Monday, September 22, 2014

A better path to peace dynamic collaboration between Peacekeeping and Peaceduilding

Public Symposium

A better path to peace: dynamic collaboration between Peacekeeping and Peaceduilding

First Session: Review of UN Discussion on Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan

1st December 2010

Statement

By H.E. Zahir Tanin

Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you, Mr. Tsuruga, for your introduction as well as for chairing this discussion panel.  I am certainly honored to be speaking among such distinguished colleagues as Mr. Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Mr. Baso Sangqu, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations.

At the outset, please let me also take the opportunity to convey my sincere gratitude and that of my country to the government of Japan and in particular to the Foreign Ministry.  Japan has been an important and gracious international partner of Afghanistan in the past and present, and we are looking forward to continuing our enduring partnership in the future.

Peacekeeping as a Tool to Prevent Relapse

In the aftermath of the Cold War, peacebuilding has become increasingly essential in order to confront the adverse new realities of our times.  Such has been the case in post Cold War conflicts in states such as Iraq, the Balkans and my own country, as well as in less widely-known wars in just about every part of the world.  The international community has come to the imperative realization that the reconstruction of a post-conflict society is as intrinsically linked to global peace and security as the conventional and broadly established combination of peacekeeping and humanitarian relief. The price for failure is high: some nations emerge glaringly from destructive conflicts only to slide right back into violence. Success obliges unrelenting international support for nationally set priorities.

Initial Peacebuilding Process in Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, the process of peacebuilding was taken up instantaneously after the fall of the Taliban in 2001 with the United Nations being placed at the very heart of the operation.  The task at hand was a complicated one but the overarching goal that would restore decency to the lives of our citizens, was the establishment of enduring peace and stability.  There are two key international actors involved in this complex endeavor: the UN and NATO.  In itself, this collaboration is quite unique as it is one of only two NATO missions that had been mandated by the UN Security Council.  Furthermore, the peacebuilding process in Afghanistan constitutes, to date, one of the largest involvements of the UN as a leading international civilian coordinator as well as NATO’s first stabilization operation outside of Europe in its over 60 years of history.

Particularities in the Afghan Peacebuilding Process

The history of Afghanistan during the past three decades provides the backdrop for the rather unique peacebuilding efforts. Thirty years ago, in December of 1979, Soviet forces entered Afghanistan. Since then, Afghanistan has been a perpetual victim of war, violence and conflict. Constant upheaval has torn the country from a peaceful, progressive path and thrust it into the global spotlight. What was once a stable, modernizing country, a role model for other states in the region, became a disintegrated state, a broken society, a devastated economy and a vast wasteland of shattered lives. A hundred years of social, political and economic progress were destroyed. And even worse, two million people were killed. Ten million more fled for their own safety. The prolonged conflict divided Afghans by ideology, ethnic or political loyalties, and at different times, each group has fought against each other. Today, it is merely impossible to find a place in Afghanistan that did not see bloodshed, scorched earth and where the machinery of war is unfamiliar.

The conflict in Afghanistan was not about one war, a single intervention or a lone protagonist. It brought about three foreign interventions, three main civil wars, the fall of five regimes and an end to the rule of nine heads of state:

– In the 1980s, Afghanistan was plunged into a conflict built around the 1978 Coup and following the Soviet occupation in December 1979.  The two rivaling super powers of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union, engaged in the last major battle of the Cold War in the midst of the vast Afghan lands, facilitated through the US supported Mujahedeen and the Soviet backed regime in Kabul.

– In the 1990s a new wave of civil war, between Mujahedeen groups and eventually between the Taliban and the Mujahedeen, pushed Afghanistan into one of its bloodiest havocs. Supported by Pakistan and powerful extremist networks in the Arab world, the Taliban emerged triumphantly, pushing Afghanistan into becoming a launch pad for the Al-Qaeda terrorist operations worldwide, threatening regional and international peace and security.

– Eventually, in 2001, the US led intervention brought about the fall of the Taliban and it appeared that the turmoil had met its end.  However, the emerging Taliban from the sanctuaries in the region, embarked on a new murderous campaign, which was aimed at disrupting the peacebuilding and reconstruction efforts.

Two Phases of Peacbuilding Process

Since 2001, the peacebuilding process in Afghanistan has undergone two different phases in which visible progress had been attained while many obstacles continued to challenge success: (1) 2001-2006 under the Bonn Agreement, (2) 2006-2010 with the London Compact:

A – The Bonn Agreement

The focus of the international community promptly shifted to Afghanistan after 9/11 terrorist attack of Al-Qaida against the US.  While the peacemaking process was initiated in late 2001, herculean efforts were quickly exerted in order to satisfy the strapping need for a complex peacebuilding process. The Bonn agreement represented the only viable path toward establishing a stable Afghanistan as it envisaged a political process, the construction of political institutions, security sector reform, and the establishment of rule of law.  Presidential as well as parliamentary elections embodied a big accomplishment stepping stone in granting the Afghan people their well-deserved input in the future of their homeland.  A complex reintegration process was required in order to facilitate lasting peace; thus, a Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) strategy was undertaken as well as an eventual shift toward Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG).  In this regard, our most invested Asian partner, Japan, has put forth remarkable efforts.

The period between 2001 and 2005 represents the first time in three decades during which Afghanistan is generally at peace and moving gradually toward reconstruction.

B – The London Conference

At the end of the five-year implementation period of the Bonn Process there was a need for a renewed commitment between Afghanistan and the international community.  The London conference was held in 2006 to further sustain the stabilization process in three main areas of security; governance, rule of law and human rights; and economic and social development. Once more, the subsequent five years were determined to be the focal point of all efforts. The London conference initiated a new agreement, the London Compact, focusing on security and capacity building. The implementation of the London Compact has been overshadowed by the return of a violent new Taliban campaign since the end of 2005. Increased terrorist activity and expanding insecurity endangered peacebuilding efforts and posed new challenges for maintaining peace and stability in some parts of the country.

Missed Opportunities

Despite the tremendous progress which was made between 2001 and 2006 and between 2006 -2010, as I stated in a number of occasions previously, we allowed three crucial opportunities to slip through our fingers:

First, we missed the chance to wipe out the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other terrorists. After their initial defeat, we permitted them to rearm and regroup in sanctuaries outside of Afghanistan. As a result, they returned to threaten us in 2006 and the security situation has deteriorated markedly.

Second, we missed the chance to properly resource and reinforce our efforts. The international forces put in place in 2001 to assist Afghanistan consisted of only 4,500 troops with a limited scope of operation. It took years to increase the forces (ISAF) following the gradual deterioration of the security situation. In term of financial assistance, Afghanistan was treated as a cheap project. The $4.5bil commitment made at the Tokyo donor conference in 2002 did not reflect the true needs of Afghanistan. The same pattern was followed in Berlin in 2005, London 2006, and Paris 2008. In Berlin the assessed need was $21bil, the actual pledge was $8.5bil, in London the assessed need was $30bil -including Berlin- the pledge was a total of $10bil ($2bil) and in Paris the assessed need was $30bil, the actual pledge was $20bil. Afghanistan has been starved for resources, starved for attention, and starved for troops. The responses have been reactive, ex-post-facto, and fragmented.

Third, we missed the chance to rapidly empower and enable Afghans to shoulder the responsibility for their own destiny. The government and civil society lacked capacity, experience and resources.

New Focus: The Kabul Process

An emboldened Taliban and Al-Qaeda has increasingly turned into a greater threat for fragile peace and security, not only in Afghanistan but also in Pakistan and the region. It became increasingly imperative to stop the momentum of Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The alarming situation prompted the needs for a “strategic shaking” and a comprehensive new focus on peacebuilding and stabilizations efforts.

2009 and 2010 turned out to be rather difficult years for Afghanistan.  Afghan partners, and above all the US, began refocusing on Afghanistan through employing more military and civilian resources. At the beginning of his new term, President Hamid Karzai introduced a new national agenda aimed at achieving lasting peace and stability and ending the enduring suffering of Afghan people.

In that spirit, both the London conference and the Kabul conference were held respectively in January and July of 2010. The latter crafted the Kabul Process, which serves as a new foundation for change through transition to full responsibility and leadership of the Afghan government.  It also developed a new compact between the Afghan government, the Afghan people, and the international community. The Kabul Process also had a major focus on regional relationships, encouraging improved cooperation between all regional parties. Security comprises the core of the transition strategy envisaged by the Kabul Process. We are committed to taking the lead in combat operations in volatile provinces by 2011 and assume full responsibility for security efforts, with the support of the international community, by the end of 2014. It is a gradual and condition-based process, which relies upon the full support of our friends and partners in helping to build the size, strength and operational capability of Afghan security forces.

We hope that at the end of this transition period, the Afghan army and police will be able to take full responsibility within Afghanistan as intended. The number of National Security Forces has significantly increased. With the help of our partners, we now have approximately 130,000 soldiers and 106,000 police. We plan to increase that number to 171,000 soldiers and 134,000 police by October 2011.

The need for a comprehensive approach

Military strategies alone are not sufficient for the success of stabilization efforts. The peace process necessitates national reconciliation, outreach to the people, and sustainable partnerships with the region and international community.

First, Reconciliation and reintegration of former combatants is critical for establishing peace and security in our country. It is a reasonable and a responsible policy to open the door for reconciling those who would like to join the peace process. We are not only committed to such a policy, but have embraced it through our actions.  Outreach to the armed opposition has led to their inclusion in peace talks, as an effort for achieving peace and security, while our government and international partners continue to put an end to all armed activities of the enemies of peace and progress.

Secondly, outreach to the Afghan people is more than a communication strategy. Afghans from all segments of society should be more actively involved in the political arena, and play a role in promoting security, defense and development.  We must ensure an environment in which all Afghan people feel that they are the masters of their own destinies.  This will enable them to participate in the improvement of Afghan society.

Thirdly, regional cooperation is vital for peace and security in the country. In order to address terrorism, extremism, and narcotic drug production and trafficking, we must have meaningful cooperation and conduct sincere and effective dialogue with our neighbors. Eliminating sanctuaries, where terrorists continue to receive training, financial, and logistical support in the region, is a necessary element for eliminating terrorism.  Additionally, Afghanistan is firmly committed to enhancing economic cooperation in the region.  Afghanistan is a connecting bridge between Central and South Asia and all could benefit from economic cooperation, trade, and investment.  This role can be enhanced within the new frameworks of regional cooperation based on mutual commitments made in various forms.

Fourthly, essential to our efforts is the continued support of our friends and allies.  We aim to work actively together to move beyond today’s military activities and gear our joined energy toward establishing stability and long-term cooperation. The strength of our partnership with the international community is crucial for the stability of our people and people around the globe.

From Kabul to Lisbon

The recently held NATO summit in Lisbon and its outcomes, concerning Afghanistan, built heavily on the commitment of the government of Afghanistan for taking over full responsibility of national security by 2014. We believe that the Afghan security forces, with continuing help of our partners, will increasingly be able to take the lead for security operations across the country, thus, a gradual transition to Afghan leadership will be realized sooner than later.  In the course of the NATO summit in Lisbon, a new Strategic Concept was adopted which will serve as the Alliance’s roadmap for the coming ten years, reiterating the commitment to Afghanistan as well as collective security.  I do not intend to beat around the bush; the challenges of peacebuilding in Afghanistan are numerous and multifaceted.  Peace can only endure if it has a solid foundation to grasp on to and peacebuilding enables just that.  Peacebuilding, in combination with peacekeeping, involves the citizens and allows for sustainable peace by fostering reconciliation, building up strong and accountable institutions and promoting security sector reform.  Thus, only a comprehensive state-building approach, that entails long-term commitments by international partners, can even begin to attend to the needs of post-conflict societies, such as my own.

H.E. Zahir Tanin

H.E. Zahir Tanin at the Security Council Meeting:Women and peace and security. Report of the Secretary-General on Women and peace and security (S/2010/498)|

Statement of Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Foreign Minister of Afghanistan at the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ten years ago member states gathered in this distinguished assembly to take an unprecedented step: through the adoption the Millennium Declaration, we asserted our shared responsibility to humanity, and committed to making tangible progress in improving the lives of human beings around the world. In addition to being a moral imperative, this Declaration also recognized the crucial link between the wellbeing of individuals and the stability and health of societies and of states. Through the Millennium Development Goals, we committed to addressing some of the world’s most difficult and pressing development issues, including poverty, hunger, disease, environmental degradation, and the promotion of gender equality, education and health. Ten years later, these are still the main challenges facing our people and our countries.

Mr. President,

At the time of the Millennium Declaration’s adoption in 2000, Afghanistan was cut off, isolated from the international community by the abhorrent Taliban regime, which denied Afghan people even the most fundamental human rights and allowed terrorists to use Afghan soil to launch attacks around the world.  In 2001, with the overthrow of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan slowly began to rebuild its shattered political, economic and social structures, and to regain its rightful place in the community of nations.  Our country undertook a series of policies aimed at a comprehensive reconstruction and stabilization of the political and economic situation both nationally and regionally. These policies centered around the urgent need to bring the Afghan people out of grinding poverty and provide them with the basic human rights, opportunities and services that had been denied them for decades.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan has made enormous strides in the past decade, emerging from the ruins of war to build a more functioning government, a more prosperous economy, and a more healthy society.

Just three days ago, Afghanistan held its second parliamentary election. Millions of Afghans from all walks of life braved a challenging security situation, and cast their votes to elect representatives of the National Assembly. The unprecedented number of women candidates, voters and elected representatives is a clear demonstration of how far Afghan women have come in regaining their proactive role in Afghan society.

H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, addresses the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Convened by the General Assembly, the Summit is aimed at spurring action towards achieving internationally agreed goals to reduce hunger, poverty and disease.

These elections reaffirmed the steadfast commitment of the Afghan people to democracy and self-determination. Our leadership will continue to focus on good governance and to introduce institutional reforms that will make us more responsive to the needs and concerns of the vibrant Afghan civil society and population.

Economically, 80% of Afghans depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, and so along with other agricultural reforms we have undertaken comprehensive efforts to rebuild and repair irrigation systems, and have constructed over 10,000km of roads.  These changes improved productivity in the agricultural and trade sectors, which boosted GDP growth in the country to achieve record highs at 22.5 percent this year (2009/2010).  The average income has quadrupled since 2001. Government revenue this year surpassed a billion dollars for the first time. The recent discovery of enormous mineral resources, combined with the potential trade and transit opportunities with our neighbors, provides a chance to bring the Afghan people out of poverty, and offers a sound basis for future prosperity.

Afghanistan’s health and education sectors have also developed significantly, thanks in large part to the assistance of our international partners, including this Organization. We have established hundreds of clinics and hospitals across the country, expanding basic health coverage from 9% of the population in 2003 to close to 90% this year. Our national immunization campaign is in full swing, reaching out to millions of children under the age of five to protect them against polio and other deadly diseases. We have made substantial improvements in reducing infant and under five mortality rates.  In addition, we have a 71% school enrollment rate of Afghan boys and girls. As part of our national agenda to promote primary, secondary and higher education, we have constructed close to 4,000 school buildings over the past nine years; and we are on track to build an additional 4,900 by end of 2013.

We are also building a complex social safety net, geared towards finding work for those willing and able, and supporting those who are unable to care for themselves.

Mr. President,

We must keep in mind the backdrop of severe fragility and conflict when assessing the success of Afghanistan in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Security is the bedrock for socio-economic development, and in Afghanistan the difficult security situation has challenged our ability to sustain progress. The enemies of peace and stability in Afghanistan are still active, orchestrating well-planned attacks against schools, clinics, teachers, doctors, government employees and even young children, particularly school girls. Unfortunately, similar attacks continue against humanitarian aid organizations and their personnel, who are working under difficult conditions to improve the lives of ordinary Afghans.  In recognition of the crucial role of security in providing space for development, I would like to emphasize our addition of security on Afghanistan’s list of MDGs.  Improvements in security over the past year include substantial progress in clearing land mines and reducing poppy cultivation.

While we have made significant improvements, Afghanistan remains the lowest income country in the region, with 40% of its population unemployed and 36% living in poverty.  We still face a gender gap in literacy and education.  For such reasons more than ever we realize the importance of our international partners in supporting our country. Our budget for development is entirely financed by aid, and we hope to continue the transition toward streamlining aid more effectively through the government of Afghanistan with a view toward sustainability and capacity building. We have designed an extensive plan for MDG goals and targets over the next decade.

Mr. President,

His Excellency Dr. Zalmai Rassoul of Afghanistan addresses the General Assembly

While we know the path ahead is a difficult one, we are determined to forge on with a view toward reaching our commitments for MDGs.  Our number one priority as a government is to bring an end to conflict: the Afghan people are thirsty for peace. The Afghan National Army and Police are being trained and equipped to take responsibility for the Afghan people.  The Afghan government is simultaneously undertaking a broad political outreach initiative to offer a new beginning to former combatants and others willing to lay down arms and embrace a peaceful life.

In addition, in order to focus on the most pressing issues, the Afghan government has recently identified five key areas in the ANDS that will require intense attention.  These include agriculture development and rural rehabilitation; human resources development; economic and infrastructure development, governance and security.

Mr. President,

Our recent Kabul conference was a milestone in greater Afghan leadership, particularly security, governance and development. At the Kabul Conference, we presented our comprehensive development agenda, aimed at implementing tangible improvements in the lives of our citizens. Over the coming years, our government will push for a transition to greater Afghan responsibility and leadership in security, social and economic development, and governance.

Mr. President,
We are aware of the challenges we face. More than three billion people worldwide live on less than $2.50 a day, and far too many are denied access to food, shelter, water and other necessities of life. But Afghanistan is well aware, perhaps more than many, of exactly how much we can accomplish when working together. Our responsibility, as world leaders and as human beings, is to persevere in our quest to improve the lives of our fellows. I am convinced that, with commitment and focus, we will succeed.

I thank you.

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