Saturday, October 25, 2014

German-Afghan Photography Exhibition

Welcome Remarks of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
To the United Nations
German-Afghan Photography Exhibition
“Afghanistan: The Land and its People” by Helmut R. Schulze

Ladies, Gentlemen, distinguished friends and colleagues, thank you for joining us. I am honoured and proud to welcome you to the opening of this stunning exhibition.

It is not often, in my official capacity, that I am able to speak of the joys of my country. And so, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to my good friend Ambassador Mattusek for the inspiration and effort of co-hosting this exhibition, and to Mr. Helmut Schulze for giving me the opportunity to share and celebrate my country with all of you.

Germany and Afghanistan have always had strong relations based on mutual respect and understanding. This new exhibition, exquisitely portraying Afghanistan through Mr. Schulze’s photographs, is yet another example of this invaluable partnership. Germany has been actively involved in efforts to regain security and stability in Afghanistan, and has also given a home to thousands of our citizens. As reflected in this exhibition, these efforts, along with those of the international community, are allowing Afghans to continue to live their lives with some normalcy amidst great upheaval. And for that, I thank the German government and people sincerely.

Photographs transcend time, exposing our past and present, and carrying with them a message about what our future may hold. And Mr. Schulze’s photos do not suggest a desolate future; rather, they evoke the Afghanistan that I am proud of, a nation of hope, magnificence, and survivors. These photographs have created an opportunity for the voiceless and heretofore unseen of Afghanistan to share a bit of their story.

Not only do these photos show the enormous physical beauty of Afghanistan, but they also show the long history of Afghanistan and the depths of its people. Afghanistan’s stunning landscapes have attracted millions of admirers, and for good reason; the surreal eloquence of the diverse and ancient landscapes captured in this exhibition speak volumes. But Afghanistan’s beauty goes deeper than Mr. Schulze’s superb photographs; it is a land also rich with minerals such as copper, iron, and other natural resources, and famous for the fruits of its fields. The wealth of potential hidden within these beautiful landscapes can, and should, offer an opportunity to pull Afghans out of poverty.

These photographs also show a country with a long and complex history. As the journalist Jason Goodwin once wrote, “This is a region that has swallowed civilizations, and sent the sands to seal them up.” Afghanistan was first inhabited 50,000 years ago, and developed its first agrarian society 20,000 years ago. From the ancient Greeks, to Persians, to Moghuls, Bhuddists and Muslims, many civilizations have been born, met, interacted, and merged there. Afghanistan’s past constitutes a global heritage, one that is reflected in the people and the landscape.

In Afghanistan, tradition and modernity regularly meet and live side-by-side, sometimes complementing and sometimes resisting one another. Just a short way from here, the Metropolitan Museum of Art displays in another medium the legacies of these cultural presences and exchanges. And while this rich history cannot rescue us today, it can provide us with an important foundation for looking towards the future.

Unfortunately, the uglier side of Afghanistan’s history and present circumstances cannot and should not be ignored. The last thirty years of Afghan’s past have been largely characterized by “fire and blood”, as we say in Dari, stained with the presence of consecutive foreign occupations, internal conflicts, and eight regimes, all of which were overthrown by violence. My country is often solely represented through depictions of a hostile wilderness pillaged by endless war; girls losing their faces to acid spray; explosions of people and cars; widows, orphans, disabilities. But the things that we read, see, and learn about Afghanistan, the legacies of decades of conflict, are not the only things to know.

Afghanistan’s long history would be nothing without the Afghans themselves. History has shaped and been shaped by its people, and is reflected in the faces, lives, hardworking attitudes and shared destiny of its diverse inhabitants. Despite enduring wounds of war, poverty, and hardship, Afghans continue to work patiently and to the full extent of their abilities towards a better life.

These photographs transport me and many of my compatriots back to the Afghanistan we have known and are proud of: far from the bitterness of bad news, an Afghanistan with high mountains, a rich culture, and an enduring people.

Situation in Afghanistan and its implications For International Peace and Security

STATEMENT by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Permanent Representative [Read more...]

World Financial and Economic Crisis

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Permanent Representative of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Head of Delegation

at the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development
24th to 26th June 2009

NEW YORK

STATEMENT

H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin addresses General Assembly on the world financial and economic crisis and its impact on development

H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin addresses General Assembly on the world financial and economic crisis and its impact on development

Mr. President,

I am honored to have the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in this timely and important discussion on the Global Economic and Financial Crisis. At the outset let me thank H.E. the  President, for his initiative in convening this meeting at a time when the global financial and economic crisis seriously threatens the livelihood and well being of millions of people all over the world. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his efforts in this regard. In order to prevent lasting damage, particularly to developing countries, we must maintain focus and resources on the development agenda, particularly for those countries in a special situation, we should improve and encourage both North-South and South-South partnerships, and we must improve the quality of aid and accountability.
Mr. President,

The international community is facing the most severe financial and economic crisis of the past several decades. And it is those least responsible for it, the poorest among us, particularly women and children, who are hit the hardest.
The global financial crisis exacerbates other already severe problems: of energy, environment and food that particularly affect the developing countries of the South. Already poor countries are becoming even more mired in poverty.
Mr. President,

The global financial crisis poses challenges for all countries, but post-conflict countries, least developed countries and land-locked least developed countries face particular challenges. Afghanistan as a post-conflict, least developed and land-lacked country has
been hit severely by this crisis and will find it difficult to implement its National Development Strategy and achieve its MDGs and other IADGs without intensified international support. Moreover the impact of the insecurity caused by the Taliban in parts of Afghanistan combined with several recent natural disasters has increased the need for additional resources for humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of displaced and vulnerable people. Afghanistan and other countries in a special situation need additional funds and resources for social protection, food security and human development.

Mr. President,

We are at a critical juncture that requires rapid, decisive and coordinated action. To defuse this crisis, to address the causes of the crisis and to prevent similar crises in the future, we all have to work together to prevent the current tenuous situation from becoming a social and human disaster with implications for the lives of millions of impoverished people, the implementation of the MDGs, political stability and peace.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan believes that the United Nations is in a position to play an important role in coordinating international co-operation towards solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character. We encourage our international colleagues to make sure that UN development agencies are fully resourced so that they can increase their technical and financial assistance to the governments of LDCs,  LLDCs and other countries with special needs. The Government of Afghanistan also supports the Secretary General’s High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis in connection with international efforts on setting-up a Global Partnership on Agriculture and Food Security.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan also sees the necessity and potential of North-South collaboration, in addition to cooperation between countries in the South. We have an active and crucial partnership with our regional neighbors, and also with the international community as a whole, and we can testify to the value in different sorts of partnerships. Cooperation can be best 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 recipient countries.
We urge donor countries to execute their bilateral and multilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments. We urge them to meet their commitments made at the G 20 Summit in London and other international forums such as the Monterrey Consensus, the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, the Doha Declaration and others. We urge them to reduce allocation of ODA outside of the government system and channel more funds through the core budget and trust funds. We also call on developed countries and

donor agencies to adhere to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness in order to ensure national ownership in the development process.
Lack of donor coordination, incomplete reporting, lack of transparency and unpredictable aid are all challenges that need to be addressed in order to ensure the best use of our money. And particularly now, at a time of limited resources, it is important that donors prioritize the efficiency, accountability, and the principle of national ownership.

Mr. President,

The Government of Afghanistan considers the substantive and comprehensive reform of the international economic and financial institutions to be a matter of urgency. This sort of crisis must not occur again.
Afghanistan joins all developing countries and reiterates their call for an early, successful and development-oriented conclusion of the Doha round of trade negotiations that places the needs of developing countries at its highest priority. Afghanistan also supports the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration to implement duty-free and quota-free access for LDCs.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan trusts that the outcome of this important historic Conference will reduce the suffering of millions of vulnerable people all over the world and will protect the world from future crisis.

I thank you.

VIDEO

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