Statement by H.E. Zahir Tanin Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations Roundtable Discussion
Delivering the Post-2015 Development Agenda in Countries affected by Conflict, Insecurity & Crisis
Ms. Miles, thank you for organizing this roundtable. I would like to thank Save the Children who has been a long partner in promoting children’s rights in Afghanistan and we are very grateful for their efforts. Also I would like to thank Save the Children, Center for American Progress and Saferworld for inviting the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations to co-host today’s roundtable discussion on Delivering the Post-2015 Development Agenda in Countries affected by Conflict, Insecurity and Crisis. I welcome all distinguished guests to this important discussion.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This discussion is very timely since it coincides with inter-governmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda; hopefully by the end of this month we will have a final document to be endorsed by the Post-2015 Summit in September. The post 2015 development strategies are very important for those countries that are lagging behind in implementations of the Millennium Development goals. This agenda should build on the progress made so far and complete the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). MDGs are time bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in multiple dimensions– hunger, disease, and lack of adequate shelter– while promoting gender equality, universal education, and environmental sustainability. At the time of signing of the Millennium Declaration in September 2000, Afghanistan was in the midst of a bloody war. It signed the Millennium Declaration in March 2004, thereby making it a late-entrant to global development efforts.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Afghanistan has faced conflict, foreign interventions, and threats from violent extremist and terrorist groups for decades; since 2001, the country has undergone tremendous changes. In the fourteen years that followed, the Government of Afghanistan, along with its international partners, including NGOs like the ones organizing this roundtable discussion, have made tremendous strides in post-war reconstruction, infrastructure development, and progress across development indicators like education, healthcare, and livelihood. Despite challenges faced from the continuing violent campaign by the Taliban, foreign fighters, and other extremist groups, who have increasingly carried out numerous attacks against the Afghan people as well as critical infrastructure and development projects, one that we witnessed today in northern Afghanistan that led to the killing and injuring of many Afghans, thereby creating an impediment to development and stability, the Government of Afghanistan has not only dealt with these security threats but strengthened the path for development goals to be implemented. Thus Afghanistan’s development process is intrinsically related to its security situation, and faced with numerous complexities our goal is not just to implement the MDGs but transform the country and create a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan, one where Afghans can live without the fear of death and destruction while having access to basic necessities like food, clean water, and education.
As a result of the tireless efforts of the Government of Afghanistan in cooperation with our international partners, human development indices across the board have shown improvement—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. However despite the successes, the challenges persist; endemic poverty continues to plague many in Afghanistan, the country still has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality despite the gains in healthcare, and enrolling and preventing drop outs, especially for girl students remains an issue– which is further complicated by worsening security situation in some parts of the country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
2015 is a crucial year for my country since Afghanistan is embarking on its transformation decade which would be vital for achieving not only the post-2015 development goals and targets but deal with security challenges to stabilize the country and maintain and improve on existing achievements. Once the post 2015 development goals and targets are adopted, Afghanistan will align its National Priority Programs and National Development Strategy to implement the post 2015 Development agenda. In addition to the Post-2015 Development agenda, the Government of Afghanistan has reaffirmed its commitment to development and build a better future for the country through the Self-Reliance strategy adopted at the London Conference in 2014 which reiterates the Government’s intentions to ensure peace, stability and security in the country; enhance productivity, growth and revenues; improve the welfare and well-being of the people by proving better opportunities, good governance and respect for human rights; and to deepen democracy by taking up electoral reforms, institutional restructuring, and organizing periodic elections.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Afghanistan is also a part of the ongoing collective effort of all nations in achieving sustainable development goals that can guide our efforts for lasting change, not only in Afghanistan but in other conflict affected countries. While reiterating our full support for goal 16 of SDGs which talks about promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, we call 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. Considering the progress made by the country despite the complexities and challenges, I would like to emphasize the violent destructive campaign of the enemies of Afghanistan will not deter the country from its difficult but determined journey to ensure security and development for its people, as well as protect the environment, vulnerable groups, and promote human rights and good governance.