Saturday, September 20, 2014

The United Nations adopts Country Program for Development in Afghanistan 2015-2019

On 3 September, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) adopted its 2015-2019 country program document for Afghanistan.  The document was approved by the Executive Board of the UNDP at a meeting at the United Nations.

H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, delivered a statement at the meeting.  “The new country programme lays the foundation for a fresh and reinvigorated partnership between Afghanistan and the UNDP,” he said.  He noted with appreciation the extensive consultations between the Government of Afghanistan and the UNDP country team in drafting the country programme, and highlighted the flexible nature of a document that the government of Afghanistan is able to revisit after the inauguration of the new government.

Ambassador Tanin noted that the new country program comes at a critical time in the country, when Afghanistan is undergoing a political transition and awaiting the results of a democratic election. “As we move into the Transformation Decade (which starts in 2015 and lasts until 2024),” he explained, “it is crucial that we learn from the past, that development assistance supports enhanced Afghan leadership and ownership, and that it enables the country to move from aid dependency to self-sufficiency.” He emphasized the importance of this approach to ending fragility, achieving greater Afghan sovereignty and coming to a more normalized relationship with the international community in the future.

 

Following Ambassador Tanin’s remarks, the Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific for UNDP, Mr. Nicholas Rossellini, took the floor.  Introducing the Afghanistan country program, Mr. Rossellini noted that “Afghanistan has undergone fundamental transitions in its political, security, and socio-economic spheres over the last decade.”  In the decade ahead, he said, the country would continue its journey to self-reliance.  He noted that as Afghanistan transitions towards the Transformation Decade, UNDP will also transition to meet emerging priorities and challenges in the country.

 

Palestinian Leader Briefs United Nations Committee on Rights of the Palestinian People

 

On 2 September 2014, Ms. Hanan Ashwari, Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, briefed the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people on current political developments and the situation on the ground in Palestine. H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, chaired the meeting in his capacity as Acting Chair of the Committee.

Opening the meeting, Ambassador Tanin briefed the Committee on recent developments, mentioning the Committee’s latest meetings and seminars, such as a statement delivered by the Committee Chairman at the Security Council debate on the Situation in the Middle East including the Palestinian Question. Ambassador Tanin then introduced Ms. Ashwari as a noted Palestinian legislator, activist and scholar with a long and wide-ranging career working for the rights of Palestinians.

Taking the floor, Ms. Ashrawi thanked the Committee for its courage, persistence, and energy particularly at this critical time in the Middle East. She described the situation in Palestine, noting that Palestinians are “still coming to grips” with the events of the last few months in Gaza.   Warning the Committee that “a two state solution is disappearing before our eyes,” Ms. Ashwari noted Palestine’s attempts to accede to United Nations Conventions and Agreements to become further entrenched within the international system in order to further engage, seek support, and prevent victimization. The Palestinian leadership, she said, believes a political course of action and joint effort towards meaningful negotiations are essential for long term peace.

Concluding her statement, Ms. Ashrawi expressed appreciation for all expressions of support from the international community, and called on member states to offer assistance for emergency relief and reconstruction in Gaza.

Following Ms. Ashrawi’s statement, the Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador Desra Percaya presented a report on the United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People (UNON). Ambassador Tanin then closed the meeting, noting other business and thanking participants for their attendance.

 

 

363rd Meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

363rd Meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations On the Draft Country Programme document for Afghanistan 2015-2019 at the second regular session of the Executive Board of the UNDP and UNFPA

Mr. Chairman,

I wish to begin by thanking Mr. Nicholas Rosellini for his introduction, and by commending the tireless efforts of the entire team at the UNDP’s Division for Afghanistan both in New York and in Kabul. I would also like to express my country’s appreciation of UNDP’s close consultation with the government of Afghanistan in drafting the country programme document, which will be presented later in the meeting for approval. In addition, I would like to thank the donor countries who fund the UNDP’s important work in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

The UNDP is presenting the draft country programme document for Afghanistan 2015-2019 at a very critical time: the country is undergoing a political transition and the Afghan people and the international community are eagerly awaiting the final result of a democratic election. The United Nations and the UNDP have played a prominent role throughout the electoral process, from providing capacity building and technical assistance to the Afghan Independent Electoral Commission and Independent Complaint Commission in the lead up to the elections, and in supporting the historic, unprecedented and full audit process after the second round of elections on 14 June.

Mr. President,

The new country programme lays the foundation for a fresh and reinvigorated partnership between Afghanistan and the UNDP. On this note, let me highlight the following points:

Firstly, we appreciate the fact that the draft country programme document for Afghanistan is a product of one year of extensive consultations between the Government of Afghanistan and the UNDP country team in Afghanistan. It has been aligned with Afghanistan’s National Priority Programmes (NPPs), which constitute the bedrock of Afghanistan’s strategy for economic growth, development, and self-reliance in the Transformation Decade.

Secondly, we appreciate the flexible nature of the document, specifically that it allows the government of Afghanistan to revisit the document after the inauguration of the new government. This is a clear indication of respect for the principle of Afghan ownership and leadership.
Thirdly, we also appreciate the fact that the country programme document has been adapted to the United Nations Development Framework (UNDAF) which enjoys the support of the Government of Afghanistan in principle.

Last but not least, this country programme document has also taken the recommendations of the Assessment of Development Results (ADR) 2013 – Afghanistan into account. This is evident in its focus on poverty eradication, environmental protection, and attention to local governments, the legislature, the judiciary and civil society.

As we move into the Transformation Decade (which starts in 2015 and last until 2024), it is crucial that we learn from the past, that development assistance supports enhanced Afghan leadership and ownership, and that it enables the country to move from aid dependency to self-sufficiency. This will be vital to end fragility, achieve greater Afghan sovereignty and a more normalized relationship with the international community in the future.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I would like to express my government’s deep appreciation for the UNDP’s long engagement in Afghanistan particularly through the last decade. Afghanistan is grateful for our joint stabilization, reconstruction and development efforts and UNDP’s provision of support and assistance in the field of security and the rule of law, civil service reform, transparency and accountability, local governance, political processes including support to the Elections Commission and the newly elected parliament, civil society empowerment, youth, gender equality, human rights, environment and rural energy, the reintegration of former combatants into society, as well as rural development and private sector development.

Mr. President, I wish to stress that Afghanistan highly values its partnership with the UNDP and wishes to continue to work together towards enhancing Afghan ownership and leadership through the efficient implementation of this country program.

Thank you, Mr. President.