Saturday, July 26, 2014

commemorative meeting of the fifteenth anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Women

Statement by HE Dr. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Chairman of Asian Group for the month of March

on behalf of Asian Group

to the commemorative meeting of the fifteenth anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Women

Mr. President,

First and foremost, on behalf of the Asian group, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to Chile. We wish the Chilean people a speedy recovery and we admire their strength during these tragic times.

Mr. President,

On behalf of Asian Group, it is an honor for me to address this historic gathering commemorating the fifteenth anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration.

In September 1995 we gathered in Beijing for the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on women. Today, fifteen years later, we come together again to commemorate the occasion, acknowledge progress made and challenges ahead, and pay tribute to the ideals embodied in the Beijing Platform of Action. In Beijing we unequivocally declared our shared determination to advance the goals of equality, development, and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of all humanity; we recognized the persistent inequalities between men and women and the repercussions they have on societies; and we acknowledged that the situation is exacerbated by the abject poverty that affects the lives of many of the worlds people, in particular woman and children. We concluded by dedicating ourselves to addressing these constraints and obstacles, and, perhaps more importantly, we recognized the urgency of this endeavor and the need for collective determination and cooperation for the tasks ahead.

In assessing our progress in implementing the commitments we made to the world’s women in Beijing, we realize much progress has been made, but considerable obstacles remain that hobble and dehumanize women throughout the world.

Women’s rights are progressive and evolving. Since the Beijing conference men and women throughout the world have become ever more aware of the inequities that women endure, and they have spoken up to demand change. It is that demand that has brought about the improving recognition of women’s rights in each country’s legal system and here at the United Nations.

Furthermore, the Beijing Conference cemented the notion that it is unacceptable to differentiate women’s rights from human rights. But still in many countries around the world women are not safe from the threats of domestic violence, continued discrimination, and wide-ranging socio-economic barriers. We must continue our efforts toward the implementation of Beijing Declaration.

But progress has been made through a concerted effort of the international community, national governments, and in part through the action of women and girls themselves. According to the World Bank, women in South Asia now live longer than men for the first time. This improvement in women’s longevity is an indicator of better treatment of women and girls and a valued outcome identified in the Beijing Platform for Action. In addition, high economic growth has led to significant reduction in gender gaps in the labor markets of Asian and Pacific nations.

In the political realm, Asia, where, according to the World Bank, women political leaders are more prevalent than anywhere else, has certainly made progress through the introduction of quota systems to increase women’s representation in political governance structures. For example, in Afghanistan where the misogynistic Taliban once ruled and women were deprived of their very basic human rights, now constitutional law stipulates that 27% of all seats in parliament must be filled by women.

Undoubtedly, because of our actions over the past three decades, women’s issues have gained prominence on the international and national development agendas. Attention has gone not only to the plight of poor and disenfranchised women in developing countries, but also to the unfinished gender agenda in more developed countries, such as addressing women’s representation in higher-paying jobs and management positions and reducing the prevalence of gender-based violence.

We gather here today to commemorate this special occasion, to celebrate a cause, to celebrate progress, but more importantly to realize that our job is not finished – to realize that there are remaining and arising new challenges. We have come a long way since the conference in Beijing; we shall be ruthlessly unyielding in our pursuit to ensure that our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, are treated with equality, respect, and dignity.

I thank you, Mr. President.

All eyes on the Afghan elections

Afghanistan is headed towards a new beginning in its history. The elections due to take place in just a few weeks will not only determine the fate of the country for the next five years, but will also establish its future and the future of its people for a long time to come.

Our first democratic elections five years ago marked a symbolic end to decades of bloody struggles that have scarred Afghanistan over the past decades, and looked towards a secure and hopeful prospect for the country. This second election will determine the viability of that hope. The tomorrow of Afghanistan is at stake.

The international community is deeply appreciative of the amazing progress Afghanistan has made in the last eight years. However, it is also concerned about the sustainability of what we have achieved, and whether a strong and prosperous Afghanistan will emerge from these elections and over the course of the next few years. Afghanistan has rightly been placed in the international spotlight in past years, and this is especially evident due to the attention of recent weeks: the UN Secretary General’s report, to the 30 June Security Council debate, to the Security Council Presidential Statement, together with a number of national foreign policy statements, have all given particular emphasis on the need for Afghanistan’s elections to run smoothly. All of this focus has been directed towards the importance of successful elections to bring Afghans together into a unity of understanding, actions, and of responsibility for the nation.

In this effort, UNAMA has proven to be a crucial link between members of the international community and Afghans on the ground. It was worked diligently, not to run the elections, but to coordinate efforts and ascertain that all parties are playing by the rules of the game. Without their help and that of the international community, the elections could not be carried out successfully. The international community is involved in the process of conducting the Afghan elections because it recognizes that the future of Afghanistan is trembling in the balance, and that if the election process is not legitimate and if the outcome is not considered valid by all, the future of the nation will be undermined. However, it intends to play only a supporting role in pushing these efforts forward, through the assistance of soldiers, monitors from over 40 countries, and through the financing of the elections. It recognizes that the outcome is a purely Afghan issue, and that Afghans must choose their leaders as they desire. As Kai Eide, the Secretary General’s Special Representative to Afghanistan, has rightly asserted, a level playing field is essential at the onset, but the responsibility of the successful elections also lies in the hands of the candidates themselves, as well as to the Afghan voters.

The success of these elections will allow Afghanistan to move away from continued international military efforts, and toward becoming a self-sustained nation. It is essential that the elections are a success, because what happens in Afghanistan will also affect the stability of the region and the world. By the end of August, Afghanistan will hopefully be unified and strengthened, rather than fragmented and weakened. Unfortunately, elections are often divisive; but it is the duty of all Afghans to ascertain that this divisiveness will be a result of a democratic right of difference of opinion, rather than due to the coercion that has determined Afghan decisions over the past decades of occupation and oppression. All Afghans, both in the country and abroad, have a duty to help Afghanistan and to celebrate the opportunity to exercise their right to democracy and self-governance.

The promise of Afghanistan’s recent progress cannot serve as an excuse for a relaxation of our dedication to the country. Afghanistan needs the support of its citizens and the unwavering commitment of the international community now more than ever before. The international community is looking to Afghanistan to prove that democracy and freedom can emerge from dire and desolate circumstances. Afghanistan must show that a phoenix can truly rise from the ashes. For the sake of nations and peoples across the world, Afghanistan must set the example of free, fair, legitimate, secure, and transparent elections.

The elections must maintain rule of law and give Afghanistan the chance to build on the progress of the last years. They provide the greatest opportunity to unite its people, strengthen and render sustainable its institutions, and provide a strong foundation for continuing efforts towards a secure, strong, and independent Afghanistan. We look to the candidates, to the voters, to the Independent Electoral Commission, the Electoral Complaints Commission, the Media Commission, the Afghan National Army and Police, UNAMA and the Special Representative to the Secretary General, and ultimately to Afghanistan as a whole to ensure, through their dignity of action and respect for the democratic process, that the elections create and perpetuate an Afghanistan we can be proud of, for all of our sakes.

By Dr Zahir Tanin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations.

Source: United Nations Assistance in Afghanistan

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.

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