produced by UNAMA
Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Permanent Representative of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Head of Delegation
at the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development
24th to 26th June 2009
I am honored to have the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in this timely and important discussion on the Global Economic and Financial Crisis. At the outset let me thank H.E. theÂ President, for his initiative in convening this meeting at a time when the global financial and economic crisis seriously threatens the livelihood and well being of millions of people all over the world. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his efforts in this regard. In order to prevent lasting damage, particularly to developing countries, we must maintain focus and resources on the development agenda, particularly for those countries in a special situation, we should improve and encourage both North-South and South-South partnerships, and we must improve the quality of aid and accountability.
The international community is facing the most severe financial and economic crisis of the past several decades. And it is those least responsible for it, the poorest among us, particularly women and children, who are hit the hardest.
The global financial crisis exacerbates other already severe problems: of energy, environment and food that particularly affect the developing countries of the South. Already poor countries are becoming even more mired in poverty.
The global financial crisis poses challenges for all countries, but post-conflict countries, least developed countries and land-locked least developed countries face particular challenges. Afghanistan as a post-conflict, least developed and land-lacked country has
been hit severely by this crisis and will find it difficult to implement its National Development Strategy and achieve its MDGs and other IADGs without intensified international support. Moreover the impact of the insecurity caused by the Taliban in parts of Afghanistan combined with several recent natural disasters has increased the need for additional resources for humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of displaced and vulnerable people. Afghanistan and other countries in a special situation need additional funds and resources for social protection, food security and human development.
We are at a critical juncture that requires rapid, decisive and coordinated action. To defuse this crisis, to address the causes of the crisis and to prevent similar crises in the future, we all have to work together to prevent the current tenuous situation from becoming a social and human disaster with implications for the lives of millions of impoverished people, the implementation of the MDGs, political stability and peace.
Afghanistan believes that the United Nations is in a position to play an important role in coordinating international co-operation towards solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character. We encourage our international colleagues to make sure that UN development agencies are fully resourced so that they can increase their technical and financial assistance to the governments of LDCs,Â LLDCs and other countries with special needs. The Government of Afghanistan also supports the Secretary General’s High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis in connection with international efforts on setting-up a Global Partnership on Agriculture and Food Security.
Afghanistan also sees the necessity and potential of North-South collaboration, in addition to cooperation between countries in the South. We have an active and crucial partnership with our regional neighbors, and also with the international community as a whole, and we can testify to the value in different sorts of partnerships. Cooperation can be best accomplished through improving the operations of international and regional institutions, supporting international and regional cooperation, and increasing the effectiveness of international and regional efforts in recipient countries.
We urge donor countries to execute their bilateral and multilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments. We urge them to meet their commitments made at the G 20 Summit in London and other international forums such as the Monterrey Consensus, the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, the Doha Declaration and others. We urge them to reduce allocation of ODA outside of the government system and channel more funds through the core budget and trust funds. We also call on developed countries and
donor agencies to adhere to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness in order to ensure national ownership in the development process.
Lack of donor coordination, incomplete reporting, lack of transparency and unpredictable aid are all challenges that need to be addressed in order to ensure the best use of our money. And particularly now, at a time of limited resources, it is important that donors prioritize the efficiency, accountability, and the principle of national ownership.
The Government of Afghanistan considers the substantive and comprehensive reform of the international economic and financial institutions to be a matter of urgency. This sort of crisis must not occur again.
Afghanistan joins all developing countries and reiterates their call for an early, successful and development-oriented conclusion of the Doha round of trade negotiations that places the needs of developing countries at its highest priority. Afghanistan also supports the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration to implement duty-free and quota-free access for LDCs.
Afghanistan trusts that the outcome of this important historic Conference will reduce the suffering of millions of vulnerable people all over the world and will protect the world from future crisis.
I thank you.
By KOFI ANNAN–
Eleven years ago when I opened the Rome conference that led to the founding of the International Criminal Court, I reminded the delegates that the eyes of the victims of past crimes and the potential victims of future ones were fixed firmly upon them. The delegates, many of whom were African, acted on that unique opportunity and created an institution to strengthen justice and the rule of law.
Now that important legacy rests once more in the hands of African leaders as they meet in Libya on Wednesday. The African Union summit meeting will be the first since the I.C.C. issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes for his alleged role in the atrocities in Darfur.
The African Union’s repeatedly stated commitment to battle impunity will be put to the test. On the agenda is an initiative by a few states to denounce and undermine the international court. In recent months, some African leaders have expressed the view that international justice as represented by the I.C.C. is an imposition, if not a plot, by the industrialized West.
In my view, this outcry against justice demeans the yearning for human dignity that resides in every African heart. It also represents a step backward in the battle against impunity.
Over the course of my 10 years as United Nations secretary general, the promise of justice and its potential as a deterrent came closer to reality. The atrocities committed in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia moved the Security Council to set up two ad hoc tribunals, building on the principles of post-World War II courts in Nuremberg and Tokyo.
These new tribunals showed that there is such a thing as effective international justice.
But these ad hoc tribunals were not enough. People the world over wanted to know that wherever and whenever the worst atrocities were committed – genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity – there would be a court to bring to justice anyone in a government hierarchy or military chain of command who was responsible. That principle would be applied without exception, whether to the lowliest soldier or the loftiest ruler.
Thus the International Criminal Court was formed. It now has 108 states, including 30 African countries, representing the largest regional bloc among the member states. Five of the court’s 18 judges are African. The I.C.C. reflects the demand of people everywhere for a court that can punish these serious crimes and deter others from committing them.
The African opponents of the international court argue that it is fixated on Africa because its four cases so far all concern alleged crimes against African victims.
One must begin by asking why African leaders shouldn’t celebrate this focus on African victims. Do these leaders really want to side with the alleged perpetrators of mass atrocities rather than their victims? Is the court’s failure to date to answer the calls of victims outside of Africa really a reason to leave the calls of African victims unheeded?
Moreover, in three of these cases, it was the government itself that called for I.C.C. intervention – the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Uganda. The fourth case, that of Darfur, was selected not by the international court but forwarded by the U.N. Security Council.
It’s also important to remember that the I.C.C., as a court of last resort, acts only when national justice systems are unwilling or unable to do so. There will be less need for it to protect African victims only when African governments themselves improve their record of bringing to justice those responsible for mass atrocities.
The I.C.C. represents hope for victims of atrocities and sends a message that no one is above the law. That hope and message will be undermined if the African Union condemns the court because it has charged an African head of state. The African Union should not abandon its promise to fight impunity. Unless indicted war criminals are held to account, regardless of their rank, others tempted to emulate them will not be deterred, and African people will suffer.
We have little hope of preventing the worst crimes known to mankind, or reassuring those who live in fear of their recurrence, if African leaders stop supporting justice for the most heinous crimes just because one of their own stands accused.
Kofi Annan served as secretary general of the United Nations from 1997-2006 and is now president of the Kofi Annan Foundation.
Source: The New York Times