Tuesday, September 1, 2015

commemorative meeting of the fifteenth anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Women

Statement by HE Dr. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Chairman of Asian Group for the month of March

on behalf of Asian Group

to the commemorative meeting of the fifteenth anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Women

Mr. President,

First and foremost, on behalf of the Asian group, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to Chile. We wish the Chilean people a speedy recovery and we admire their strength during these tragic times.

Mr. President,

On behalf of Asian Group, it is an honor for me to address this historic gathering commemorating the fifteenth anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration.

In September 1995 we gathered in Beijing for the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on women. Today, fifteen years later, we come together again to commemorate the occasion, acknowledge progress made and challenges ahead, and pay tribute to the ideals embodied in the Beijing Platform of Action. In Beijing we unequivocally declared our shared determination to advance the goals of equality, development, and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of all humanity; we recognized the persistent inequalities between men and women and the repercussions they have on societies; and we acknowledged that the situation is exacerbated by the abject poverty that affects the lives of many of the worlds people, in particular woman and children. We concluded by dedicating ourselves to addressing these constraints and obstacles, and, perhaps more importantly, we recognized the urgency of this endeavor and the need for collective determination and cooperation for the tasks ahead.

In assessing our progress in implementing the commitments we made to the world’s women in Beijing, we realize much progress has been made, but considerable obstacles remain that hobble and dehumanize women throughout the world.

Women’s rights are progressive and evolving. Since the Beijing conference men and women throughout the world have become ever more aware of the inequities that women endure, and they have spoken up to demand change. It is that demand that has brought about the improving recognition of women’s rights in each country’s legal system and here at the United Nations.

Furthermore, the Beijing Conference cemented the notion that it is unacceptable to differentiate women’s rights from human rights. But still in many countries around the world women are not safe from the threats of domestic violence, continued discrimination, and wide-ranging socio-economic barriers. We must continue our efforts toward the implementation of Beijing Declaration.

But progress has been made through a concerted effort of the international community, national governments, and in part through the action of women and girls themselves. According to the World Bank, women in South Asia now live longer than men for the first time. This improvement in women’s longevity is an indicator of better treatment of women and girls and a valued outcome identified in the Beijing Platform for Action. In addition, high economic growth has led to significant reduction in gender gaps in the labor markets of Asian and Pacific nations.

In the political realm, Asia, where, according to the World Bank, women political leaders are more prevalent than anywhere else, has certainly made progress through the introduction of quota systems to increase women’s representation in political governance structures. For example, in Afghanistan where the misogynistic Taliban once ruled and women were deprived of their very basic human rights, now constitutional law stipulates that 27% of all seats in parliament must be filled by women.

Undoubtedly, because of our actions over the past three decades, women’s issues have gained prominence on the international and national development agendas. Attention has gone not only to the plight of poor and disenfranchised women in developing countries, but also to the unfinished gender agenda in more developed countries, such as addressing women’s representation in higher-paying jobs and management positions and reducing the prevalence of gender-based violence.

We gather here today to commemorate this special occasion, to celebrate a cause, to celebrate progress, but more importantly to realize that our job is not finished – to realize that there are remaining and arising new challenges. We have come a long way since the conference in Beijing; we shall be ruthlessly unyielding in our pursuit to ensure that our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, are treated with equality, respect, and dignity.

I thank you, Mr. President.

Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN at the Security Council Debate

on the Situation in Afghanistan

Mr. President,

I would like to first congratulate you for assuming the Presidency of this Council for the month of January, and thank you for convening this first debate of the New Year.

I would also like to thank you, Mr. Secretary-General, for your presence in the council and your remarks today, for your latest report on Afghanistan, and in particular for making Afghanistan one of your priorities and the personal attention you have dedicated to Afghanistan in the past months.  Further, especially in the face of the tragedy of 28 October 2009, I would like to thank the UN and all of its entities, including this august body, for the substantial and invaluable aid that has been extended to the Afghan people in the past decades.

In addition, as this is the last appearance of Mr. Eide in this Council in his capacity as SRSG, let me offer him here my own heartfelt thanks, and the sincere gratitude of the people and government of Afghanistan.  He has shown tremendous dedication to the cause of peace and stability in Afghanistan, and displayed ingenuity and persistence under extremely challenging circumstances. He has pushed for a stronger UNAMA and for practical steps towards real progress in Afghanistan.  Perhaps most importantly, he has consistently, and most recently during the elections, worked for closer cooperation and better understanding between all parties in and out of Afghanistan. We thank him.

Mr. President,

With the conclusion of the Presidential elections, an important but difficult milestone, Afghanistan has reached a new beginning defined by a five-year mandate to bring Afghans closer to taking control of their own futures.  In his inaugural address, President Karzai outlined his plan to fulfill this mandate. He committed himself and his administration to peace, to the physical and economic security of the Afghan people, to national participation and reconciliation, to good governance, and to the fight against corruption.

Most importantly, we all share the same ultimate goal: to prepare and empower Afghans to take charge of their own destinies. In the next five years, the central goal of the Afghan government will be preparing for the transition to full Afghan rule by strengthening Afghanistan’s sovereignty and national ownership. We aim to consolidate national authority and improve the government’s capacity and institutions. We call upon the international community to ensure that every action taken in Afghanistan is in support of these efforts.

Mr. President,

The formation of a new Afghan government is an important first step in this new beginning. After the Parliament’s rejection of some of the Ministerial nominees, the President is preparing to introduce new candidates, and he has ordered Parliament to finalize their confirmations before they recess for the winter. We are eager to avoid any delay in the formation of the government and any vacuum of management that could be counterproductive for Afghanistan at such a delicate time.

Next, the Afghan government and the international community must look together at the challenges facing us and forge a compact that clearly identifies our strategies and responsibilities.  On 28 January, a conference will be held in London, chaired jointly by President Karzai, Prime Minister Brown, and the Secretary-General. This conference will be followed closely by a second in Kabul. The London conference will prepare a roadmap for future efforts that will be transformed into a detailed action plan in Kabul, possibly in March. In London, focus will be directed towards security and the Afghanization of security and defense, social and economic development, good governance, and international and regional cooperation.  For each of these areas, we will need to clearly define the respective roles of the Afghan government and the international community.

Mr. President,

Afghans are ready to take responsibility for securing our people and defending ourselves against our enemies. In three years’ time, the Afghan National Security Forces will assume responsibility for security and defense in conflict areas in the South and East of Afghanistan.  In five years, with the necessary training, equipment and long-term resources from the international community, we will assume full responsibility for security and defense across the entire country. The international forces will be able to transition simultaneously to a role focused on training and enabling local forces.

However, there is a general consensus that peace and stability in Afghanistan cannot be reached through purely military means.  As a result, the government of Afghanistan has always been, and remains, committed to reconciliation and the integration of former combatants into all levels of Afghanistan’s civilian and security structures. Afghanistan’s government has opened its doors to all Afghans willing to participate in the stabilization and reconstruction of their country, in line with the Afghan Constitution and with respect for human rights.

But while reconciliation is an Afghan-led effort, it cannot be achieved by the Afghan government alone.  Mr. President, we ask this Council to conduct a review of the Consolidated List established under Resolution 1267 with a view to the possibility for elements of the Taliban willing to renounce violence and join the peace process to be removed from the sanctions list upon request by the Afghan Government.

Mr. President,

Afghans continue to face crippling poverty and widespread unemployment, and their trust is wearing thin. Social and economic development and good governance remain important priorities for Afghanistan. However, it cannot sustain these efforts without the continued assistance of its international partners.  The London conference will be an opportunity for the government of Afghanistan and its international friends to coordinate their development and capacity-building efforts so that Afghanistan may eventually mobilize its resources, generate income and jobs for its people, and begin to support its institutions.

Mr. President,

As the Secretary-General concluded in his report, reinforced efforts toward coordination of donor aid and civilian and military strategies are vital for our efforts in Afghanistan. Afghanistan supports the central coordinating role of UNAMA, as mandated by this Council. We should discuss further what shape any additional mechanisms might take and how they would relate to the relevant actors. Crucially, any focus on coordination must strengthen Afghan institutions and encourage Afghan national ownership, rather than promoting parallel governance structures.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan is fast approaching its Parliamentary elections, which will occur at the end of May as required by the Constitution.  We must ensure a credible process; in this, the lessons learned from last year’s elections will be important. We feel that any suggestion to postpone the elections ignores the Constitutional requirements and will damage the integrity of the process. Rule of law must be maintained, even as that law evolves to reflect lessons learned.

In conclusion, Mr. President,

A true partnership between Afghanistan and the international community is important for success in Afghanistan. This partnership will require realism – about timing, about resources, about abilities – and a clear understanding of our roles and responsibilities. Most importantly, this partnership should be based on supporting and encouraging strong Afghan national ownership, particularly as we seek to transfer security and defense responsibilities. Afghanization, and the promotion of Afghan capacity and leadership, must be the ultimate aim of all of our activities and the central consideration during discussions going forward.

I thank you, Mr. President.

Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) High-Level Conference

Statement by Mr. Enayet Madani, Counsellor,
Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) High-Level Conference
Mr. President,
It is a matter of great pleasure for me to speak on behalf of Dr. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations
in this important humanitarian High-level Conference in support of OCHA and CERF. My delegation believes that the Central Emergency Response Fund is playing a pivotal role in providing urgent humanitarian relief assistance to the most vulnerable people around the world. The CERF has proven to be an efficient component of the United Nations which allows calculated aid to reach the neediest populations when immediate action is required.

This year alone, CERF has played a critical role in supporting Afghanistan in demanding humanitarian situations. In response to drought and dramatically increased food prices, in March 2009, the amount of $ 1.5 million humanitarian relief assistance was provided to farmers through the support of initiatives by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Furthermore, the CERF provided $ 2.7 million humanitarian assistance to help Afghans survive the extreme winter through health and water-related relief efforts in February 2009.

Mr. President,
Afghanistan supports the Report of Secretary General on Central Emergency Response Fund and strongly convinced that the CERF has demonstrated as a valuable financing mechanism and remains a steady source of assistance when gaps in funds or unforeseen disaster occur.

We would like to commend the work CERF does under the wise and able leadership of Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mr. John Holmes. We hope that pledges made recognize the unprecedented importance of this fund in supporting impoverished and vulnerable communities around the world.

My Government would like to make a symbolic contribution of Afs 75,000 to the CERF as a token of appreciation for the dedicated work of OCHA in Afghanistan. I would encourage all those member states, especially those that have benefited directly to the CERF, to also “give such to the CERF, however symbolically as a strong statement of support.
Thank you.