Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Press Release

On July 22nd, 2015, Save the Children, Center for American Progress and Saferworld organized a roundtable co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations on “Delivering the Post-2015 Development Agenda in Countries affected by Conflict, Insecurity and Conflict”. On this occasion, a report titled “Fragile Progress: The Record of the Millennium Development Goals in States Affected by Conflict, Fragility, and Crisis” was released by Save the Children and Center for American Progress. This roundtable discussion was very timely since it was convened during the final intergovernmental negotiations to adopt the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

Ms. Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children welcomed all speakers, introduced H.E Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, and requested him to make the opening remarks. Ambassador Tanin spoke about the process of implementing Millennium Development Goals in Afghanistan in the backdrop of successes and challenges the country is facing today. He reiterated the successes of the past fourteen years by putting forth figures on human development indices that have shown improvement across the board— “more women have access to pre-natal care, life expectancy has increased, child mortality and malnourishment rates are going down, education for both male and female students have gone up significantly, more people are food secure and have access to clean drinking water and sanitation.” He emphasized on the efforts undertaken by the Government of Afghanistan to achieve not only the post-2015 development goals and targets but counter security challenges from radical extremist groups like the Taliban and other foreign fighters to stabilize the country and maintain and improve on existing achievements. However despite the successes, Ambassador Tanin stressed about the challenges that persist, in the form of endemic poverty that continues to plague most Afghans, the highest rates of maternal mortality that leads to deaths of many Afghan women during childbirth despite the gains in healthcare, and struggles in enrolling and preventing drop outs, especially for girl students– which is further complicated by worsening security situation in some parts of the country. He also reiterated Afghanistan’s full support for goal 16 of SDGs which talks about promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and he called on the support of international partners for providing means of implementation for this goal, which is especially important in countries affected by conflict, like Afghanistan.

Following Ambassador Tanin’s speech, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Rwanda, H.E Mrs. Jeanne d’Arc Byaje and the Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria, H.E Ambassador Usman Sarki spoke about their countries efforts in adopting the post 2015 development agenda and the challenges faced in their respective countries. Ms. Zubeida Akhtar, Senior Advocacy Manager of Save the Children Afghanistan made her comments over skype where she mentioned the challenges faced by women and children in Afghanistan and how Save the Children has been working for the betterment of these vulnerable groups. Her speech was a somber reminder of the challenges faced by aid workers in countries affected by conflict, like Afghanistan. Also, the memorial arena in the roundtable, commemorating their memories of five aid workers from Save the Children who were killed in Uruzgon province in Afghanistan also served as a reminder of the monumental challenges presented by societies affected by conflict.  Civil society members like Mr. John Norris from Center for American Progress discussed the report on the “Record of the Millennium Development Goals in States Affected by Conflict, Fragility, and Crisis” and spoke about the role of data in evaluating performances of fragile societies. Additionally, Mr. Tony Pipa, Special Coordinator for Post-2015 Development Agenda, USA, and Mr. Hamish Young, Chief, Humanitarian Action and Transitions Section, Programme Division at UNICEF, made remarks on the report and their experiences in working on MDGs and countries affected by conflict. The meeting ended with all participants reiterating the importance of the post-2015 development agenda and the importance of full support from UN to support Member States by providing evidence-based inputs, analytical thinking and field experience.


Press Release

H.E Dr. Zahir Tanin was interviewed by renowned TV channel 1TV on Monday, July 13, 2015. The video was broadcasted and is now available on the website of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan as well as youtube. We would like to make two corrections to the answers given by H.E Dr. Zahir Tanin; the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan and the Afghanistan Consulate in New York purchased the current office premises for $5.4million in 2009. Secondly, regarding the other Afghan missions, it should be noted that the Embassy of Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi purchased their premises for $4million and not $40 million.


Press Release: The Security Council Meets to Discuss the Situation in Afghanistan


On 22 June 2015, the Security Council held a debate on the Situation in Afghanistan. Council Members and representatives of ten member states delivered statements at the debate. Mr. Nicolas Haysom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), opened the debate.


Delivering a statement on behalf of Afghanistan, H.E. Ambassador Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, condemned the recent attack on the Afghan parliament, which resulted in injury to civilians.  Council Members expressed their condolences for the victims of the attack. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families at this time, “ Ambassador Sisson, US Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, remarked during the debate.


Ambassador Tanin noted that Afghanistan’s enemies have opened a new offensive against the Afghan government. “This new wave of fighting is compounded by an unprecedented convergence of extremist and international terrorist networks on our soil, comprised of Taliban, thousands of foreign terrorist fighters and violent extremist groups like ISIS,” he said. Ambassador Tanin noted the bravery, strength and determination of Afghan forces in combatting these challenges. They have proved their capacity to protect the security and safety of the Afghan people, he explained.


Noting the government’s on-going efforts to further the peace process in Afghanistan, Ambassador Tanin described the efforts of the National Unity Government to engage representatives of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, civil society including women, and the Taliban, which have generated new momentum in the process. He also touched on the importance of regional cooperation to the success of the peace process. The government of Afghanistan has worked to open a new chapter in its relations with the government of Pakistan, he said. “In the last 14 years an undeclared state of war between our two countries impacted our national security and the security of the wider region. A new dialogue between our two brotherly nations will allow us to move past this history and work together for peace and stability.”


The national unity government has appointed all cabinet ministers, and all but one has been approved by the parliament. The principles of merit, transparency and accountability lie at the centre of all new appointments, Ambassador Tanin explained.  “A culture of accountability has emerged across the country as a result of our commitment to ensure the establishment of a clean, functioning and effective government.”


Following Ambassador Tanin’s statement, 26 representatives took the floor and reiterated their commitments to the government of Afghanistan in the long term. Member States welcomed Afghanistan’s progress over the last several months, and praised the government of Afghanistan’s efforts to enhance peace and security in the country and the wider region.