Thursday, April 24, 2014

Statement By H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations General Debate of the Second Committee 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Mr. Chairman,

Excellencies and colleagues,

Let me express my felicitations to you on your election as the Chairman of the Second Committee during the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I am confident that your proven leadership skills and rich academic background will lead the work of the Second Committee successfully. I also would like to extend congratulations to all newly elected members of the Bureau.  I take this opportunity to express our thanks to your predecessor, Her Excellency Ms. Enkhsetseg Ochir, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Mongolia for her excellent leadership during the sixty-fifth General Assembly of the UN.

I associate my support to the statement delivered by the Representative of Argentina to the United Nations on behalf of the G-77 and China. I would also like to affiliate myself with statements delivered by the delegations of Nepal on behalf of LDCs and Paraguay on behalf of LLDCs.

Mr. Chairman,

The second committee commences its deliberation at a critical juncture, as it is tasked with addressing a number of pressing global challenges such as: environmental degradation, the on-going financial crisis, food insecurity, hunger, and poverty in developing countries. The second committee must continue to work together to tackle these challenges, which seriously threaten the well-being of hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.

The Government of Afghanistan is of the firm belief that such challenges can only be eliminated through effective cooperation among all stakeholders. Overcoming our challenges also requires a resolute commitment on the part of both developed and developing countries for increased cooperation. In that regard, Afghanistan underscores the need for continued international support in the form of financial and technical assistance for developing countries.

The issues related to the on-going financial and economic crisis have an enormous impact on the development agendas of developing and particularly the least developed countries, and therefore, deserve to be addressed with serious attention.

Mr. Chairman,

Before 2001, Afghanistan was cut off and isolated from the international community by the brutal 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 regained its rightful place in the community of nations.  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. However, the complex issue of security and threats of terrorism remain as major impediments for the Government to implement its development policies. Therefore, the Government of Afghanistan remains convinced that issues related to security and their impact on the development of post conflict countries should be given due consideration by the Second Committee.

In 2004, Afghanistan was able to join the rest of the international community in committing to a series of time-bound development goals. Because we were late in joining the MDGs, our targets were set to be achieved by 2020.  Therefore, we emphasize that the situation of those countries that are behind in achieving our MDGs should be duly considered by the Second Committee.

Afghanistan strongly believes that United Nations can play a crucial role in helping developing countries and particularly LDCs, including those countries emerging from conflict, in achieving their MDGs.

Mr. Chairman,

As more than 80% of Afghans depend on agricultural production for their livelihoods, we stress that matters related to agricultural development and food security continue to be a significant focus for the work of the Second Committee.

The challenge of climate change affects all countries equally –  poor, rich, small or big – and therefore, requires genuine cooperation among all countries. In this regard, my delegation strongly supports the stand of the G 77 and China that the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the Kyoto Protocol should remain the central multilateral framework for cooperative action to address climate change issues.

Afghanistan also supports closer collaboration between developing countries and development partners as well as all other relevant actors to implement the Istanbul Programme of Action in order to ensure enhanced, predictable and targeted support to the least developed countries

In conclusion, my delegation is firmly convinced that your wisdom and effective leadership of our Committee will go a long way in helping us achieve important progress on the issues under our consideration. And I assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation!

I thank you.

Afghanistan and the International Community Discuss Reintegration After Afghan Leader’s Assassination

On 22 September, The Working Group on Reintegration, established under the International Contact Group (ICG) met in New York in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly week. The meeting was chaired by Afghan Ambassador Dr Tanin and co-chaired by UK SRAP Sedwill and Japanese SRAP Yamamoto. Representatives from 19 countries and of the UN and OIC participated in the session.

The group held one minute’s silence to commemorate the life of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, the Chairman of the Afghanistan Peace Council, and the valuable contribution that he had made to the pursuit of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. The group condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack which had resulted in his death. The group expressed their deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the victims and to their families, as well as to the people and Government of Afghanistan. The group also extended their support and best wishes for a speedy recovery to Mr Stanekzai, the Head of the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme, who was injured in the attack.

The group reaffirmed their commitment to work together in support of the goals for which Professor Rabbani had worked tirelessly. The important work of the High Peace Council in helping bring peace and reconciliation to Afghanistan will continue. Desperate acts of terrorism will not stop the Afghan people from working towards a peaceful future. At this time, it is important that all of Afghanistan’s leaders stand together in solidarity in the face of such attacks and demonstrate their resolve to work in support of peace, reconciliation and national unity. The group reaffirmed their commitment to the Afghan government’s programmes to reintegrate all those insurgents who are verifiably willing to renounce violence and terrorism and respect the Afghan Constitution, noting the need to support to their families in order to facilitate this.

The group welcomed the progress in the first year of APRP in reintegrating insurgents under the leadership of the High Peace Council and the Government of Afghanistan, noting the importance of political outreach and conflict resolution to extending the impact of the programme throughout the country and to resolving the plight of refugees. The group underlined the importance of close coordination between local civilian officials, the local security forces and PRTs. The group emphasized the need to secure sustainable and flexible funding for the programme.

The Afghan Government and the ICG Working Group welcomed the OIC’s initiative to convene a conference of ulema (religious scholars), as Professor Rabbani had supported. The group highlighted the importance of discussing all these issues further at the Istanbul, Astana and Bonn Conferences, and renewed their commitments to the reintegration process and the long-term stability and development of Afghanistan.

Ambassador Tanin’s interview with United Nations Radio