14 September 2016, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by H.E. Ms. Joanne Adamson, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Security Council Debate on United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)
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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States. The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Serbia*and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, and Armenia, align themselves with this statement.
I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report. I would also like to thank Special Representative Yamamoto for his briefing.
Let me start by reiterating our full support for the continuing important role played by UNAMA and all the UN agencies in supporting the Afghan people, and in coordinating the international community’s assistance.
Progress in Afghanistan in recent years has been remarkable but uneven and requires consolidation in many areas. The recent political tensions amid the country’s security and economic serious challenges highlight the persisting difficulties. Political stability and predictability are essential. Preparations for the Brussels Conference require confidence that there is a stable political way forward well beyond October, based on a spirit of genuine collaboration and inclusiveness to ensure a viable and durable solution. This calls ever more for a long-term perspective and a realistic approach that acknowledges the huge challenges ahead of us; it calls concrete delivering from the Afghan government on its reform agenda and commitments underpinned by sustained and predictable support from the international community, based on the principles of mutual accountability. And it calls for continued efforts to initiate a political process as the the only way of resolving the conflict in Afghanistan for good.
We are collectively committed and contributing to the stabilization of the region: in the fight against terrorism, against the illegal economy and narcotics production, as well as in trying to reduce migratory pressures – an increasingly growing challenge for neighbours near and far, including Europe.
In this context, allow me to say that we are alarmed by the high number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan which, according to the latest UN report, are at record levels. Improving security remains fundamental for stability and development in Afghanistan. Therefore, we welcome the commitments made at the NATO Warsaw Summit in July in support of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.
Looking ahead, we are entering now the final phase of organising together with the Afghan Government the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, which will follow three strands:
- Substantial progress in Afghan state and institution building by effectively implementing the reforms of the National Unity Government (NUG);
- International support “near or at” current levels up to 2020, and increasing the effectiveness of aid in support of the new Afghan development framework;
- Regional support for a political process oriented towards stabilization, peace and cross-border economic cooperation.
By Brussels, we are confident we will come to a joint vision and development framework for the coming years, on the basis of credible implementation plans. Following the recent meeting of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board in Kabul, the European Union and its Member States welcome the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF). This is a strategic document that defines future development priorities and guides Government and donors’ development programming. Cross-government buy-in, effective implementation arrangements and timely results of this ambitious reform programme will determine its success – also in the eyes of the Afghan population.
The finalization of the new National Priority Programmes is one important element in this regard, as is an agreement on a new annex to the Self-Reliance through Mutual Accountability Framework (SMAF) that defines clear progress indicators for the coming years. These policy documents pave the way for much needed tangible progress in terms of poverty reduction and the provision of basic services and public goods. Mutual accountability is the driving principle. Continued exceptional but gradually declining financial support over the coming years will depend on such concrete progress including the necessary institution building to maintain a stable society, based on the rule of law and the consolidation of Afghanistan’s democratic institutions as well as a perspective for the already delayed parliamentary elections.
The fight against corruption remains a critical challenge and effective measures leading to actual results are of paramount importance; as is the establishment of a reliable rule of law framework which includes civilian policing and a functioning justice system. They are a precondition for the respect, the protection and promotion of human rights, and in particular women’s and children’s rights.
The EU welcomes the Government of Afghanistan’s commitment to achieve full and equal participation of women in the Afghan political life and in all Afghan institutions. We encourage the Government of Afghanistan to increase efforts to finance and put into action the National Action Plan for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). We also encourage women’s full and meaningful participation in all stages of the peace process, and to ensure that the protection and empowerment of women are central considerations in the efforts to achieve peace.
On behalf of the European Union and its Member States, I would like also to reiterate that joint state-building and development efforts in Afghanistan can only be sustained if they are built on reinforced regional cooperation. Development and security are interconnected challenges for Afghanistan’s state-building process, and need to be underpinned by genuine political support at the regional level. This also includes the increasing humanitarian challenges we face with the refugee and IDP situation in Afghanistan and the neighbouring countries, notably Pakistan and Iran. We need to address together the growing pressure of migration.
Taking all three strands together: the Afghan Reform Agenda – based on a stable political and predictable foundation, a new Development Partnership and a new regional dynamic, a successful Brussels conference will send the signal of a renewed and stronger partnership. A high level of attendance and clear signals for continued extraordinary support for Afghanistan will be important to convey a clear message that calls for tangible progress on the ground; a strong signal for economic reforms and inclusive growth, job creation and a much more business friendly environment; a firm commitment to political stability, and a new dynamic towards peace.
Let me conclude by thanking Special Representative Tadamichi Yamamoto for his outstanding work in the past two years as Deputy Special Representative and by congratulating him on his new position. We wish him all the best for the challenging tasks that lie ahead of him. We look forward to continued cooperation with Mr. Yamamoto.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
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