems being seriously denied to those who want to jeopardize the stability of both our societies.


At some point – hopefully fast – we would need to reconsider our options as well as the opportunities before us, which brings us back to the paradigm shift that is required to assure peace and progress in the South and Central Asian region.


We see a very important role for several of our international friends, among them the U.S. and China, who can facilitate, encourage and verify the engagement of the main parties to stay focused, true to their words and accountable.


Meanwhile, we welcome the holding of the next Ministerial Meeting of the Heart of Asia in Islamabad by the end of this year, and look forward to the adoption of a roadmap with clear benchmarks for collective action against terrorism, radicalization and organized crime.


Our message today is clear. We will continue to lead a genuine and inclusive Afghan peace process, closely monitor developments on the ground, will expect to see the dismantlement of terrorist outfits wherever they may exist, seize upon trust-building and peace-building opportunities – small and large – and work toward a more comprehensive denouement. But we will also do everything in our capacity to protect our people and defend our national sovereignty and territorial integrity.


I thank you all for your support to Afghanistan, and hope that the co-chairs of this high-level meeting and other concerned stakeholders will continue to stand by our common objectives, and support our endeavors to guarantee regional stability and prosperity, which in turn, help in the solidification of security across oceans and continents.


Thank you!

United Nations Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda

Statement by H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan At the United Nations Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda

Statement by H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan At the United Nations Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda