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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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 UNDPâ€˜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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.