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WELCOMING REMARKS BY H.E. AMBASSADOR AYOOB ERFANI AT THE COLLOQUIUM ON “PERSPECTIVES OF AFGHAN WOMEN: 2014 AND BEYOND”

Ambassador Erfani opens the colloquium on Afghan women.

Ambassador Erfani opens the colloquium on Afghan women.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Colleagues, Dear Friends,

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this Colloquium on “Perspectives of Afghan Women: 2014 and Beyond”.

I would first of all like to thank the VIC and in particular, the UNODC as well as ACUNS for helping our mission to make this event possible. I appreciate your interest in Afghanistan and in particular your interest in the situation of women in Afghanistan.

The issue of women’s rights and gender mainstreaming is gravely important and one that is close to our heart. Despite Afghanistan’s recent history of decades-long conflict where the women of Afghanistan became the prime victim and regardless of and remaining challenges among them the on-going violence against women, we are in the process of transitioning from three decades of war and transforming into a stable and democratic society.

The post-Taliban Afghanistan, thanks to the commitment of its people and the continued support by our partners in the International community, has made excellent achievements, including on the empowerment of women. The Government of Afghanistan has taken specific steps at the national, regional and international level to meet its obligations to improve the situation of women. We have the most progressive Constitution in the history of Afghanistan, which provides equal rights and duties before the law for both men and women.

Today, Afghan women participate in all levels of society; as members of the executive, judiciary and legislative branches in the Government, as civil society and NGO activists, and as a whole they are actively taking part in the on-going Transition process of Afghanistan to the Transformation Decade.

As in the past, when I have discussed women’s empowerment I have always emphasised that without the active participation of women, who constitute over 50% of the Afghan population, we will be unable to realise our visions for a democratic, stable and peaceful Afghanistan.

It is therefore my privilege to introduce today our two distinguished panelists Ms. Farkhunda Zahra Naderi and Ms. Mahbouba Seraj.

Ms Seraj was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and graduated from Malalai High School for girls and Kabul University. After 26 years in exile, she returned to Afghanistan at the end of 2003, and has since been working with the women and children of Afghanistan. She is the creator of a radio program for women called “Our Beloved Afghanistan by Mahbouba Seraj” which has been broadcast all over Afghanistan. She is a member of the Afghan Women Coalition Against Corruption and is also Executive Board Member and Chair of the Afghan Women Network or AWN, the biggest women network in Afghanistan.

Ms. Seraj has been a tireless advocate for women’s rights, pushing for women’s participation in the Peace Jirga, as well as in the High Peace Council. She and other women’s rights advocates were responsible in raising women participation at the 2011 Bonn Conference and 2012 Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan.

Ms. Naderi commenced her primary and secondary education in Kabul and Baghlan provinces, and completed her baccalaureate in 2001 in Harrow female High School in the United Kingdom. In 2004, she joined the Law Faculty at the Westminster International University in Tashkent and from 2004 to 2005 she was the representative to the faculty.

Ms. Naderi is currently a member of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House) of Afghanistan’s Parliament, representing Kabul Province. She has also been a member of the Commission on Women’s Affairs, Human rights and Civil Society and has participated in the IPU Assembly in Geneva, where she was elected the President of the Human Rights & Democracy Committee. She is also the only female to have participated in three consecutive Chantilly Conferences, organized by the Foundation for Strategic Research

Please join me in giving Ms Naderi and Ms Seraj a warm welcome.

 

Thank you, Mr Moderator.

Statement by Ambassador Erfani on OSCE/UN Security Sector Reform

Thank you, Chair, for giving me the floor.

We thank the Slovak Republic and Switzerland for co-hosting today’s Joint Conference on Strengthening OSCE – UN Co-operation on Security Sector Reform (SSR).

Afghanistan, as a post-conflict country, has particular high stakes in SSR initiatives.

Afghanistan joined the Group of Friends of UN-SSR in 2007, co-chaired by Slovakia, and has been inspired by and  benefited from the ongoing support  and useful lessons gained from this process.

The Government  is making every effort in the areas of defense establishment, civilian law, customs agencies, elements of the criminal justice sector and is training its professional and accountable security forces to operate in accordance with the constitution of the country, with a view to promoting human rights, good governance, and gender equality, all of which are inextricably linked with Security Sector Reform.

The Government is committed to effective security sector reforms, through continued improvement and democratization of all relevant processes, norms, structures and institutions including the national security forces. Our national security forces of 350,000 troops have proven to be capable while acting responsible under the ongoing reforms and capacity-building process. With the help of our international partners, the Afghan Ministry of Interior has implemented mechanisms that are apt to ensure both effective operations and democratic control of all  its armed forces.

The Government of Afghanistan has co-operated, among others, with UNAMA, UNDP, and EUPOL in this area and ISAF’s Provincial Reconstruction Teams also contributed, and I quote: “to support where appropriate the Security Sector Reform (SSR) initiatives”, end of quote.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior has initiated at Democratic Policing project in September 2009, involving law enforcement, community groups and local governance councils.

Since then, the project has evolved to a cluster-based approach comprising the National Area-based Development Programme, Afghanistan Sub-national Governance Programme, Gender Equality Project, Afghanistan New Beginnings Programme, and National Disaster Management Project.

Our Democratic Policing concept covers the security sector as well as the rule of law and Human Rights, as covered under the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) and the UNDP Country Programme Action Plan. We continue our efforts towards full establishment of the rule of law, good governance, due process, and upholding human rights, under the National Priority Programs (NPPs).

The national ownership and role of civil society remains one of the most important elements of the SSR process in the country.

We understand comprehensive security as a concept that enables participation and integration of a broad spectrum and all those segments of our society who are committed to the stabilization and democratization process in the country, regardless of their social and ethnic backgrounds or gender, and in particular youth and women.

Afghanistan remains committed to our joint fight against global and intertwined menaces: combating terrorism, illicit trafficking of chemical precursors and narcotics, cultivation of illegal drugs, human trafficking and other forms of organized crime. In this context, and with a view to accomplishing our goals of successful Transition and the Transformation Decade (2015-2024), Afghanistan will need – inter alia – continued assistance towards capacity-building, training programmes, sharing of knowledge and expertise in the area of security sector reform. Plus, we must keep in mind the long-term nature of any SSR activities.

As I stated on 30 June 2014 during the official launch of the open-ended Group of Friends of SSG/R, we in Afghanistan as a member of the United Nations Group of Friends of SSR, believe that the creation of our Group of Friends is an important initiative and provides an excellent platform for exchange of good practices and experiences among its members on the topic of SSG/R and related processes within the OSCE region as a whole.

We believe that this initiative must be considered as a long-term process and in order to accomplish success, this  process requires a number of necessary measures, including:

– Assignment of SSG/R permanent staff within the OSCE secretariat;

– Institutionalize SSGR and  adoption of a work program and projects to share and apply lessons learned and good practices ;

– Along with the extra budgetary measures , to  establish a voluntary trust fund towards SSG/R activities;

–  Create a joint OSCE-UN task force for co-operation and co-ordination.

Afghanistan welcomes and supports this initiative and declares membership of the SSG/R Group of Friends. We as a committed partner of OSCE are ready to do our part for the success if this young process.

 

Thank you

 

Statement on the Secretary General of the OSCE’s Action plan for the promotion of Gender Equality

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani in response to the presentation by the OSCE Secretary General of the Annual Evaluation Report on the Implementation of the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality at the 1006th Permanent council meeting of the OSCE

3 July 2014

Vienna, Austria

Mr. Chairman,

Let me join previous speakers in thanking His Excellency the Secretary General for his comprehensive presentation of the Annual Evaluation Report on the Implementation of the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality.

As I have stated earlier today in my response to the statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, the empowerment of women and promotion of gender equality rank among Afghanistan’s greatest achievements over the past thirteen years of efforts and sacrifices, supported by our partners in the international community, with a view to providing a better future for the Afghan people.

Last week, in this hall at the occasion of the Annual Security Review Conference, Ms. Shukria Barakzai, an MP from the Afghan Lower House (Wolesi Jirga) briefed participants about Afghanistan’s achievements including in the area of women’s rights. Next week, two more prominent women’s rights activists from Afghanistan, Ms. Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, another MP from the Afghan Wolesi Jirga, and Ms. Mahbouba Seraj, a civil society activist are scheduled to participate in the Gender Equality Review Conference, which marks yet another excellent opportunity to share experiences, lessons learned and challenges in the area of women’s rights in a post-conflict country like Afghanistan.

Let me seize this opportunity to thank the Secretariat, in particular its Gender Section and H.E. Ambassador Miroslava Beham, the Chairmanship and all donors for their continued support to my delegation here in Vienna. The facilitation of participation of delegates, in particular women, to major OSCE conferences constitutes a key component of our excellent partnership with the OSCE.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan is strongly committed to the goals of OSCE’s Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality, and we have taken concrete steps in this area on national, regional and international levels, complementary to OSCE’s efforts of the implementation of the Action Plan.

We believe in the inalienable rights of Afghan women, who constitute more than 50% of our society, to fully participate in all spheres of society thereby contributing to our security, social life and economic recovery. Without our women’s full engagement we will not be able to realize our vision and ongoing efforts for a democratic, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

 

Thank you

Statement to High Commissioner for Human rights at the 1006th OSCE PC

STATEMENT BY H.E. AMBASSADOR AYOOB ERFANI IN RESPONSE TO THE STATEMENT BY NAVI PILLAY, UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

 At the 1006th Permanent council meeting of the OSCE

3 July 2014

Vienna, Austria

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

The promotion and protection of Human Rights is one of the main priorities for Afghanistan – a country whose citizens suffered more than enough, due to prolonged three decades of conflict, and they continue to be victims of terrorist attacks in the country.

 

It is a great pleasure for my delegation to join previous distinguished speakers to warmly welcome the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navi Pillay to the Permanent Council, and we applaud you Madam High Commissioner for your great efforts over the past six years to promote and protect human rights around the globe.

 

Your tireless commitment to raise awareness about modern-day challenges to human rights has been critical to the prevention of human rights violations, among them in post conflict countries including Afghanistan.

 

We agree with you that the work of OHCHR and OSCE/ODIHR is complementary and that all of our societies can only be truly sustainably secure when they fully respect human dignity, ensure social justice, and enable the realization of fundamental freedoms and human rights.

Afghanistan apprecites and supports your continued calls for equality, for a free press, for good governance and combating corruption, among many other critical factors in this area.

 

As you know, Afghanistan – with the help of our international partners – has accomplished a lot over the past decade, including a much improved human rights record of its citizens, in particular the rights of women and children, although certain challenges are still ahead of us. Yet, let me mention Afghanistan’s constitution, the independent media as well as our vibrant civil society as clear indicators that Afghanistan is on the right track into our Decade of Transformation (2015-2024). With full and equal participation of the women, youth and civil society of Afghanistan in all spheres of our society, we are confident about our future.

 

Based on its achievement on the area of Human Rights and its commitments to the standards and mandate of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, Afghanistan also introduced its candidate for the post of High Commissioner of this body.

 

In closing, I would like to reiterate Afghanistan’s commitments to the universal values of human rights and wish you, Madam High Commissioner Navi Pillay, all the best and every success in your future endeavors.

 

Thank you

 

 

Intervention by H.E Ayoob M. Erfani, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the Advance Briefing for the World Drug Report 2014

Intervention by H.E Ayoob M. Erfani, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the Advance Briefing for the World Drug Report 2014

13 June 2014

 

Thank you Mr. Chairperson,

Firstly, my delegation is pleased to see you dear Mr Lemahieu, chairing today’s session.

Let me thank you for convening today’s briefing on this year’s World Drug Report. I would like to thank the UNODC for the yet again excellent effort in preparing another detailed overview of the drug situation in the world. I thank Angela for the comprehensive presentation.

We believe that, the annual world drug reports help to enhance knowledge about global trends in drug demand and supply, which is key to successful drug-related policy formulation and its implementation at national, regional and international levels.

Mr. Chairperson,

As this year’s report indicates, while considerable progress has been achieved in different parts of the world in addressing various aspects of the menace of narcotics, challenges still persist at all national, regional and international levels in countering this threat.  Clearly, intensified and more integrated efforts with a comprehensive approach, based on the principle of shared responsibility are required.

As a prime victim of the world drug problem, Afghanistan is committed to continue its efforts to create a strong legal foundation and policy environment for countering the menace of narcotics. The revision of our National Drug Control Strategy; the planned revision of the Law on Counter Narcotics as well as the recent finalization of the Counter Narcotics Regional Strategy are examples of our recent efforts to this end. We have also been able to develop our policies in key areas of alternative livelihood, law enforcement, demand reduction, regional and international cooperation as well as public awareness. Such efforts have led to considerable operational achievements in the past two years.

As was reported by H.E. Mobarez Rashidi, Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan during the CND High-Level Segment in March this year, the Government of Afghanistan has been able to seize close to 14% of the total drug produced and managed to arrest more than 3000 drug traffickers, including 500 mid-level and 6 high profile traffickers in the past two years.

While the market value of opium has remained stable, our economy has grown steadily. 60% of GDP was made up of illicit economy in 2003, which stands now at only 14%.

However, in order to more effectively address the recent increase in cultivation and production of poppy in Afghanistan, more intensified regional efforts in countering the trafficking of precursors into Afghanistan, effective demand reduction measures and target-aimed alternative livelihood programs  are needed along with the eradication efforts in the country.

There is also need for intensified efforts in the area of demand reduction at all national, regional and international levels. In Afghanistan, we have been able to increase our addiction treatment capacity from 1% to almost 6%, however, given the increasing number of addicts in the country especially among vulnerable groups, we need greater international support to further increase this capacity. Afghanistan was able to create a network of over 100 facilities across the country offering treatment.

Mr. Chairperson,

We look forward to the official release of this year’s Word Drug Report and also to improved coordination and consultation between relevant national authorities and our UNODC colleagues in the collection and sharing of data in the preparation of future annual world drug reports. Afghanistan is making every efforts to do its part and strongly committed to close cooperation towards eradication of illicit drugs.

Thank you.

 

 

Statement at the 1004th PC in response to head of OSCE centre in Astana

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Erfani in response to the presentation by Ambassador Natalia Zarudna of the OSCE Centre in Astana, at the 1004th  Permanent Council Meeting of the OSCE

Mr Chairman,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to join the previous speakers to warmly welcome Ambassador Natalia Zarudna, Head of OSCE Centre in Astana back to the Permanent Council and thank her for the informative annual report.

We highly value the OSCE’s efforts in Kazakhstan, and believe that Ambassador Zarudna’s continued efforts will have long-lasting, positive effects for the region. Therefore, on behalf of Afghanistan, I would like to extend our gratitude to the Ambassador Zaradna and her team in Astana.

We would like to applaud the OSCE’s efforts in Astana regarding the organization of training workshops on explosive hazards, which included experts from Afghanistan. Thanks to the training and technical support by our partners, including the OSCE, there is a clear downward trend in IED explosives in the country, however, still hundreds of civilians, and military personnel become victims each year to improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Any assistance from the OSCE to fight IEDs will be appreciated. We believe that the OSCE has the capacity to do more in assisting Afghanistanto tackle the remaining issues and challenges and further contribute to stabilityand sustainable development in the country.

I was delighted Mr. Chairman, to hear about the successful round of the Annual Central Asian Youth Network Seminar in Astana.  Central Asia is so deeply connected, not only geographically but also economically and culturally, that a seminar for our future leaders discussing transnational threats and organized crimes, also related to Afghanistan, is highly important to the future of this region.

On this note I would also like to commend Ambassador Zarudna about the OSCE’s involvement to promote synergy in environmental activities with regional implications. I would like to reiterate that the involvement of the next generation of leaders, including Afghanistan where 75% of its population is under the age of 25, is essential to the stability and advancement of the region, and thus we thank the Centre for organizing the nine-day training seminar for the Central Asian Leadership Program.

Therefore we thank the OSCE Office in Astana and the FSC Support Section for assisting us in these matters.

Dear colleagues,

Afghanistan considers Kazakhstan to be one of its closest partners in the region and enjoys an excellent relationship with Kazakhstan.

In recent years, the friendship between Afghanistan and Kazakhstan has only grown deeper in being an ally and supporter in the ongoing stabilization and democratization process in the country. Presently over 2,000 Afghan citizens are residing in Kazakhstan and 600 of our brightest students are studying in higher education institutes in Kazakhstan.

The numerous meetings between the Presidents of two countries;the exchange of high level delegations between Astana and Kabul; the establishment and expansion of the Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Co-operation, which has led us to sign an agreement encouraging and supporting investments between our countries, are examples of our expanding friendly and familiar relationship.

Kazakhstan, as good friend, has supported Afghanistanthrough a number of bilateral and regional mechanismsand has actively joined our partners in the International community to assist Afghanistan, in the development and stabilizationprocess since 2001. The people of Afghanistan are grateful to the people and Government of Kazakhstan, as they continue to support Afghanistan in a wide range of areas, including education, commerce, industry, regional infrastructure, development, disaster management and fighting illicit drugs. Kazakhstan has supported Afghanistan in its continued regional integration and confidence building efforts, in particular the Istanbul Process (Heart of Asia). At this point, I would also like to highlight the support we have received from Kazakhstan in our bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

We feel extremely happy to witness the further growth, progress and developments in Kazakhstan in all dimensions and wish for the continued prosperity and success of our friendly country of Kazakhstan.

In conclusion, let me thank you Ambassador Zarudna personally for all the good work you have accomplished and wish you and your team continued success in Astana.

 

Thank you.

Statement by Ambassador Erfani – Brainstorming for Santa Cruz panel discussion on 10th June 2014

STATEMENT BY

H.E. AMBASSADOR AYOOB ERFANI

at the G-77 “Living Well: Celebrating Unity for Prosperity”

Brainstorming for Santa Cruz panel discussion 0n 10th June 2014

 

Mr. Chairman,

Excellencies,

Dear Members of the Panel,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I would like to thank all Members of the Group for coming in such a great numbers to today’s G77+ China  plenary discussion on ‘Living Well: Celebrating Unity for Prosperity’.

I am pleased to be a member of today’s panel to prepare ourselves for the upcoming summit in Santa Cruz, at such a time when the international community is making efforts to negotiate the Post–2015 Development Agenda  and  to formulate a new global development framework.We are all equally committed to the long-standing ideals of the G77 + China, which has proved itself to be a powerful voice for the majority of today’s global population, and to expressing our collective position on the direction of the global development agenda.

We are also realistic on the divergence of views in our group, of over one hundred and thirty States, on matters which are considered to be important to particular national or regional interests, and such divergence is not unexpected. However, we must work to ensure a possible common position, for the interests of every member of this group. We should emphasize the need for the United Nations’ more active participation in international economic and financial affairs, as well as its role in financing for development.

The upcoming summit in Santa Cruz will provide us with  an excellent opportunity  for discussion and  dialogue on some of the most pressing development issues of our time such as youth employment, women’s empowerment and inclusive and sustainable development, particularly towards the achievement of ISID.

Let me express our congratulations to Sri Lanka for its proactive efforts as the current chair of the Group. Our dear friend Ambassador Abdul Aziz, we thank you, for initiating such a timely panel discussion on such issues that are highly important for all of us, including the elements contained in our today’s agenda:

– Sustainability and Development Challenges:   Prospective  of  Youth for the post_2015 Development Agenda,

– What Living Well means for Women: A Development Path: Empowerment, Eradication of Poverty and Shared Prosperity”.

Based on last year’s estimated reports there are about 73 million unemployed young people, which make up around 40% of the world’s unemployed.

Youth unemployment, men and women, affects developed and developing countries alike. In such a time when the global impact of youth unemployment is rising, it is more urgent than ever for the G77 + China to play its role as global decision-maker to take effective and coordinated measures to establish youth employment and empowerment as national priorities.

The Santa Cruz summit will be a timely opportunity for the  G77 + China to  address  the integration of youth issues into global, regional and national development priorities, especially during this critical time when youth unemployment  continued to rise in our countries.

I’m truly delighted to be here to focus on the empowerment of young people, boys and girls – men and women, and ensuring their inclusive participation in the decision-making process and the implementation of the post-2015 Development Agenda.

While discussing the essential role of youth for our future and the role of woman  in the post 2015 development agenda, we  need to focus on:

Youth:

  • The critical role and courage of young people, their concerns, their energies, in the post-2015 development agenda process.
  •  Smart policies and investments, as well as the need to change some traditional habits to empower youth.
  • To promote employment and income opportunities for young people, and to provide young people with the skills and competencies they require to be able to take advantage of these opportunities.
  • To provide comprehensive yet occupation-orientated education as part of national education strategies.

Women :

  • The advancement and protection of the rights of women.
  • Mitigation of female poverty, through combating gender discrimination and full integration of women into the job market.
  • Effective implementation of gender equality and the women’s rights agenda.
  • Ensuring that gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment are regulated by law.
  • Providing Job opportunities for women.
  • Address concerns of lack of access to education and health, and lacking an equal voice in decision-making.
  • Eliminating discrimination in laws, policies and practices,
  • Putting an end to violence against women and girls in all its forms.
  • Equal participation of women in decision-making in public and private institutions.
  • Address the challenges of women in the new world order

Dear colleagues,

Afghanistan is one of the founding members of the Group of 77. Since its foundation we have cooperated on promoting the exchange of economic interests and the strengthening of joint negotiation within the United Nations system.

With regard to today’s discussions, Afghanistan has made great efforts regarding the empowerment of youth and the promotion of gender equality. These issues are of high importance for us and have been part of the priorities under our MDGs-based National Development Strategy and still remain as key components of some of our National Priority Programs (PPPs) particularly under the human resources development cluster. On this note, I would like to inform you about some of our national developments in these areas of discussion.

Afghanistan has one of the world’s youngest and fastest growing populations. Around 70% of Afghanistan‘s population is below the age of 25. As we are entering the Transformation Decade, which will last from 2015 until 2024, it is critical for us to make strategic and well-coordinated investments in our young population, in order to help them realize their full potential. Concurrently, if we will not be able to provide employment to our youth, a big number of which are entering the labor markets every year, new social, and even security challenges will arise. Our  experience in Afghanistan confirms that  sustainable development will not be realized  without the participation of  youth as well as  the equal and active involvement of women, at all levels, and in all spheres of society.

In this regard, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has adopted several laws, regulations and policies in the framework of the new Constitution of Afghanistan with a view to expand the access of  Afghan Youth and women  to health services, education, and employment opportunities in the country. However, decades of civil unrest have left their mark. Through the conflict, many women have become widows and need to nourish and financially support their families without male support. Many children were denied access to education and other services, due to devastating security conditions, dreadful violations of human rights and un-democratic policies by the brutal Taliban regime.

Dear colleagues,

I am positive, however, about the future of Afghanistan. Nearly two-thirds of the population under the age of 25 voted in the first round of the presidential elections in April. This shows the enthusiasm and optimism that our youth have in the country’s future. By doing so, they expressed their desire to be heard and involved in political decisions and social developments. This is also the case for the women. According to the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan, out of 7 million people who voted in the 5 April elections, 34% of them were women.

Furthermore, we have been able to decrease the maternal mortality rate, as well as to improve the presence of girls in school. Our schools provide education to millions of children and hundreds of thousands in universities.  We can surely say that the youth and  women are not merely the beneficiaries of development but also the agents of  Afghanistan’s transformation towards a self-reliant, stable and democratic Afghanistan.

However, intensified efforts are still needed to materialize the full potential of Afghan Youth and women. Women are still the primary victims of poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and health constraints. The literacy rate is only 14% for women and Afghanistan’s overall poverty rate has 35% of Afghans living below the poverty line.

Dear colleagues,

I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the support we have received from the international community to reach the positive developments I have spoken of today. Without the support of the International Community, Afghanistan would have been unable to achieve such drastic and positive changes. Nevertheless, a lot more still needs to be done. On behalf of the Government of Afghanistan, I would like to reiterate our strong commitment to joining efforts in  addressing all remaining challenges regarding youth employment and the empowerment of women. Panel discussions, as the one taking place today are essential to raise our voices and to show commitment in tackling security, stability and development, especially those who suffer the most from poverty, conflict and war, our women and children.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

 

 

Statement by Ambassador Erfani at the 1003rd OSCE Permanent Council Meeting

Statement by Ambassador Erfani at the 1003rd OSCE Permanent Council Meeting in response to Ambassador Markus Mueller, Head of the OSCE Office in Tajikistan

 

Mr Chairman,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to join the previous speakers to strongly welcome Ambassador Markus Muller, Head of OSCE office in Tajikistan back to the Permanent Council and thank him for his annual report, where.

We highly appreciate the continued cooperation of the OSCE in Tajikistan to contribute in the capacity building in Afghanistan, especially when it comes to the training and exchange of knowledge for border staff in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

The knowledge and skills that our border personnel are receiving from these kinds of training operations at the Border Management Staff College in Dushanbe, including Afghan women which we have seen on the slide, will help us combat the challenges which stand in the way of our journey to the decade of transformation.

I am positive that the efforts led by the OSCE office in Tajikistan have been successful and I strongly hope that after an evaluation the projects will be extended.

On this note I would also like to thank Ambassador Müller and his team for helping facilitate the exchange of experience and best practices in the area of mine clearance with Afghanistan.  Afghanistan as a long-term victim land mines, has made enormous progress in cleaning the landscape of millions of land mines, but millions more are still embedded across the country. Land-mines can be cleared and we have the human capacity to do so, however we still require funding, resources and equipment . Thus, we highly appreciate the help that we are receiving from the OSCE office in this field and are certain this will continue to be a productive relationship.

Dear colleagues,

The longstanding, close, brotherly relationship between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, two countries which share almost all common values, dates back to the friendship treaty of 1750. As we have heard from Ambassador Müller, the relationship between Tajikistan and Afghanistan continues to develop as we further our levels of co-operation, in the areas of combatting Organized crime, to logistical enhancements in infrastructure, energy and transportation.

Tajikistan and Afghanistan share a 1300km border, and thus cooperation among our border officials is essential. Of this border, much of it is marked by the Panj river, and we are proud that we have been able to rebuild transportation links between our nations. As Ambassador Müller has stated in his report, we will soon be able to open the 5th bridge in Shurobod district connecting our nations. This is another milestone in the cooperation between Tajikistan and Afghanistan and a testimony of commitment by both countries to the goal of regional connectivity .

Recent unfortunate circumstances have also shown the need for further cooperation between Tajikistan and Afghanistan in the area of environmental issues. The mudslides in Badakshan show that Tajikistan and Afghanistan are affected by similar environmental problems. Therefore, we welcome Ambassador Müller’s report about the Tajik-Afghan workshop to discuss environmental issues, such as land degradation and deforestation.

Dear colleagues,

Once again I would like to express my sincere appreciation of the support that the OSCE has been offering to our friendly neighbor, Tajikistan, and to the Government of Afghanistan. We hope to see an extension of this OSCE facilitated cooperation and combined workshops where both nations will be able to profit greatly from this.

We are very grateful that Tajikistan has taken so many steps to support their neighbors in Afghanistan and wish them every prosperity for the future.

On behalf of Afghanistan I would like to reiterate our strong commitment to join our efforts with our neighbors in OSCE participating countries to address all remaining challenges and use every opportunities which remain essential for the security, stability and development of our region and beyond and we highly value OSCE’s contribution and supports to this end.

Concluding, we appreciate your efforts Ambassador Muller and we wish you and your good team every success.

Thank you.

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani at the IAEA Board of Governors on Agenda item 6.

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani at the IAEA Board of Governors on  Agenda item 6. (e) Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement and relevant provisions of United Nations Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran

H.E. Director General Yukiya Amano,

Mr. Chairman,

Excellencies,

We thank Director General Amano for his report on the “Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement and relevant provisions of United Nations Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran” as contained in document GOV/2014/28. We are pleased on the ongoing  further ecouraging  progress contained in DG’s report,  and reitrate our full  support to the Agency’s monitoring and verifying role on the implementation of JPA between the I. R. of Iran and the Agency  on I.R of Iran’s nuclear Programme.

The Government of Afghanistan welcomes the substantive cooperation between the Agency and the I.R. of Iran, as well as the agreement by the I.R. of Iran to implement five additional practical measures, as a sign of renewed collaboration. Afghanistan congratulates the IAEA for its successful work in this regard, and we look forward to the Agency’s assessment. We also welcome the useful meetings of the I.R. of Iran with the Group of 5+1 and several rounds of talks with EU delegations. We encourage persisting gaps to be bridged and open discussions to be pro-actively continued.

Afghanistan supports a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution, achieved through diplomacy, dialogue and substantive negotiations. In this context, we welcome all efforts towards resolving all outstanding issues.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

 

 

 

Statement by Ambassador Ayoob Erfani at the IAEA Board of Governors

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob M Erfani at the IAEA Board of Governors

 02 June 2014

Vienna, Austria

 

H.E. Director General Yukiya Amano,

Mr Chairman,

Excellencies,

 

At the outset Mr Chairman, I apprecite your able chairmanship of this session and I assure you of my delegation’s full support for a successful outcome. We thank HE DG Amano for his introductory remarks this morning and DDG for his report on Technical Cooperation activities. We appreciate the Secretariat preparing the Technical Cooperation report 2013, document number GOV/2014/21 of the IAEA.

My delegation welcomes  the Republic of Djibuti and Nunion on Surinam for joning the IAEA.

We  align ourselves with the statements of the Group of 77 and China, delivered by H.E. Aliyar Lebbe Abdul Azeez Amb and PR of Sri Lanka, and would like to make the following brief remarks in our national capacity.

First of all, the Government of Afghanistan highly regards the work of the IAEA.

We appreciate the hard work that the IAEA does, year in, year out, to improve the safety of nuclear energy and improve the safeguards of nuclear security, as the primary body for their supporting and facilitating role in all matters regarding the world’s nuclear issues.

We highly value the Technical Cooperation Department for their economic assistance to countries in need, such as Afghanistan, in implementing the IAEA mandate, through providing programs and training support to assist Afghanistan in creating a new generation of highly qualified and educated nuclear experts, which shall surely prove to be an asset to both our country, the region and beyond. I would like to express our gratitude to DDG Mr Kwaku Aning and his team, who have made good efforts towards Technical Cooperation Activities involving Afghanistan. These efforts have made a significant impact on nuclear affairs in Afghanistan and assisted the experts of my country to get the training they need.

Afghanistan, a country which has combat poverty and other  socio-economic challenges, due to our 3 decades of war, has benefited through its close cooperation with the IAEA. Our main priorities with regards to technical cooperation with the IAEA remain health services and education, agriculture and providing clean water sources. It is the various trainings, such as capacity building workshops, which Afghanistan has been able to receive from the Technical Co-operation Department, through the close cooperation with the IAEA, which will enable us to better combat these socio-economic challenges in the future.  We wish to express our desire to further develop our cooperation with the IAEA, to ensure more efficient engagement for the timely implementation of  relevant  projects.

Afghanistan has made many steps in the right direction when regarding enhancing cooperation on IAEA issues: the establishment of the Afghan Atomic Energy High Commission (AAEHC) for one, has received great support from the IAEA in terms of educating experts and allowing those experts access to IAEA laboratories, however, still a lack of funds indicates the need for further cooperation and support with the IAEA and the International Community.

The proposal of the establishment of the Comprehensive Cancer centre at Aliabad hospital in Kabul, is a project which we are working tirelessly to achieve. The IAEA has assisted, in various ways, towards the proposal of the center, amongst others: helping in the creation of a bankable document to assist with fundraising for the centre; proposals to send experts for the day to day functioning of the centre, once it is established. Prior to the idea of the center, there had been no cancer related diagnostic and therapeutic services available across Afghanistan.

We wish to conclude by reiterating the importance of the IAEA and continued co-operation with the agency in the future and are grateful for all assistance we have received thus far.

With this we take note of document number GOV/2014/21, the Technical cooperation report for 2013 and its supplement.

 

Thank you.