Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ambassador Tanin Convenes First Information Consultations of the BMS5 as Chair-Designate

On 25 October 2013, Ambassador Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, convened the first informal consultations of the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States to consider the implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illict Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects (BMS5) in his capacity as Chair-Designate.  The meeting was intended as a forum for Member States to share their views on the substantive and organizational aspects of the BMS5, which will be held in June 2014.

The BMS5 will provide Member States with the opportunity to consider the national, regional and global implementation of the Program of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects (PoA), an instrument which calls for states to take action on the illegal trade of small arms and light weapons.

Ambassador Tanin opened the consultations by offering a warm welcome to Member States.  “I look forward to taking on this role,” he said, “and to working with all of you as we move forward.  Please be assured that I will work closely with Member States to ensure the success of BMS5.”  AmbassadorTanin also emphasized his commitment to an inclusive and fully transparent process from beginning to end, leading into the meeting next year.

In his statement, Ambassador Tanin expressed his intention to use the same working methods which were successfully used during previous PoA meetings, including an early circulation of a ‘zero-draft’ outcome document, and a move directly to thematic debate with no general debate or high level segment, as in the past.  He also put forward four very initial proposals for the agenda items during the BMS5, proposals based on agreements made at the last Review Conference in 2012.  These included stockpile management; marking, record-keeping, and tracing; international cooperation and assistance; and other issues.

Member States congratulated Ambassador Tanin on his nomination as Chair-Designate and offered their support to him throughout the process.  Further, Member States remarked on the proposed agenda, working methods, and other substantive issues of note leading up to the BMS5.

Closing the consultations, Ambassador Tanin reiterated his commitment to listen to Member States and expressed his desire to hear from each representative in the months to come.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan hosts Ambassadors and academic experts in a workshop on “Building Stable Societies as part of the post-2015 Development Framework”


The Permanent Missions of Afghanistan and Timor Leste along with the Center on International Cooperation (CIC) at New York University co-hosted a workshop on 24 October 2012 entitled “Building Stable Societies as part of the post-2015 Development Framework.” This productive meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan and H.E. Ms. Sofia Mesquita Borges, Permanent Representative of Timor Leste.  Dr. Bruce Jones, Director and Senior Fellow of CIC, framed the conversation.


Ambassador Tanin opened the discussion, remarking that in order for the post-2015 framework to be universal and inclusive, it must consider the special circumstances of states in and coming out of conflict.  He shared Afghanistan’s experience, highlighting the successes the country has made over the past twelve years as well as the challenges it still faces in advancing its development agenda, namely terrorism and risks posed by armed anti-government elements.  “A sad fact remains,” he said, “that a school built in six months can be burned down in six minutes.”


Following Ambassador Tanin, Ambassador Borges commented on her country’s position, explaining, “Timor-Leste recognizes that peace and effective institutions are necessary to reach the goals of eradicating extreme poverty and bringing about sustainable development.  These are not issues that are pertinent only to a group of countries affected by conflict or fragility.”  In his remarks, Dr. Jones added, “The reality is that there’s no way of achieving the goals of ‘leave no one behind’ or getting to zero on absolute poverty without grappling with the fact that a plurality of the world’s poorest live in countries affected by conflict.”


Workshop discussions were enriched by insightful remarks from Mr. Eric Kashambuzi, Advisor on the Post-2015 Development Agenda from CIC and Ms. Karina Gerlach, a Member of the High Level Panel Secretariat. A number of participants shared their views.  Issues discussed included the links between development and peace, the individual experiences of states, and potential political roadblocks in the post-2015 planning process.  As the session came to a close, speakers welcomed the existence of a broad coalition of member states characterized by optimism for the ongoing process to consolidate the post-2015 development agenda.

Press Release: Permanent Representative of Afghanistan Dr. Zahir Tanin is re-appointed as Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform

Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, Dr. Zahir Tanin, has been re-appointed as Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform.  This is the sixth consecutive session of the General Assembly for which Ambassador Tanin will assume this position, following his initial appointment as Chair in 2008. The appointment was announced by H.E. Dr. John Ashe, President of the 68th Session of the General Assembly, in a letter to all Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in New York.

The President of the General Assembly also appointed an advisory group comprised of the Permanent Representatives of Belgium, Brazil, Liechtenstein, Papua New Guinea, San Marino and Sierra Leone who have been tasked with producing a basis to further the Intergovernmental Negotiations.

The Intergovernmental Negotiations, which were launched in February 2009, have included eight rounds of discussions and other meetings chaired by Ambassador Tanin. Since their inception, the negotiations have produced notable achievements, including a move to text-based negotiations.  This established a foundation for more fruitful interactions aimed at reaching an outcome that could garner the widest possible political acceptance. Although Member States are not yet united in their approaches to reform the Council, the eighth round of negotiations showed real prospect for greater give and take within the process.

With his re-appointment, Ambassador Tanin hopes to generate a greater impetus towards the convergence of member state positions, in furtherance of the agreed goal to achieve early reform of the Security Council.

In addition to his chairmanship of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform, Ambassador Tanin will also serve as Chair-Designate to the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States to consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects (BMS5), scheduled for June 2014. This issue has far reaching consequences across the globe and is of great importance to many Member States. In his capacity as Chair-Designate, Ambassador Tanin will engage in active consultations with all Member States to ensure a successful outcome of BMS5, building on the progress made in recent years on the implementation of the Programme of Action.

Appointment to these important positions highlights the strengthened position of Afghanistan within the international community and re-enforces its role as an active and respected member of the United Nations.