Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Group of G 77 and China Meeting of Foreign Ministers Delivered by Mr. A. Zahir Faqiri Deputy Permanent Representative

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Group of G 77 and China

Meeting of Foreign Ministers Delivered by Mr. A. Zahir Faqiri  Deputy Permanent Representative

Mr Chairman,

At the outset, let me convey, on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, our sincere appreciation to the Republic of Argentina for its successful leadership of the Group of 77 and China.

Mr Chairman, your wise leadership at a time when the world is facing many challenges has helped us stand united, and expand and strengthen cooperation among members of our Group.

Last year, the world’s leaders reviewed the achievements and challenges of the MDGs at the 2010 MDG Summit and endorsed its outcome document. However, many developing countries still face enormous challenges on the road towards achieving the MDGs.

We believe that our strengthened collaboration, growing trade and transit, and unity in striving for a common cause is the best formula for our success and for achieving peace and prosperity for our nations and peoples. Promoting trade and investment among G77 member countries is an effective way to mitigate the negative impact of international financial crises and shocks. In that vein, we recognise both the necessity and potential of North-South collaboration, as well as cooperation between countries of the South. Furthermore, through such cooperation with each other and the rest of the world and with pro-poor socio-economic policies, we can both combat the challenge of climate change and work towards poverty alleviation.

Mr Chairman,

Afghanistan, like the rest of the Group, is deeply concerned over the multiple global crises, including widespread poverty, climate change, financial troubles, and the threat of terrorism, volatile energy prices, and food shortages. All of these challenges have had substantial negative impacts on our progress towards achieving the MDGs.

In a globalised world, we cannot and should not isolate ourselves from international financial markets and the rest of the world. However, it is only prudent for us to adopt policies to free ourselves from total dependence on and vulnerability to the shocks of the international market.

Strong and sustained growth is critical for developing countries to meet their internationally-agreed development goals, including the MDGs. My delegation fully agrees with the G77 that economic and social development is the central objective of the United Nations, which remains the only legitimate fully-global body that could address the need for sustainable and socially-equitable development.

Addressing the multiple challenges of economic crises, climate change, and food security, is ultimately and above all our own responsibility. It will require our constant efforts, careful governance, and just yet practical social and development policies. Accomplishing these vital tasks cannot and will not be possible, however, without sufficient resources.

In order to effectively respond to the ongoing challenges, Afghanistan calls on developed countries to demonstrate greater flexibility and political will to meet and scale up their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments to developing countries, particularly LDCs and post-conflict countries.

My delegation also emphasises the importance of regional and international cooperation to address challenges like food security and agricultural development, as integral parts of the international development agenda.

Mr Chairman,

Afghanistan’s delegation actively participated in the drafting of the political declaration of the High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases. We fully support the stand of the G77 in favour of strengthened international cooperation in the area of public health, to promote access to comprehensive and cost-effective prevention, treatment and care for the integrated management of NCDs, including improved access to affordable, safe, effective and high-quality medicines and diagnostic and other technologies.

Mr Chairman,

We also strongly endorse the position of the G77 and China that ODA must be increased in order to achieve national development objectives, including the MDGs. It is also important that donors take into consideration the principle of ownership of recipient countries, reducing the allocation of ODA outside of government systems and instead channelling more funds through core budgets and transparent trust funds. We believe it is also important that donors’ reporting mechanisms be improved. We consider a lack of donor coordination, a lack of transparency and data sharing, and the unpredictability of aid to be among the challenges that must be addressed.

Mr Chairman,

Afghanistan supports the stand of the G77 and China on major international issues and believes that the G77 can play an important role in the framework of the United Nations, towards achieving peace and security in the world and to pave the way for sustainable economic and social development for all.

Before closing, let me take this opportunity to congratulate our brother country Algeria for being elected Chair of the G77 and China. We are confident that in pursuing a development agenda in 2012, Algeria will be steering our Group in accordance with the principles of inclusiveness and transparency, further strengthening the unity of the G77 and China.

Thank you.

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Land Locked Developing Countries Meeting of Foreign Ministers

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Land Locked Developing Countries

Meeting of Foreign Ministers Delivered by Mr. Daud Yaar


Mr. Chairman,

At the outset let me express my sincere appreciation to Paraguay for its successful leadership of the Group of Land Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs).

Mr. Chairman,

The landlocked developing countries are commonly among the poorest of the developing countries and 16 of us, including my own country are classified as least developed countries with the weakest growth rates, and critically dependent on a very limited number of commodities for our export income.

There is a clear connection between distance and the transport costs. High transport costs affect the competitiveness margin of landlocked developing countries and trade volume.

Lack of territorial access to the sea, distance and isolation from world markets and high transit costs continue to impose serious constraints on the overall socio-economic development of our countries. In addition to numerous global crises, such as widespread poverty, climate change, financial and economic crises, the threat of terrorism, volatile energy prices and food shortages are among many challenges which developing countries, particularly land locked developing countries are facing.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan’s export and import have been adversely affected by long distance, difficult terrain, bad condition of roads, non-existence of railway system in the country, volatile security, threat of terrorism and relations with neighbouring countries and inefficiency of transit transport.  As well our export and import depend on transit through other countries. Additional border crossings and long distance from the market considerably increase our total expenses for the transport services. Not only the above challenges, but also sensitive relation with neighbouring countries all the time impose extra pressure and cost on our poor economy. Afghanistan is a commodity exporter country. We pay almost two times more of our export earnings for the payment of transport and insurance services. All of these challenges have had enormous harmful effects on the implementation and realization of our MDGs.

The three decades of war has enormously damaged our economy and our political and social infrastructure, including our roads and transport system. During the past 10 years we managed to built and rehabilitate much of our roads and transport system, however, for adequate development and maintenance of transport infrastructure, establishing a better transit transport system and enhanced technical assistance, capacity building for the formulation of trade policies, investment into infrastructure for transport, communication and etc. we need much support of our development partners and regional cooperation.

Afghanistan fully supports the commitment  of the landlocked countries to accelerate the implementation of Almaty Programme of Action through effective and genuine partnerships between landlocked and transit countries and their development partners as well as between public and private sector  at national , regional and global level.

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion, I reiterate our commitment to work closely with you all to advance our common interests.

I thank you.

High Level Meeting on Youth

Statement  of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Delivered by Mr. Ahmad Zahir Faqiri  Minister, Deputy Permanent Representative
At the General Assembly  High Level Meeting on Youth

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I wish to take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. President, for organizing this timely High level Youth Forum highlighting the International year of Youth.

Mr. President,

On behalf of the Afghan Government, I would like to stress the need for further effort to support young people in developing their capacity to tackle the challenges they face. Let me emphasize that the primary responsibility for ensuring youth development lies with states. Today I will address both the challenges ahead for Afghan youth and achievements accomplished thus far.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan is a country of youth. 68% of the population is below 25 years of age. The bulk of the population is to a certain extent deprived of their fundamental rights, including but not limited to lack of educational and employment opportunities. The situation of Afghan girls is of particular concern – under traditional pressures they enter early marriage and early pregnancy, contributing to Afghanistan’s dire MMR and IMR.

Youth literacy rates are low; 50% for boys and 18% for girls; secondary school enrollments are respectively 23% and 7%, and less than 2% of the Afghan population reaches higher education.

Faced with these challenges, Afghan youth are at risk. Their vulnerability is exacerbated by unemployment, low wages, lack of safety and security, poverty and lack of medical care, making youth particularly at risk to recruitment to armed opposition and terrorist organizations.

Mr. President,

In the face of these challenges, we should not lose sight of the progress made thus far.  To date, more than seven millions boys and girls are enrolled in schools, investing in their futures.  We have constructed more than 4,000 schools across the country; we predict to have Fourteen million children enrolled in schools by 2020; and in a country where practically no girls received education just ten years ago, over 40 percent of these new students will be girls. Additionally, the great majority of Afghanistan’s population has access to basic health-care, showing great progress over the last ten years.

It is worth mentioning that a considerable percentage of the Afghan parliament are comprised of young representatives, almost entire of the news agencies, TVs broadcasting, monthly magazines are running by the young generation in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

The Government of Afghanistan is committed to fulfilling its responsibility to protect the rights of all youth and to addressing violations of youth’s rights. We have initiated a number of important steps at the national, regional and international levels. This includes the launch of a National Youth Programme, which reiterates our commitment to the development of the sons and daughters of Afghanistan and seeks to establish an opportunity for Afghan youth to fulfill their aspirations.

Mr. President,

This generation of youth in my country, having experienced conflict and exile, now they must be empowered with alternative opportunities. Their fresh perspectives, their energy, enthusiasm and determination must be guided for promoting peace and development in Afghanistan.

I wish to conclude by joining the previous speakers to express the condolences of the Afghan government and Afghan people to the Mission of Norway and through them to the people of Norway on the recent act of terror which caused dozens of casualties.

I thank you.

For your attention