Thursday, November 26, 2015

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Mahmoud Saikal Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the General Debate of the Second Committee of the 70th Session of the General Assembly

Mr. Chairman,


At the outset, let me congratulate you on your assumption of Chairmanship of the second committee of the 70th session of the UNGA and your bureau members for their well-deserved elections. I am certain that under your able leadership and guidance, the second committee will have productive and fruitful discussions for the forthcoming weeks. I would like to assure you of my delegations’ full support and cooperation throughout the deliberations of issues concerned to this committee.

I also wish to commend your predecessor and his bureau for their tireless efforts and successful leadership of the Second Committee during the last session.

My delegation associates itself with the statements made yesterday by South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77, China and Bangladesh, on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, and Zambia, on behalf of the Group of Landlocked developing countries.


Mr. Chairman,

2015 is a unique year as three landmark conferences- namely, the third UN  world conference on disaster risk reduction in Sendai Japan, the third international conference on financing for development in Addis Ababa, and the UN summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda were held successfully. And last but not least, the COP21 on climate change is going to be held in Paris in December. Tremendous efforts and high ambitions were vested in these conferences.  The collective will and unwavering determination of developing countries and developed partners, supported by engagement and contributions of all stakeholders, resulted in remarkable outcomes. The common goal for all these efforts is to eradicate poverty and hunger in all their forms, save our planet and to build the future we want.


Mr. Chairman,

Last week our leaders in a historic summit unanimously adopted the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. This agenda addresses in a balanced manner the three dimensions of the sustainable development: namely economical, social, and environmental pillars which are among the core issues of the second committee agenda. Hence, it is befitting to align our deliberations on the implementation of the 2030 agenda by taking into account the guidance and commitments made by our heads of states and governments during the last week’s summit. In this regard the role of the UN system, particularly General Assembly, ECOSOC and High Level Political Forum are crucial and conducive in the follow up and realization of 2030 agenda.

Mr. Chairman,

I am happy that the 2030 development agenda has recognized the special needs and challenges of the countries in special situations particularly LDCs, LLDCs , SIDS as well as countries affected by conflict. In this connection, the Istanbul Program of Action (IPoA) and the Vienna Program of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries are highly important to comprehensively and practically address the special needs and challenges of the LDCs and LLDCs in the context of the 2030 development agenda.

Mr. Chairman,

As a member of LDCs, LLDCs, and as a conflict affected country, I would like to highlight the following points:


–        As a prime victim of international terrorism and the conflict resulting from it, my country is combating terrorism on a daily basis on behalf of the international community and paying a very high price in terms of blood and resources to ensure peace and stability in the country, the region and the world at large. There is no doubt that peace and security are fundamental for achieving sustainable development and economic growth. In this regard, we highly value goal 16 of the SDGs which addresses building peaceful and inclusive societies.

–        Financing for development is a crucial factor in the implementation of the 2030 development agenda. In this regard, the realization of the commitments made in the Addis Ababa action agenda is of high importance to us. As a country highly dependent on aid, we also recognize the great importance of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to support our efforts for reaching sustainable development goals and economic growth.

–        South-South cooperation as complementary to North-South cooperation is an essential factor for developing countries in their endeavor for attaining sustainable development. Moreover, we cannot stress enough the added value of regional cooperation.

–        We recognize that technology is a key means of implementation of the SDGs and the 2030 agenda.

–        The follow up and review mechanism constitutes a crucial part of the implementation of the 2030 agenda. This cannot be achieved without accurate data. In this regard, we are looking forward to the outcome of the work of the UN Statistical Commission on developing global indicators in March 2016.

–        We cannot ignore our vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters. In this regard we hope that the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris will result in a comprehensive and legally binding agreement.

–        Last but not least the revitalized global partnership is a must for the successful implementation of the 2030 development agenda.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan’s Transformation Decade starting in 2015 and finishing in 2024, captures a big part of the 2030 agenda and coincides with its commencement. Based on our 2005-2015 MDG report we have had a mix of achievements and setbacks. In the past 14 years, some of our gains have suffered from a lack of consolidation, continuity and sustainability. While poverty rate has remained constant for several years we have made considerable progress in primary education, gender equality and women empowerment; child and maternal mortality rates have been reduced.

Afghanistan will remain committed to developing strategies and policies to integrate our national development agenda with the 2030 development agenda.  Although Afghanistan began to pursue its MDGs almost half a decade later than other Member States, extending our deadline to 2020, Afghanistan is still committed to achieving the unfinished MDGs.

In conclusion, I would like to reassure you of my delegation’s constructive and efficient engagement throughout the discussions in this session.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.

Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

17 September 2015


Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to offer my sincere congratulations on your leadership of the Council for this month. I thank the Secretary-General for his recent report on the Situation in Afghanistan and my good friend Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNAMA, Mr. Nicholas Haysom for his comprehensive briefing. I also thank Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Director General of UNODC for his briefing and his presence today. I am very grateful for the role Spain is playing as the penholder on Afghanistan and for its capable work in the Security Council. This is my last statement at the Security Council on the situation on Afghanistan as I am leaving at the end of this month to assume my new responsibilities. As I stand in the midst of friends and colleagues in this noble council, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation, especially to those I had the pleasure of working closely with in the past few years. Thank you for your friendship and cooperation.

Mr. President,

In recent months, Afghanistan has witnessed a challenging security situation in terms of increasing violence and heinous attacks by the Taliban and other terrorist and violent extremist groups. While the enemies of Afghanistan failed to achieve the aim of gaining control of territories and breaking the will of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), they have continued their brutal campaign of violence and coercion trying to destabilize the country and terrorize Afghan people. We saw these heinous attempts in a number of highly sophisticated recent terrorist attacks, like the one on August 7 that led to hundreds of causalities, including women and children. In the face of increasing violence and instability, ANDSF, who assumed full responsibility of security after the departure of thousands of international forces, through their sacrifices, patriotism, resilience, and commitment, have demonstrated time and again that they are ready to face the challenges posed by the Taliban, and other terrorist and violent extremist groups. The ANDSF is at the forefront of defense of the country and security of the Afghan people; they present a bulwark against letting Afghanistan slip into the chaos and destruction of the viscous civil war as happened in 1990s.

Mr. President,

The National Unity Government is committed to make every effort to move Afghanistan on a path of stability, peace, and security. The Government has reached out with the message of peace and reconciliation not only to the Afghan Taliban, those who are willing to stop fighting and join the peace process, but also to neighboring countries. One of the first steps taken by President Ghani was to embark on a process of ending the undeclared state of war between Afghanistan and Pakistan and start a new era of peace and cooperation. This process has been largely supported by the Afghan people and the first rounds of peace talks with the Taliban led to a surge of optimism about the prospects of peace and end of violence. The Government of Afghanistan believes that despite some of the apparent setbacks in the process of peace talks, following the declaration of the death of the Taliban leader Mullah Omar, and the benighted leadership changes in its ranks, we are hopeful that the prospect of political settlement will not be withered but it requires responsible attitude by all sides, mutual determination, and real commitment.

Mr. President,

The regional cooperation agenda is not just limited to peace and security but to economy, development, and prosperity as well, since the future of the region can only be fostered and strengthened through connectivity and greater cooperation. We all know that the stability of Afghanistan at the heart of Asia is essential for the stability of the wider region. Integrating Afghanistan as the center of economic hub focused on transit, transportation, and trade for the next two decades remain imperative to achieve economic self-sufficiency and shared economic prosperity. Afghanistan’s vision for advancing regional economic goals, whether through its role as the Asian roundabout between the energy suppliers in Central Asia and the energy consumers in South Asia, or through the growing number of cross-border agreements to share services in health, rural development, and training is bound up with its economic agenda for the transformation decade. The 6th RECCA conference earlier this month in Kabul also elaborated further on ways to develop and consolidate partnerships towards promoting regional economic cooperation in Afghanistan and across the region. We are looking forward to the next Ministerial level meeting of Heart of Asia- Istanbul Process in Islamabad as another important step of strengthening confidence building and partnership in the region.

Mr. President,

As we approach the first anniversary of the establishment of the national Unity government, there is a greater attention to ensure effective implementation of vital reforms to strengthen the economic growth, improve governance, eradicate corruption, bring electoral reforms, and protect human rights, particularly rights of women. The promotion of good governance is a cornerstone for the Government’s reform agenda. One of the central pillars for the reform agenda is to effectively tackle the scourge of corruption. The institutions created by the Government, like the National Procurement Commission, comprehensive reorganization and review of the Supreme Court and other measures dealing with institutions and individuals involved in corruption are essential for transformation of the anti-corruption efforts into practical, measurable outputs.

The efforts of the National Unity Government against corruption also includes a series of important measures in dealing with the illicit drug trade with its overall implications on economy, polity, society, and rule of law in all parts of the country. The Government is focused not only on curbing this illicit trade but tackling all financial channels that is providing the basis for criminal networks to be linked at all levels in the region and globally. In order to achieve this goal, the Government has formed an inter-ministerial commission to clamp down on narcotics trade and the moral as well as financial corruption that goes with it.

To further the reform process, the national unity government has taken important steps to revise the election law and presented its reform proposal to the Government. Recommendations from the Commission include the allotting of one-third of Parliament’s 250 seats to political parties; the restructuring of the current election commission; the creation of a clear voter identification system ahead of future polling; and moving to an electoral system that divides provinces into smaller voting districts that can be easily quarantined in case of fraud. Proper implementation of this reform process would bring about necessary changes in ensuring free and fair elections in the future. In order to reflect on these reforms, the election law has been revised earlier this week by a Presidential decree and the calendar of the parliamentary and district council election will also be announced in the near future.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan’s partnership with the international community has been paramount for the achievements of Afghanistan in last 14 years and is essential for the realization of the lasting goal of peace, stability, and prosperity for years to come. The engagement of the international community and the UN, be it in the form of aid, expertise, manpower, or sacrifices of soldiers and civilian workers, the progress seen in Afghanistan would not be possible today. Afghan people and the Government are grateful and recognize the contributions of the international community as a whole and particularly all Afghan partners.

Role of the UN has been pivotal in Afghanistan in last 14 years not only to coordinate international civilian activities for bringing peace and security but to support Government in all areas of political stability, good governance, institution building, human rights, and coordination of humanitarian needs. The Tripartite review commission and the Government of Afghanistan have embarked on full reexamination of the role, structure, and activities of all UN entities in Afghanistan and I am happy to state that Nicholas Haysom, SRSG for UNAMA, along with his colleagues played an important role in moving this process forward. The commission examined the UN engagement in the country focusing the areas where the UN brings most value and ensuring the UN serves to maximize the support of the international community for Afghanistan and its people. The discussion focused on 3 themes: UN principle of engagement, Government commitment and obligations, and future UN presence in Afghanistan. The Government is certain that the outcome of these efforts will provide the country, the security council, and the UN a framework for effective engagement of all UN activities in Afghanistan, including role of UNAMA and all UN agencies, funds, and programs in Afghanistan.The framework for review will allow the beginning of a new relationship between Afghanistan and the UN in the coming years.

The success of transformation decade is strongly based on the constant engagement and support from our international partners, not only today but in the future. To further this goal, the agreement reached during the Senior Official Meeting earlier this month on a refreshed mutual accountability framework is a significant milestone in Afghanistan’s relationships with the international community. Afghanistan looks forward to the future conferences on Afghanistan in Brussels and Warsaw.

Mr. President,

Though much has been gained in Afghanistan, much remain to be addressed. As President Ghani has noted, 2015 will test Afghanistan’s will and capacity as a nation to address reform across all sectors- social, economic, security and electoral process. I would like to reiterate that the challenges faced by Afghanistan are many; but the country and the people have proven, time and again, that we want peace over conflict, progress over repression, unity over factionalism, prosperity over hostility, and inclusive growth over isolation. Today Afghanistan’s vibrant civil society, free media, improved social indicators, successful democratic transition of power—all signal that there is significant potential to put the last three decades of devastation behind and move forward. In order to do so, Afghanistan must protect the gains made in the last 14 years, and present a united front against all agents who are working to destabilize the country. The role of our neighbours in the region, as well as the international community, is pivotal in supporting Afghanistan during its transformation decade to achieve lasting peace and stability.

Thank you very much.



Delivering the Post-2015 Development Agenda in Countries affected by Conflict, Insecurity & Crisis

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

22 Ju


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.

Thank you.