Tuesday, December 23, 2014

UNFPA Draft Country Programme for Afghanistan, 2010-2013

Statement of H.E. Mr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
At the Executive Board Meeting of UNDP/UNFPA
On the UNFPA Draft Country Programme for Afghanistan, 2010-2013
1 June, 2009
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Mr. President,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address the board on the UNFPA Draft Country Programme for Afghanistan. I would like to thank Mrs. Horibe for her very comprehensive presentation of the country programme and the information she provided us ahead of this meeting, at the UNFPA briefing organized last week regarding Afghanistan Draft Country Programme.
Since 2002, the Government of Afghanistan and UNFPA have developed a strong partnership in the area of health, gender, and population and development. Today I would like to seize this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the Country Office of UNFPA for the effectiveness of its activities and the valuable support it has provided to the Afghan Ministry of Public Health.
Mr. President,
Afghanistan remains committed more than ever to achieving the MDGs through the implementation of its national priorities as identified in the Afghanistan National Development Strategy. Improving the lives of the next generations of Afghans is the most viable path towards the stabilization of Afghanistan.
Nevertheless, seven years after the beginning of the reconstruction efforts, the situation remains precarious and challenging. The recent human development indicators are an alarming call for intensified and coherent actions from our development partners.
Allow me to share some of the most dramatic indicators with you :

  • The life expectancy in Afghanistan is 42.9 years,
  • Under 5 mortality rate is 191 per 1000 births
  • Adult literacy is 28 %
  • Maternal mortality rate is down from 1,600 to 800 per 100,000 births, but still among the highest in the world.
  • And poverty has increased since 2001, with the level of people living under 1$ a day moving from 33 to 42%

Moreover, the deterioration of the security situation in certain parts of Afghanistan, especially in the south and south east, have impacted on the gains made in the past years in the area of health and gender and are impeding the successful achievement of MDGs in Afghanistan.
Mr. President,
The UNFPA Country Programme for Afghanistan contains comprehensive and focused programmes, priorities and adequate financial allocation for its operational activities. The key areas of action identified by the country programme are not only relevant to the challenges facing Afghanistan in achieving MDGs 3, 4 and 5 but are also in line with the national priorities identified in our National Development Strategy.
We would like to particularly express our appreciation for the adoption of a human rights-based, gender sensitive and culturally sensitive approach undertaken while formulating the programme. This we firmly believe will increase the success of implementing the programme at a sub-national level.
In this regard we would also like to stress the importance of the approach that UNFPA has taken to provide programming at a sub-national level while carrying out its development activities in Afghanistan, and we recognize the accuracy of the criteria developed by UNFPA while targeting provinces for their programmes.
Mr. President,
We would like to stress on the importance of the population and housing census project rescheduled from 2008. It is a very important tool to provide us with reliable data that would ultimately enable us to better monitor the progress towards the achievement of our development goals. The lack of data is an obstacle to the quality of policy, programming, budgeting and monitoring of projects. We therefore encourage UNFPA to continue to strengthen its cooperation with the Central Statistics office.
In addition, the high level of maternal mortality continues to pose a serious challenge to our country. Every 30 minutes a women dies in Afghanistan from pregnancy related complications. The lack of access to health facilities in the rural areas due to the resurgence of Taliban activities and the lack of female health personnel, especially midwives, remain the principle obstacles for the improvement of maternal health in Afghanistan. We would like to encourage UNFPA to continue its activities in strengthening strategies to reduce maternal and new-born mortality in close partnership with the Ministry of Public Health.
Mr. President,
We would like to finally stress the importance of coherence at the country level between all UN development agencies and other development partners operating in Afghanistan. The coordination and consolidation of international efforts would certainly contribute to improving the impact of aid in Afghanistan.
I thank you for your attention and look forward the support from the donor community for this Country Programme.

UNDP Draft Country Programme for Afghanistan 2010-2013

Statement of H.E. Mr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
On the Draft Country Programme document for Afghanistan, 2010-2013
At the occasion of the Executive Board meeting of UNDP/UNFPA
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Mr. President,

I would like to begin by congratulating you on your leadership throughout your presidency of the Executive Board of UNDP and of UNFPA. Since it is the first time I’m taking the floor, I would also like to seize this opportunity to congratulate Ms. Helen Clarke for her appointment as Administrator of the UNDP and for her inspiring statement on Tuesday, which has provided us with a clear vision of UNDP’s role in the coming years. I would finally like to thank Mr. Ajay Chhibber of UNDP for his insightful presentation of the UNDP Draft Country Programme for Afghanistan.

The Government of Afghanistan values highly its partnership with UNDP and is grateful to UNDP for the operational activities it has carried out in Afghanistan since 2002 in the areas of development, stabilization, state building, and governance.

One year ago, the international community renewed its political and financial support to the stabilization efforts in Afghanistan by welcoming the launching of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS). The consideration of UNDP‘s new country programme for Afghanistan will help one of our most important development partners to further assist us in improving the lives of Afghans by implementing our national priorities and working towards the achievement of Afghanistan’s MDGs.

Mr. President,

The UNDP Draft Country Programme for Afghanistan for the period 2010-2013 presented to the board this year is of utmost importance for Afghanistan. Since 2002, significant progress has been achieved in Afghanistan in our path to recover from 30 years of devastating conflict, but much remains to be done. We can state today, in view of the alarming human development indicators and challenges that we are still facing, that Afghanistan is at a crucial juncture of its post-2001 development history. We need to ensure successful progression from an emergency situation to sustainable development and not regress into violence. It is therefore time for intensified action.

Allow me to stress from the beginning that we need to set up an effective framework of partnership between the Government of Afghanistan and its international partners that can align policies and funding behind the stated priorities of ANDS. This will enhance institution building and national ownership as well as further capacity development. There is also an urgent need to coordinate programmes and projects with the Government in order to focus on priorities, eliminate duplication and redundancy, and rationalize development activities to maximize cost effectiveness.

Mr. President,

The new Draft Country Programme of UNDP for Afghanistan is the product of a series of consultations held in Kabul, between the Government of Afghanistan, the donor

community, UN agencies, civil society and other relevant development partners to ensure its alignment with our national development priorities as well as those contained in the UNDAF.

The four core programmatic areas identified in the Draft Country Programme accurately reflect key areas of challenge for Afghanistan. With the upcoming elections, a deteriorating security situation, and increasing levels of poverty, Afghanistan requires support on a broad spectrum of issues. However, the Draft Country Programme document needs greater detail about planned projects, priorities, and budgeting in order to provide us with the tools to accurately monitor the effectiveness of the operational activities and their alignment with the ANDS. Donor countries can work with the government of Afghanistan and UNDP on these details. In addition, in many of these areas, particularly in peace-building and governance, it is important that the international community work in a coherent, consolidated way to support the government of Afghanistan and avoid overlap.

Mr. President,

Rising insecurity requires the international community to focus on the security sector as a central pillar in our efforts to end terrorism. However, the Afghan people differentiate between security and stability. While the military efforts undertaken by Afghan forces, the US, NATO and our other allies are becoming instruments of security, they cannot deliver stability on their own. To be stable Afghanistan must be prosperous.

Our greatest challenge in this regard remains poverty, and the UNDP is our main partner in our path to achieve MDGs and poverty eradication. Afghanistan reiterates the central importance it gives to the core development mandate of the UNDP in supporting our national efforts to address poverty. Without advances in agriculture, a mainstay of our economy, it will be difficult to achieve the target set in MDG1. We therefore encourage UNDP to focus on its core development mandate, particularly through promoting livelihoods with a focus on agriculture, rural development, food security and income generation.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan must build capacity and, with the support of UNDP, articulate development priorities, and invest in the abilities of our people, institutions, and communities to advance human development and achieve results. In this regard, we welcome the Draft Country Programme’s emphasis on national ownership.

The effective implementation of the national priorities identified in ANDS will require a strengthened partnership between the Government of Afghanistan and its development partners and a coherent and integrated United Nations system response to national priorities and needs within the framework of the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness.

We have seen what happens when aid is not harmonized. Flows of money outside the budget are undermining our efforts at creation of credible institutions, sound public finances, and stability. The solution involves not just more aid-committed with more certainty over a multi-year period-but a better quality of aid. Better quality aid, however, can only be attained through a tighter compact between the Government and donors. Alignment with the National Development Strategy is therefore an essential principle for all donors that will serve to enhance aid effectiveness and accountability.

Mr. President,

Our aims are high. In the coming years, we believe that with enough of the right kind
of support, we can achieve the Millennium Development Goals. In one of the poorest and most damaged countries in the world, this challenge will test our combined will to the core, but we must succeed. The stakes have never been higher. Afghanistan can and must provide a much needed victory in the international wars against poverty and terror.

I thank you.

Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
to the United Nations
At the Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement
April 29, 2009
Havana, Cuba

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Mr. Chairman,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

My delegation would like to thank the Republic of Cuba for its leadership of Non-Aligned Movement since September 2006, and express our appreciation for their warm hospitality in this colorful city of Havana. We trust that under your leadership, this meeting will prove a success, and we will be well prepared for the upcoming Fifteen Summit in Egypt in July 2009.

Mr. Chairman,
The world has changed significantly since April 1955, when Afghanistan joined 24 of our brother countries in founding this Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Today, the Cold War has ended and there is a new global order: we no longer see through a bipolar prism, we see through a multi-polar one. And inter-state war has become overshadowed by terrorist attacks by state and non-state actors.

However, NAM’s founding principles are as relevant today as they have ever been. In 1983, at our movement’s seventh summit, we described ourselves as “history’s biggest peace movement.” Today the call of peace has great resonance against the violence of terrorism and the conflicts that still plague our world. Other founding principles of NAM – respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations and the recognition of the equality of nations- are important, too, in addressing today’s challenges of our evolving political and economic world order.
Thus our meeting today is important. Today our discussion centers on how NAM’s voice can be most effective in answering the many challenges we face.

Mr. Chairman,
My country offers a unique perspective to this discussion. As a land-locked, least-developed country that is still a victim of terrorism, Afghanistan is deeply concerned with the challenges we face with many of our Southern brothers.
We join with you in remaining committed to a just solution for the suffering of the people of Palestine, the creation of two states and a harmonious Middle East. Afghanistan once again urges the full implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions and the Road Map. We are hopeful for a diplomatic resolution of the nuclear program in our brother country of the Islamic Republic of Iran. My delegation also is encouraged by the increasing stability in Iraq and we congratulate our Iraqi brothers and sisters on coming together to forge a more stable and peaceful situation.

In addition, Afghanistan sees the necessity and potential of North-South collaboration, as well as cooperation between countries in the South, because we have an active and crucial partnership with the international community and with our regional neighbors.
Perhaps most importantly, Afghanistan can offer a unique perspective because our key challenges today are also the two key challenges that all NAM countries face, and which we should work to address.

Mr. Chairman,
The two main crises today are that of terrorism and an economic depression. These crises are related.
Terrorism is Afghanistan’s primary concern and the world’s primary challenge. Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and their allies find their sanctuaries in the area bordering our country. We feel first-hand the costs of terrorism: the death of thousands of our innocent citizens, the burnings and destruction of schools, health clinics, hospitals, and roads.
But terrorism has a global reach. From New York to London, from Mumbai to Madrid, and from Kabul to Karachi, terrorist attacks have cast their shadows on both the North and South.

The second main crisis is that of the global financial collapse which exacerbates the already severe crises of energy, environment and food that particularly threaten the developing countries of the South. Already poor countries threaten to become even more mired in poverty. Afghans have felt this firsthand, as the rising wheat prices created the threat of a deadly food shortage this past winter. Thus, this financial crisis deepens the great gulf that already exists between the wealth of rich countries and the poverty of struggling nations.
My country also offers a clear example of the political implications of this divide. Poverty breeds desperation. Thus, weak states breed terrorists, organized crime and dangerous extremist elements that threaten the safety and wealth of rich countries. Again, both the North and South are affected.

Mr. Chairman,
Afghanistan is on the front lines of these two key challenges, and today I would like to underline the importance of cooperation in our work for physical and economic security.

Afghans have seen how regional and international assistance is imperative to fighting our war on terror and providing stable economic futures for our citizens. Our greatest steps forward: the constitution, the elections, combating narcotics, improvements in the Afghan National Army, infrastructure, education and health, were ones we took together with international and regional partners. International cooperation has enabled Afghanistan to establish representative political institutions, encourage free media, the paving of roads, and the building of thousands of schools, clinics, and hospitals around the country. The upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections will prove an important test of this progress. We look for the support of the international community in our commitment to ensuring credible and transparent elections.
Because we have seen the fruits of cooperation with our own eyes, we stress that the global threats of terrorism and economic insecurity are challenges that can be met effectively only with cooperation: South with South, North with South, North with North.

Mr. Chairman,
Cooperation can best be 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 the recipient countries.

First, to improve the operations of existing international and regional operations, Afghanistan is fully committed to NAM’s stated goal of improving the United Nations’ responsiveness and effectiveness. In chairing the intergovernmental negotiations on UN Security Council reform on behalf of the President of the General Assembly, I have the honor to see the dedicated work our countries are making to forward comprehensive, transparent, and balanced reform. I am making every effort to ensure that the reform continues in this spirit, and am hopeful for the prospects of this reform, as well as the processes focused on the revitalization of the GA and on system-wide coherence.
Afghanistan also fully supports the UN Secretary General’s call for a Millennium Development Goal (MDG) review conference in 2010. We commend the work of the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development on the Implementation of the 2002 Monterrey Consensus last December, and look forward to the High-Level Meeting planned for June. This conference reminds us of the need to maintain aid commitments despite global uncertainty. Afghanistan also supports the conference’s agreement to strengthen ECOSOC as a principal body for promotion of international economic cooperation, coordination, policy review and policy dialogue.

Second, Afghanistan is dedicated to finding more opportunities for international and regional cooperation as well as supporting the existing cooperative institutions such as ECO and SAARC. With our immediate neighbors, Afghanistan continues to work bilaterally and trilaterally to promote stability, security and strengthen economic cooperation. We are committed to working through the trilateral mechanisms including Afghanistan-Pakistan-United States, Afghanistan-Pakistan-Turkey and Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran. We are also looking forward to the Presidential-level meeting of the trilateral Afghanistan-Pakistan-United States contact group that is planned for May in Washington. The third regional economic cooperation conference on Afghanistan will be held in Islamabad soon. We hope such forms of cooperation will lead to concrete actions to ending the terrorist sanctuaries and addressing the increasing activities of Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist groups.
Third, Afghanistan encourages the ongoing international efforts to find more areas of cooperation and coordination in the recipient countries themselves. With fewer economic resources, we must be smarter about how we use these resources. Afghanistan is thankful for the Paris conference last June, the recent Hague Conference, and the SCO meeting in Moscow in March-all conferences that have emphasized exactly this need for more consistent and effective delivery of aid.

Mr. Chairman,
The struggle for economic and political security in Afghanistan also shows the potential of a world that has met these challenges. A safe and secure Afghanistan will be able to offer innumerable benefits for the region and the world. Afghanistan can, and should, play a crucial role as a land bridge and economic hub for the region, a role that has historically placed us at the centre of Eurasian trade routes. Let this potential be one example of the light we work towards today.

Mr. Chairman,
Our discussion should recognize that NAM has an important voice in today’s world. Our founding principles of NAM are just as important today; these principles must stand strong against the main challenges of terrorism and economic instability.
But we stand strongest when we stand together. Afghanistan expresses its gratitude to the commitment of all our international partners, including the NAM member countries, to aiding in our efforts and success in building a secure, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan. In turn, Afghanistan is fully committed to work together as a part of NAM to forward a more peaceful, secure world.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.