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Mr. Hassan Soroosh, Counselor and Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Chairs Session on ‘Women, Peace and Security’ during ACUNS Conference

Vienna, 14.01.2016

From January 13-15, 2016 the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) held a conference on “New Approaches for a Peaceful and More Sustainable World”. On the second day of the conference, Mr. Hassan Soroosh chaired a session on “Women, Peace and Security” where speakers from various international organizations and NGOs discussed the progress made and challenges faced in the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Mr. Soroosh opened the discussion by noting the considerable efforts undertaken across the world including the creation of National Action Plans by many countries as well as various initiatives undertaken across the UN System and beyond to meet the main goals of ‘Prevention, Protection, Participation and Peace Building and Recovery’. During interventions by the speakers of this session, the common idea throughout was a call for the increase in the participation and empowerment of women in peace building and post-conflict recovery as women are a critical for the development of lasting peace. Participants in the audience raised questions including on how to achieve gender balance and what strategies could be applied. Mr. Soroosh closed the session by thanking the speakers for their valuable contributions during the session as well as the participants for their interest in how to further the involvement of women in peace and security efforts.

The conference agenda can be found here.

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H.E. Ambassador Efani Welcomes H.E. Minister Azimi to the UN General Assembly on World Drug Problem

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Vienna, 10.09.2015

H.E. Ambassador Erfani, in his role as Vice-Chair of the Board tasked by the Counter Narcotics Division with the preparations for the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem in 2016, welcomed the Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan, H.E. Minister Azimi. He noted that UNGASS on the World Drug Problem in 2016 is crucial for shaping collective efforts in light of new challenges, trends and realities toward accomplishing counter narcotic targets.

Ambassador Erfani thanked the international community for their continued support towards Afghanistan and noted that while Afghanistan has come far in the last 14 years, challenges remain and support is still needed. He noted that Minister Azimi would speak on the main challenges still faced by Afghanistan in terms of illicit narcotics as well as the commitments and programs Afghanistan has for the next three years to address the challenges of drugs. After Minister Azimi’s speech, Ambassador Erfani chaired comments from the delegates present and thank them for their continued interest and support for Afghanistan and for their commitment in the truly global fight against narcotics.

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Remarks by H.E. Ayoob Erfani, Ambassador in Austria Permanent Representative to the UN & International Organizations – Vienna At the Sixth Session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group On the Prevention of Corruption

Thank you Madam Chair,

At the outset, I would like to join other distinguished speakers in congratulating you on your election as the chair of this Sixth Session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the Prevention of Corruption and thank the Secretariat for the timely preparation of the documents. We highly value the Working Group sessions as an excellent opportunity for exchange of information, good experiences and learned lessons among member states on preventive measures and practices, which remains a serious challenge for all of us.

Madam Chair,

Tackling the underlying drivers and challenges of corruption remains an important component of Afghanistan’s national development agenda and in this context, we have taken specific steps at national and international levels. For the last 14 years, the Government of Afghanistan supported by the international community has made considerable efforts in areas such as institutional building, legislation and policy development.

The Establishment of the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption in 2008 as an independent unifying oversight body to coordinate, supervise and support all anti-corruption efforts in the country, the establishment of anti-corruption tribunals and prosecution offices in both capital and provinces as well as creation of the Financial Intelligence Unit are among other institutional building efforts that have significantly contributed to our anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan. The adoption of the Anti-Corruption Strategy and the law on overseeing its implementation have provided an appropriate legal and policy framework for anti-corruption efforts in the country.

Preventive measures have been on the top of our national anti-corruption agenda. Asset declaration of high-ranking government officials has been underway under the High Office of Oversight over the past few years which have so far resulted in registration of close to 8000 asset declaration forms. Simplification of the administrative procedures has been further expedited in the past few years and efforts are underway to revise the existing laws, regulations and procedures pertaining to the area of the provision of public services. Additionally, various anti-corruption public awareness programs have been implemented by the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption with support from the relevant government agencies and civil society institutions.

Madam Chair,

The two topics under discussion in this session of the working group are of high importance. I would like to thank the Secretariat as well as the distinguished panelists for their excellent presentations under the two thematic discussions during yesterday’s and today’s sessions.

Money laundering continues to pose threats to economic and social development in our societies including through fostering other illegal activities such as corruption, drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, arms trafficking as well as terrorism. Over the past few years, the Government of Afghanistan has made considerable anti-money laundering efforts which include, among others, the adoption of the new Anti-Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Law as well as improving the capacity of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Afghanistan in addressing money-laundering cases. The Afghan FIU has expanded cooperation with other FIUs in the region and has joined several international cooperation frameworks.

Integrity, transparency and accountability in the public procurement system have a great impact on economic growth in every country. In Afghanistan, legal and institutional reform in public procurement has been underway over the past 14 years and has become a top priority for the National Unity Government aiming at providing better services through an effective, efficient and transparent procurement system as well as boosting economic growth and effective control of financial expenditure.

As part of this reform agenda, the former Special Procurement Commission has been restructured to the National Procurement Commission chaired by H.E. the President and the National Procurement Authority (NPA) has been created which serves as the secretariat for the Commission. The NPA’s mission is to:

  • “Strengthen the national procurement system by incorporating mechanisms for increased capacity, visibility, accountability and public confidence through development of policy instruments for the efficient management of public resources and effective budget execution that will stimulate and contribute to economic growth.
  • Enable system compatibility with international procurement standards, best practices and to keep pace with the dynamic technological advances.
  • Regulate the national procurement system by developing and implementing comprehensive legal, regulatory, policy and capacity building frameworks and programs.”

Afghanistan has made significant efforts in building a credible and transparent public financial management system. The government is taking required measures to continuously improve its public financial management. Such measures include “(a) applying whatever controls are needed to manage the budget and report reliably to all stakeholders on public finances; (b) building sustainable capacity in the spending ministries to improve their internal controls; (c) establishing government wide internal audit under the Ministry of Finance; (d) strengthening the independence of the external auditor; and (e) harmonizing audit standards.”

Mr. Chairman,

The Government of Afghanistan is committed to further strengthen its capacity in the prevention of corruption including in preventing money laundering as well as to take its reform agenda into the procurement and financial management systems. While we are grateful for the support we have received thus far from the international community including through UNODC, our anti-corruption agencies will continue to need technical support including in the implementation of their preventive programs and initiatives.

Thank you.

 

 

Remarks by H.E. Abdullah Abdullah at the Conference on the Implementation of the International Decade for Action “Water for Life”

Dushanbe, Tajikistan –  June 9, 2015

Your Excellency President Emomali Rahmon,
Your Excellency Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,
Mr. Chairman, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to express my deepest appreciation to my dear friend H.E. Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, for the warm hospitality shown to me and the Afghan delegation during our stay in the beautiful city of Dushanbe, and for his leadership on the critical and timely issue of Water for Life, and water sustainability.

I would also like to commend the organizers of this important conference, in particular our Chair, Prime Minister Rasulzoda, UN-Water and other international and regional organizations and partners, for the tremendous efforts over the past decade, leading up to the convening of this high level conference today on the implementation of the International Decade for Action “Water for Life”, 2005-2015.

Tajikistan initiated this process more than a decade ago at the United Nations, and today Tajikistan is bringing us all together to look back at our collective achievements, lessons learnt, best practices, remaining challenges, and the way forward.

I thank our Tajik colleagues, the United Nations, relevant organizations and partners, NGOs and other stakeholders for their steadfastness and commitment to local, regional and global water concerns as part of this process, as well as related initiatives underway in the international arena.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

In recent Water Summit conferences, water was recognized as one of the top three development risks in the world. Not only is it a finite resource, but it is intimately connected to economic growth and the sustainability of human well-being.

As we all know by now, water is no longer just a natural resource that requires good management and usage, but it is increasingly becoming a strategic resource that can impact good neighborliness, economic well-being, and social and political order as a cross-cutting element in key development fields.

Furthermore, as demonstrated by demographics, climate change cycles affecting nature and all species, environmental challenges, and increasing human needs and demands, water is a key commodity for more than just sustenance and survival.

Water is now an industry, and seen by many businesses as “part of the circular economy, climate change, developing technologies, bringing investment into the sector and new models for financing.”

It is therefore imperative that we harness, manage, use and share this key commodity in the best manner possible, alongside all stakeholders – public, private and otherwise. This objective requires a new spirit of cooperation and action on the global scale.

All countries have recognized this imperative. Numerous studies and evaluations have been presented, accords and protocols signed, but today, as we realize the growing significance of “water for life”, this new spirit will also need to employ the following features: open dialogue; innovative thinking; scientific input; adapting legal and policy frameworks to new realities; taking collective, regional or local action based on priorities; usage of new technologies, mitigating disasters and shortages; and adopting measures to preempt disagreement and tension.

This is a tall order, but with the valuable work performed over the years at the multilateral, regional and bilateral levels, we have solid data and analysis that can help us move to the next stage of cooperation and action.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

As a landlocked mountainous nation in South-Central Asia, Afghanistan is in a unique position both as a source, transit point, corridor and estuary of water. We want to use our geography, resource capacity, and regional as well as international obligations to maximize usage of water for human, agricultural, power generation and other purposes under clearly mandated and legally binding regimes both at home as well as in the neighborhood.

Over three decades of political instability and conflict have eroded Afghan infrastructure, capacities and resource management abilities. But we have made significant strides in order to catch up with national development objectives as part of overall reconstruction strategies adopted over the past 13 years with the generous help of many friends in the international community, including all our neighbors.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all countries and international organizations present at this conference for their contributions and assistances to my country since 2001.

Afghanistan is now in a position to engage more constructively at the regional and bilateral levels to address win-win solutions with our friends and neighbors, based on international legal guidelines and prior experiences, taking into account the legitimate interests of all stakeholders.

Water is not and should not become part of zero-sum policies or relations. Water can and should become a resource for friendship, growth and economic integration.

Not only do we all suffer when water is wasted or not used according to established rules and norms, but we also fail to achieve other social and economic development objectives in a coherent manner.

We welcome the result of the work done thus far, and congratulate all entities, governmental, scientific, humanitarian, private sector and others for their valuable contributions.

We look forward to working with you on assuring that future generations, and our economies will not face water shortage or water tension challenges.

Thank you.

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Afghanistan co-hosts Colloquium “Afghanistan – a Country in Transformation: Promoting Peace and Development through Art”

Afghanistan co-hosts Colloquium “Afghanistan – a Country in Transformation: Promoting Peace and Development through Art”

Darya event

From left: Gillian Murray, UNODC; Ambassador Erfani; Moderator Michael Platzer, ACUNS; Mr Farhad Darya; Ana Lukatella, OSCE; Veronika Eschbacher, Wiener Zeitung.

 

Vienna, 01.12.2014

 

Today, the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan co-hosted a colloquium regarding the role of art in the promotion of peace and development. The event was jointly organized with UNODC and ACUNS and took place at the Vienna International Center. The event was very well attended by UN staff, diplomats and NGOs.

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani opened the event by introducing the popular Afghan singer, Mr. Farhad Darya. “Mr. Farhad Darya is one of the most prominent and beloved contemporary singers and composers from Afghanistan of our days and enjoys particular popularity among our young generation.”

“Today, we will highlight a beautiful side of Afghanistan: its rich culture and how it positively contributes to the development of the country, in the context of the stabilization and democratization efforts during our Decade of Transformation 2015-2024”, noted Ambassador Erfani.

Ambassador Erfani’s statement was followed by the keynote speech by Mr. Darya. He talked about the fact that the media only focuses on negative news about Afghanistan. Positive aspects, such as music and art, play a crucial role in transformation by giving hope to the people and thus cannot be neglected. He stressed the importance of art in showing the world that war is not the only option for Afghanistan.

After a second welcoming statement by ACUNS Vienna liaison officer Dr. Michael Platzer, panelist Ms. Ana Lukatela, an advisor on gender issues at the OSCE, took the floor.  She emphasized the importance of art in the peace building process as well as access of both men and women to art and media.

 

Ms. Lukatela was followed by Ms. Eschbacher, a journalist from the Wiener Zeitung, who has made many trips to Afghanistan and writes about political and social issues in the country. Ms. Eschbacher stressed the importance of art in post-conflict societies and called for a reevaluation of cultural traditions in Afghanistan.

 

Finally Ms. Murray, Deputy Director of UNODC, thanked Mr. Darya for his efforts as a good will Ambassador for UNDP and UNODC. All panelists came up with insightful observations, remarks as well as questions for Mr. Darya.

 

This was followed by a lively Q & A session, in which many in the audience participated. Both guests and panelists expressed their gratitude towards Mr. Darya for his great contribution in promoting peace and development in Afghanistan.

 

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Ambassador Erfani chairs a UNTOC side-event on the relationship between organised crime, illicit economy and sustainable development

The Ambassador of The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Vienna H.E. Ayoob M. Erfani chairs the ACUNS Side Event “Relationship of Organized Crime, Illicit Economy & Sustainable Development”

 

Ambassador Erfani chairs the event ;Relationship between organised crime, illicit economy and sustainable development'

Ambassador Erfani chairs the event ;Relationship between organised crime, illicit economy and sustainable development’

Vienna, 08.10.2014

Ambassador Erfani chaired the panel discussion that was part of the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime on October 8, 2014 at the Vienna International Centre. The conference was concerned with the negative impact of Organized Crime, Illicit Economy, Fraud and Corruption on Development, as well as the contribution of UNODC to these challenges. “Afghanistan, as a country, which has long been a victim of war and has felt the impact of organised crime during our path to development, has seen how these three issues are precariously intertwined.” Ambassador Erfani extended his appreciation to each of the speakers for their valuable contribution to the event.

Ambassador Erfani introduced the event by discussing the precarious nature of these three intertwined issues. He mentioned how this is a main priority for the new unity government and discussed how detrimental they have been to Afghanistan. The panellists discussed several points regarding organised crime, illicit economy and sustainable development and in particular issues concerning Afghanistan.

Mr. Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director of the Division for Policy Analysis and Public affairs, lead UNODC’s largest operation in Afghanistan and talked about the strengths and weaknesses of such engagements. He sees the creation of alternative and sustainable livelihoods as vital, in order to reach a peaceful and sustainable solution for illicit activities. Lemahieu noted that the global community should also take responsibility for organised crime and illegal activities in Afghanistan, since 90% of the money made is moved out of the country. Mr. Arije Antinori, Professor at the Sapienza University of Rome, mentioned the connection between poverty, corruption and organised crime. Organised crime disregards national borders and thus the global community has to take responsibility. Mr. Michael Theil, Professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, talked about how financial institutions such as insurance companies might facilitate illicit activities in different ways. The presentations concluded with Mr. Maximilian Edelbacher, Former Chief of the Major Crime Bureau of the Federal Police in Vienna, who spoke of the connection between qualitative and quantitative crime and how we can fight the increase of organised crime on a global scale by trying to close the gap between poverty and wealth.

Some concluding remarks were made on how election fraud, which also affects Afghanistan, is usually forgotten when discussing organised crime. “Fighting these challenges is one of the main priorities of the new unity government for a successful Decade of Transformation, as it is without a doubt that the presence of corruption, organised crime and illicit economy, will forever inhibit the development of countries, such as Afghanistan, from achieving peace, stability and prosperity.”

 

Ambassador with Mr Lemahieu and the other panellists and organisers.

Ambassador with Mr Lemahieu and the other panellists and organisers.

 

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Ambassador Erfani speaks at the Paris Pact Policy Consultative Meeting on counter-narcotics

Vienna, 29.09.2014

 

Ambassador Erfani delivered remarks at the 11th Paris Pact Policy Consultative Meeting today at the UNODC in Vienna. He discussed the challenges still being faced in the fight against narcotic drugs and added that this meeting could provide an opportunity to discuss the effectiveness of the Paris Pact initiative, achieved progress, new arising challenges and to look for practical solutions to meet the goals of these initiatives.

 

Following the statement by Deputy Minister, Ambassador Erfani concurred that while Afghanistan has made significant progress for the last 13 years and is taking steps to its Transition into Transformation, there are still a number of challenges facing Afghanistan including the drug problem, of which Afghanistan has been a prime victim. It will remain a non-stop effort of the Afghan Government throughout this Decade of Transformation.

 

Ambassador Erfani referred to today’s inauguration of President Ashraf Ghani as a historic day for Afghanistan and reiterated that the focus to fight drugs will be one of the main priorities of the new Government. Ambassador Erfani continued that “We appreciate the Paris Pact initiative’s efforts to mobilize regional and global efforts against the world drug problem, and its committed to meet our share of responsibility and work with the Paris Pact members to achieve its goals.”

 

He concluded by thanking the International community for their continued commitment and sacrifices so far, and will continue to cooperate with Afghanistan in post-2014.

 

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Statement of Ambassador Erfani at the IAEA General Conference

Mr. President,

Director General,

Excellencies, 

At the outset, I would like to congratulate your Excellency, Mr. Alyar Lebbe Abdul Azeez of Sri Lanka on your election as President at this year’s General Conference. We thank Director General Amano for his statement and for the Annual Report 2013and congratulate himonthe excellence displayed in his continued leadership of this organization, which has proved a fruitful partnership for developing countries’ socio-economic development, including my country Afghanistan. We also commend the strong efforts of the IAEA Secretariat to this end.

 

The delegation of Afghanistan welcomes the Union of the Comoros, the Republic of Djibouti, The Co-operative Republic of Guyana and the Republic of Vanuatu to the IAEA family. We are confident that the new members will have a mutually beneficial relationship with the organization.

 

Mr. President, 

The IAEA General Conference is a great opportunity for all of us to come together to address the developments of the past year and to discuss the continued challenges we face in international peace and nuclear security. Transparency and cooperation in the areas of nuclear power and security are vital to ensuring that our world remains safe and healthy for future generations. Though, efforts in developing nuclear applications are relatively new in Afghanistan, we have greatly benefited from our co-operation with the IAEA. Therefore in my remarks I will focus on the current status of nuclear applications in Afghanistan in particular the ongoing technical cooperation between Afghanistan and the Agency.

As Afghanistan is preparing for the Decade of Transformation (2015-2024) towards a self-reliant economy, nuclear science and technology will have a crucial role in achievingour national development agenda during this critical decade and beyond. The Country Program Framework has already facilitated cooperation between Afghanistan and the Agency in some of the important areas and sectors such as radiological safety and nuclear security infrastructure; human health in particular cancer control; agriculture and food; water resources management; energy planning and human resources development which remain key to achieving our goals as set out in our national development agenda throughout the Decade of Transformation.

Mr. President,

On our part, we are committed to continuing our efforts to further developthe institutional and regulatory framework required for peaceful nuclear technology applications. Today, I have the pleasure to have with me, Mr Nazifi,Director General of the Afghanistan Atomic Energy High Commission (AAEHC)who has been leading such efforts in the country. Training and capacity building remains a key component of the efforts being made by the AAEHC.The IAEA has provided considerable capacity building opportunities to the High Commission in the form fellowships and training courses.However, still a lack of funds indicates the need for further cooperation and support by the IAEA and the international community at large.

The Agency’s technical cooperation activities are of great importance for Afghanistan and our entire region, and Afghanistan therefore considers it essential that the resources of the Technical Cooperation Fund be sufficient, assured and predictable. Taking this opportunitylet me express Afghanistan’s appreciation for all the contributions pledged to the Technical Cooperation Fund for 2015. Afghanistan greatly appreciates the support and assistance that has been received from the

IAEA under various technical cooperation projects and looks forward to the expansion of such cooperation under future projects.

Over the past year, the main focus of technical cooperation between Afghanistan and the IAEA has been on three key projects, with a number of others in the initial developing stages. The establishment of a Radiation Oncology Centre; a Radiology Diagnostic Centre; and Radiotherapy and Radiology Services in Kabulare extremely important to Afghanistan, as there are no cancer-related diagnostic and therapeutic services anywhere in the country and rare are the patients who can afford to travel abroad for treatment. The IAEA and Afghanistan have been successfully engaged in this project since 2005 which has resulted in the completion of the relevant bankable document in 2013. The project document is now ready for submission to the donor community. Fundraising is therefore crucial for the implementation of this important project. Under this project,

Seven fellowships were recently approved by the IAEA for the Afghan candidates to receive a specialized training in diagnostic radiology. As there is no suitable training platform for specialists in this field in the country, such fellowships and training programs for the Afghan candidates are vital to ensure that the center, when operational, will possessthe requiredspecialists to maintain the standard of the hospital. Also, to ensure that those specialists who have been trained in the past can be kept up to date on new advances in technology, we would appreciate the IAEA’s assistance in facilitating our expert’s attendance at regional conferences and facilitating the donation of

specialist equipment such as for mammography and ultrasounds to ensure the high quality of the services provided at the center.

The second key project is the development of the draft regulations of Afghanistan for the Safety of Radiation Sources. The first draft ‘Nuclear Law of Afghanistan’ is under review and we hope that it soon will be ratified. The relevant Afghan authorities and experts, with close consultation with the IAEA are working to make the regulations more focused on health and agriculture and a working plan has been created to lead the way for the projected completion of the project by the beginning of 2015. However, we continue to need experts from the IAEA to support us throughout this project to improve the regulations from a technical perspective and to assist with further training of the relevant Afghan team and the relevant AAEHC staff in general.

Thirdly, concerning the Radioactive Source Regulatory Infrastructure Development Project (RIDP),the bilateral meeting on the implementation of the RIDP in Afghanistan took place in Vienna, from 26 to 27 May 2014. The discussions in the meeting were focused on different elements of the current status of Afghanistan’s radiation safety regulatory infrastructure with the objective to identify gaps and priority needs, and to develop an initial short term action plan to be implemented accordingly under the RIDP project.

In this regard let me reiterateAfghanistan’s strong commitmentto the implementation of its safeguard agreements with the IAEA. We are following this subject closely and hope to improve cooperation on this subject to a further extent in the coming year.

Mr President,

Afghanistan fully supports the establishment of the Middle East WMD Free Zone and respective regional consultations to achieve this goal. We emphasize the central role of the IAEA in this process. The Government of Afghanistan welcomes any confidence-building measures in this complex region, as well as any similar positive steps towards elimination of WMD arsenals. Afghanistan supports all efforts to convene the Helsinki Conference prior to the 2015 NPT Review Conference, which would contribute to a reliable non-proliferation regime.

Mr President, 

Afghanistan as a prime victim of international terrorism strongly supports all efforts geared at strengthened global nuclear security. We understand that the security framework is constantly changing. Therefore, the IAEA, having a central role in ensuring nuclear security, must have the full support of all member states, in order to be able to fulfil its mandate. Afghanistan looks forward to the Nuclear Security Summit to be held in the United States in early 2016 and to the IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security to be held in December 2016.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to mention the excellent work of the CTBTO and the VCDNP here in Viennaand call on their continued and possible increased training and capacity building opportunities.

Mr. President,

Before closing, let me reiterate that Afghanistan attaches great importance to the IAEA’s technical cooperation projects under the Country Programme Framework and remains confident that more effective use of various activities under the CPF will have greater impact. We certainly would like to encourage increased transfer of know-how and more capacity-building programmes from countries with advanced nuclear and radiological standards, which could also serve as an important step in shifting from mere assistance to proper cooperation.  We value the efforts of the IAEA in all areas in assisting developing countries in gaining further access to nuclear technologies and we believe this must be a priority for the post-2015 development agenda, due to the important role access to energy plays in poverty reduction and improving health and livelihoods in developing nations.

I wish to conclude by reiterating the importance of continued cooperation between Afghanistan and theIAEA in the future and we are grateful for all the assistance we have received thus far.

Thank you, Mr. President

 

 

Afghanistan gains membership of the ISO

Afghanistan became a member of the International Organization For Standardization (ISO)

ISO membership is a major achievement for the government of Afghanistan. Afghanistan previously had the correspondent membership of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Afghanistan did not have the right to vote for the policies of the organization in the past. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a network of national standard bodies which was founded earlier in 1947.

ISO members are the foremost standards organizations in their countries and there is only one member per country, to represent ISO in its country.

The ISO is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations.

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