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Statement by H.E. Minister of Commerce and Industries at the Fourth Vienna Energy Forum

It is a pleasure for me to be part of the Fourth Vienna Energy Forum in this beautiful city of Vienna. I would like to thank the organizers for convening this important international gathering which provides an excellent opportunity to discuss sustainable energy issues related to inclusive development. Such a discussion is highly valuable and very timely for Afghanistan as we have just entered the Decade of Transformation (2015-2024) towards sustainable development.

At a national level, the energy sector has remained one of the most important sectors under the National Development Strategy of Afghanistan in the post-Taliban period. Our efforts in this important area are aimed at boosting sustainable energy sources for the country including through increasing the capacity in the production, distribution and transmission of electricity in the country.

Many of our international partners including international financial institutions and development agencies have been actively supporting our energy sector over the past 14 years. With such international support, Afghanistan has been increasingly promoting sustainable energy including renewable energy sources such as hydroelectricity, bioenergy, solar energy, and wind energy (in particular in Western Afghanistan). Deregulation and privatization of Afghanistan’s electricity sector has also been underway over the past few years. This coupled with a sound investment environment could potentially unlock vast amounts of renewable energy for the country and the region.

Such efforts have resulted in increased access to energy across the country including low-cost energy in rural areas which has helped improve the socio-economic situation of the people there.  In the early 2000s, many Afghan communities were dependent on diesel generators provided by international aid organizations. Today an increasing number of people have access to reliable electricity.

Afghanistan possesses a good potential in energy generation including in hydro, as well as coal and gas. We require, however, assistance in tapping this potential to a greater extent, which would allow us to provide energy for the entire country and even sell surplus amounts abroad. Strategic development of a sustainable energy mix and reliable energy infrastructure remains a priority for my Government and in this context the Government of Afghanistan has joined various regional and international energy cooperation frameworks including the International Energy Charter.

At a regional level, energy cooperation stands at the heart of our regional cooperation agenda. Afghanistan provides the shortest and most cost-effective routes for regional connectivity including for transfer of energy from the energy-rich Central Asia to the energy-deficit South Asia. Afghanistan’s geographical location as a land-bridge in the heart of Asia constitutes a comparative advantage and we are ready to share the benefits of our centrality with the region including in the area of energy.

The Government of Afghanistan has made considerable efforts including under the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) to boost regional cooperation towards securing sustainable energy for the entire region.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and the Central Asia-South Asia (CASA) 1000 electricity transmission line project are two prominent examples of Afghanistan-centered energy cooperation between Central Asia and South Asia. Such large scale regional energy projects along with other transmission lines under Afghanistan’s regional electric grid will contribute to the creation of an integrated Central Asia-South Asia energy market.

Such efforts at both national and regional level, however, require continued international support as well as further investments, both public and private. An important area of positive change in the post-Taliban period has been the business and investment climate in the country.  In light of the new Afghan Constitution of 2004 which laid out the foundations of a free market economy, the Afghan government has made numerous efforts to create an enabling regulatory and institutional environment for private sector development and investment promotion in the country. Such efforts include the adoption of new pro-business and pro-investment laws and regulations such as the new banking law; the new customs law and the new investment law as well as the creation new institutions such as the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) and the Afghanistan National Standards Authority (ANSA).  We hope that with such an increasingly enabling environment, we will witness greater investment in our energy sector in the future.

We highly value the role that the private sector as the main driver of the country’s economy can play in economic development including in the development of our energy sector.

We believe that the UINDO, the Sustainable Energy for All as well as other organizers of this forum have the capacity to further facilitate various forms of energy cooperation including public-private partnership, south-south cooperation and triangular cooperation.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with all such cooperation frameworks in line with the post-2015 development agenda as well as Afghanistan’s national development agenda for our Decade of Transformation.

Thank you.

H.E. Minister Humayoon Rasaw attends Vienna Energy Forum 2015

Vienna, 19.06.2015

On Thursday and Friday, H.E. Humayoon Rasaw, Minister of Commerce and Industries of Afghanistan, visited Vienna to attend the 4th Vienna Energy Forum 2015 (VEF), a biennial forum designed to allow both policymakers and leading minds in the field to engage in a dialogue on sustainable energy issues. At a High Level Panel discussion, Minister Rasaw commented on Afghanistan’s energy sector. Noting that the country has come a long way since 2001, the Minister informed the audience that about a decade ago Afghan communities were dependent on diesel generators provided by international aid organizations and that even now, parts of the population live without reliable electricity. At the same time, Afghanistan has plenty of opportunities to generate sustainable, renewable energy. The Minister called for assistance from the international community to create the required infrastructure to fully make use of these resources in order to provide sustainable energy for the entire country.

At the margins of the VEF, Minister Rasaw also engaged in several high level bilateral meetings to discuss the future of development cooperation between Afghanistan and the international community, including with: Ms. Amita Misra (Director, Regional Programmes and Field Representation Branch, UNIDO), Mr. Imran Farooque (Chief, Asia and the Pacific Bureau, UNIDO), Mr. Pradeep Monga (Director of Energy Branch and Special Representative of the Director General on Energy, UNIDO), H.E. Li Yong (Director General of UNIDO), Mr. Philippe Scholtès (Managing Director, Programme Development and Technical Cooperation Division, UNIDO), and Dr. Martin Ledolter (Director, Austrian Development Agency).

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Presentation by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani at the OSCE Security Committee

Vienna, 15 June 2015


Thank you Chair

We welcome our guest speakers to the Security Committee and thank them for their comprehensive presentations. Recent events of transnational and cross-border nature in the wider Central Asian region have been the subject of considerable attention. Afghanistan supports the promotion of efficient and effective border management in Central Asia and gender perspective and we encourage expanded co-operation among international and regional organizations in this area.

I took note of the remarks on Afghanistan and I appreciate your support and friendly comments.

Let me thank UNHCR for their excellent work in support of Afghanistan to handle one of the most pressing issues, in dealing with the plight of millions of Afghan refugees that are still waiting to return home.

With the help of our international partners, we have accomplished historic achievements over the past thirteen years, and we have just entered the first and most difficult year of our Decade of Transformation (2015-2024). The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are constantly improving their capabilities and performance, with the support provided by the Resolute Support Mission, and securing cities and villages across the country, including at our borders.

Afghanistan has benefitted from the work of the OSCE Border Management Staff College (BMSC) since its inception in 2009. Our border security and management officers’ knowledge, skills and expertise have been significantly enhanced and we were provided with tools and know-how to increase co-operation and exchange of information with our neighboring countries, three of which are OSCE Participating States. Nonetheless, since the enemies of our states and of our civilization are stepping up their malign activities in our region, we must also redouble our efforts to oppose them. We all are confronted with border-related challenges that include illicit narcotics, terrorism including foreign terrorist fighters, illicit trafficking of human beings, trafficking of arms and weapons, and other organized crime, as well as challenges arising from migration, refugees and asylum seekers.

Afghanistan commends the BMSC for its Strategic Plan 2015-2017 and we would certainly welcome if the budget for the BMSC would be included into the OSCE’s Unified Budget, thereby enabling long-term, strategic planning.

The National Unity Government of Afghanistan pursues its goal to achieve gender equality in the country and to attribute a greater role for women in border management, while taking into consideration special needs of women affected by border-related challenges. Times of crisis are sometimes also times of opportunity and we will make sure that from 2015 onwards, the situation of the women of Afghanistan will continuously get better, and never again worse.

We are proud of our determined and courageous women who increasingly become active agents of change, also in the sphere of security, toward a society free of violence and fear. We are confident that with the continued assistance from our international partners, we will be able to mobilize more women across our country to join the security forces, to assume their role in countering violent extremism, and to be active members of civil society, as a first line of defense against those propagating radical ideologies.


Thank you, Chair!

It is my pleasure to be here and to make a contribution representing a Partner for Co-operation of the OSCE, regarding the Basel Ministerial Decision. As you know, the OSCE is of special importance for Afghanistan, also due to the fact that a majority of its Participating States have been among our most reliable partners for the last decade in helping to create better opportunities for the Afghan people. Afghanistan remains committed to its partnership with the OSCE and is willing to be among those countries that make special efforts to implement the goals and objectives of this organization.

As you know, Afghanistan has been a long-term victim of terrorism, and until this day we are facing real threats from anti-government groups, supported by foreign terrorist fighters. Recently fights between groups linked to Daesh and Taliban terrorists have been reported.

The people of Afghanistan are determined to continue their journey towards a stable and peaceful future and are equally determined to build up on the decade-long achievements and progress made, while addressing remaining challenges including threats to security, organized crime and terrorism. To this end, while we appreciate the sacrifices of our partners for the past decade, we need continued assistance from the international community to further develop and implement our national legislation, mechanisms and procedures to effectively address the problem of terrorism and foreign terrorist fighters in Afghanistan.

We have created national institutions and legislation, and joined all regional and international mechanisms developed to combat terrorism.

Also, Afghanistan is ready to join subregional, regional and international efforts to tackle the growing threat of foreign terrorist fighters, including the underlying conditions and concurrent causes that exacerbate the problem. We pledge to act co-operatively and seek technical assistance, provision of capacity-building programmes, transfer of knowledge, and sharing of best practices.

As much as we need to combat foreign terrorist fighters on the ground, we must invest as much as we can in preventing our youth from joining those groups. Afghanistan, as a post-conflict country in transformation, requires continuous international assistance to educate our youth, to provide them with job opportunities, to run awareness campaigns, as well as to secure our borders and to adapt our legal framework. With this in mind, the National Unity Government of Afghanistan will also inject new momentum to the peace process in the country.

Afghanistan is strongly committed to the OSCE’s goals and objectives in the fight against terrorism, and let me recall that Afghanistan has taken practical steps for implementation of the decisions, declarations and UNSC resolutions. We also welcomed the OSCE’s Basel declarations MC.DOC/5/14 and MC.DOC/6/14.

Afghanistan stands ready to fully engage in all regional and international efforts to tackle this menace, and we look forward to further enhancing our co-operation with the OSCE’s Action against Terrorism Unit and other OSCE bodies and structures. In this context, let me also welcome the OSCE’s “United in CVE” campaign and we look forward to the OSCE’s Counter-Terrorism Conference in Vienna on 30 June and 1 July, 2015.

Thank you

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Written Contribution by Ambassador Erfani at the 791st Meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation

Madam Chair,


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Let me start by thanking H.E. Ambassador Byrganym Aitimova, Mr. Antti Häikiö, and Ambassador Miroslava Beham for their comprehensive presentations. Also, I wish to congratulate my dear friend Ambassador Aitimova, whom I have known and worked with at the United Nations in New York, on her appointment as Chair of the IWG and my delegation wishes her every success.

The delegation of Afghanistan welcomes that the essential topic of implementation of UNSCR 1325 has been tabled in this forum once again, following our debate during the 781st plenary meeting of the forum on 25 February, 2015, under the Chairmanship of Mongolia.

In the security chapter of the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA), a ten-year action plan adopted in 2008, it is specifically declared that “the government recognizes and supports the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in reaffirming the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and peacebuilding, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance of peace and security and the need to increase their role in decision making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution.”

The NAPWA forms the broad framework for the government’s women’s agenda including implementation of UNSCR 1325, and sets out indicators against which the attainment of its goals will be measured.

The newly appointed Minister for Women’s Affairs, H.E. Dilbar Nazari, and all her fellow members of cabinet work to ensure that a National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 will be implemented and that the NAPWA will be mainstreamed across all ministries and government bodies. Minister Nazari has stressed the importance and urgency of the empowerment of women in general as well as the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in particular during her visit to the OSCE last month.

Let me take this opportunity to thank all partners who are helping the relevant authorities in Afghanistan in the implementation and reporting of UNSCR 1325. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) and relevant line ministries require continued support of our partners in order to be able to fulfill the requirements set out by the NAPWA. MoWA will work closely with civil society organizations to share updated information about empowerment of women, and the situation of and problems faced by women in Afghanistan. The government also attempts to include training related to UNSCR 1325 in the education of the Afghan National Security Forces, with a view to improving gender sensitivity. We are in the process of adopting the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW). The government, with the support of our international partners, would like to increase awareness campaigns, also in close collaboration with civil society structures and religious leaders. In order to fund long-term UNSCR 1325 implementation programmes across all of the 34 Afghan provinces, the government requires respective support from our donor partners.

As you know, overall representation of women at decision-making levels in Afghanistan’s institutions and mechanisms stands at presentable levels. Nonetheless, we will strive to ensure increased female representation, specifically in the areas of prevention, management and resolution of conflict. We also acknowledge the special needs of women and girls during repatriation and resettlement and for rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction.

The ongoing peace process in Afghanistan is one of the priorities of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan. The Government is strongly committed that the Afghan constitution in its entirety — including women’s rights — remains a red line for any peace-process negotiations. I wish to stress that women will be active participants during peace negotiations with a view to consolidating stability in Afghanistan. In this process the rights of women will be non-negotiable and a country without equal rights for women can never be a truly peaceful country.

Afghanistan’s women and youth are our best hope for our country’s future. Without their full participation in all spheres of society, we will not be able to secure a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan. We are now in the difficult first year of our Decade of Transformation 2015-2024, and with the institutions and legal framework we have created, and with the continued assistance from our international partners, we will be able to empower our women so that they can actively contribute to a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, also by engaging women in a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency strategy.

Thank you

Consulate Closed 27-28 May, 2015

Please note that the Consulate will be closed from 27-28 May, 2015 (Wednesday and Thursday).

H.E. Dilbar Nazari attends the OSCE Security Days Event on Promoting Dialogue to Advance Tolerance and Prevent Radicalization

Vienna, 22.05.2015

On Thursday and Friday H.E. Dilbar Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan, and a visiting women’s delegation attended the OSCE Security Days Event on Promoting Dialogue to Advance Tolerance and Prevent Radicalization. The two day meeting addressed various means available for discouraging radicalization in societies across the world. The event included sessions on the roles of media and education in the matter, the root causes of such issues, and the importance of the participation of women, the youth and religious leaders in fostering inclusive dialogue.

Ms. Nazari and her delegation participated in these sessions and expressed their appreciation at being present to discuss issues of such importance to Afghanistan. The country faces several challenges in the area of radicalization and is committed to continuing to addressing such issues, especially through the empowerment of women and their inclusion in the peace and reconciliation process.

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H.E. Dilbar Nazari addresses an OSCE Roundtable on Gender-Responsive National Reconciliation in Afghanistan

Vienna, 20.05.2015

This afternoon, the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan and the OSCE Gender Section co-organized a Roundtable on Gender-Responsive National Reconciliation in Afghanistan. The roundtable emphasized that women’s empowerment remains a key objective of the post-2014 agenda and that women’s increased participation in governance is vital tool for achieving stability and security.

H.E. Ambassador Erfani made opening remarks on the occasion, highlighting the fact that with women constituting 50% of the Afghan population, their continued participation in all levels of society is of the utmost importance to the country’s forward progress and continued successes in the Decade of Transformation 2015-2024. OSCE Special Representative on Gender Issues H.E. Ambassador Melanne Verveer offered further opening remarks, reminding the participants that success in Afghanistan will not be achieved unless women fully participate in the decision-making process.

H.E. Dilbar Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan, acted as the keynote speaker and was joined by a delegation of men and women from Afghan government, parliament, civil society and media. With the active participation of member and partner states, representatives of the women’s delegation from Afghanistan and Afghan civil society engaged in the discussion.

Prior to the roundtable, Ms. Nazari met with H.E. Isabelle Poupart, Permanent Representative of Canada to the OSCE, who moderated the event.

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The Permanent Missions of Afghanistan and the United States of America co-organize a panel discussion on women’s empowerment

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Vienna, 21.05.2015

This afternoon the Permanent Missions of Afghanistan and the United States of America co-organized a panel discussion at the Vienna International Centre entitled: “Empowerment of Women – A Prerequisite for Development and Stability in Afghanistan”. Representing Afghanistan on the panel were Minister of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan H.E. Dilbar Nazari, H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani, and MP of the Afghan Parliament’s Upper House Ms. Sedeqa Balkhi. They were joined by Dr. Ana Lukatela of the OSCE Gender Section and Minister-Counsellor Eugene Young of the United States Embassy in Vienna.

Ambassador Erfani offered opening remarks on the occasion, emphasizing the importance of women’s empowerment in Afghanistan and expressing appreciation that the United Nations will continue to stand by Afghanistan to assist in implementation of legal instruments in the area of women’s rights. He was followed by Minister Nazari who spoke on the achievements of Afghanistan over the last years as well as the challenges which the country still faces. She highlighted that women’s role in the reconciliation process must be strengthened, and outlined the red lines for negotiations in the National Unity Government, including: ensuring transparency and female participation, preserving women’s rights, sustaining achievements already made, and preserving Chapter 2 of the Constitution. MP Ms. Sedeqa Balkhi further elaborated on the subject, explaining the role of women in the Parliament and assuring the participants that women and men participate equally in both houses.

The panel ended with a question and answer session moderated by Ambassador Erfani and Mr. Young.

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H.E. Dilbar Nazari updates the OSCE Permanent Council on progress in the area of women’s empowerment in Afghanistan






Vienna, 21.05.2015

This morning H.E. Dilbar Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan, addressed a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council. Speaking about the achievements in the area of women’s empowerment over the last years, the Minister highlighted legal achievements such as the passing of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women and quota system which ensures women’s political participation, as well as societal achievements such as the increased number of women working in the health and education sectors.

Ms. Nazari went on to address the challenges currently facing women in the country and to emphasize that the National Unity Government continues to make every effort to honor its international commitments towards women’s rights. By putting into place the National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security, further efforts will be extended in order to increase the participation of women in these areas.

Concluding her remarks, the Minister expressed her appreciation to Afghanistan’s international partners for their support to Afghan women. She called on continued support going forward, and stated her expectation of increased cooperation between Afghanistan and the OSCE going forward.

Prior to the meeting, the Minister met with the Secretary General of the OSCE, H.E. Ambassador Lamberto Zannier.

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The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna hosts a breakfast meeting of the Women Ambassadors in Wien

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Vienna, 20.05.2015

This morning, the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan, in conjunction with the Permanent Missions of Turkey, Pakistan and the European Union, hosted a breakfast meeting of the Women Ambassadors in Wien (WAW) on the occasion of the Vienna visit of H.E. Dilbar Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan. The meeting was attended by a delegation of women from different bodies of the Afghan government, as well as many Vienna-based Permanent Representatives.

H.E. Ambassador Erfani opened the meeting by reaffirming the National Unity Government of Afghanistan’s commitment to the empowerment of women, and lauded the Women Ambassadors in Wien for their good work in Vienna. The Ambassador further welcomed the Minister and her delegation, stating that he looked forward to many productive meetings and events. He then opened the floor to Ms. Nazari who spoke on the role of women in Afghanistan and highlighted the progress being made in the area of women’s affairs.


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