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Ambassador Erfani at the Paris Pact Policy Consultative meeting

Intervention by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN and other International Organisations in Vienna at the 11th Paris Pact

Policy Consultative Meeting  . September  29, 2014 

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Thank you, Mr. Jean Luc Lemahieu, our dear friend, Director for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs at UNODC, for your remark.  Let me welcome DM Azhar to today’s meeting who provided a detailed briefing of Afghanistan’s ongoing efforts,  new progress and challenges that the people of Afghanistan,  as a prime victim, are facing from the global menace of illicit Drugs.

I would like to thank the UNODC and the Paris Pact  Secretariat for organizing  this two day Policy Consultative Meeting,  which provides us all with 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.

Afghanistan, after 13 years of efforts, supported by the International Community, is about to complete its decade long transition process to the decade of Transformation, aiming at a free, stable and, democratic and prosperous country.

One of the main elements of our Transition to the Decade of Transformation, a strong desire and aspiration of the Afghan people, was to participate in a free election and choose their future president. Today as I’m talking here, the people of Afghanistan are celebrating  the first ever transfer of power from one elected president to the new elected president in the country and the government of National Unity is about to be established.   This is a strong step toward a better future for the Afghan people.

Besides our historic achievements, we are still facing numerous challenges, among them the drug problem, of which Afghanistan has been a prime victim. I can assure you that, in our on-going efforts through the Transition Process to the Decade of Transformation, fighting this global challenge, which is affecting our society and feeding terrorism, will be one of the main priorities of the new Government. President Ashraf Ghani, who was inaugurated today in Kabul, has reiterated this in his first presidential speech.

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.

We are strongly committed to do our part at the national, regional and international levels, in fighting drug challenges not just because we in Afghanistan are a victim of this menace, but also as we consider it our strong obligation to be a committed member of the International community to meet our international obligations for a safe, stable and developed world.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank our friends and partners in the IC for supporting Afghanistan. We are grateful for their friendship and sacrifices, as well as for their commitments to post-2014 Afghanistan.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I wish you all a productive meeting.

The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan hosts a Colloquium on Perspectives on Afghan Women

Vienna, 10.07.2014

Ms Naderi, MP, Ambassador Erfani and Ms Seraj at the panel discussion.

Ms Naderi, MP, Ambassador Erfani and Ms Seraj at the panel discussion.

Today, the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan hosted a colloquium on “Perspectives on Afghan Women: 2014 and beyond”. The event was made possible with the support of the UNODC and ACUNS, and took place at the Vienna International Center.

 

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani opened the colloquium with a statement which started by thanking the international community for the support it has given to Afghanistan. He also highlighted the growing participation of women in all levels of government and civil society, which was embodied in the two guest panelists, Ms. Farkhunda Naderi, a current member of the Afghan National Assembly, and Ms. Mahbouba Seraj, Executive Board Member and Chair of the Afghan Women’s Network.

 

After a second short welcoming statement by UNODC Director Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Ms. Naderi took the floor, giving a passionate statement which highlighted the progress that Afghanistan has made over the past 13 years, but also its many remaining challenges regarding women’s rights.  She praised the Afghan people on its determination and courage in nourishing democracy, as seen by impressive voter turnout rates, especially for women, in its recent presidential election.

 

Ms. Naderi was followed by Ms. Seraj and gave an equally fervent address entreating the international community to maintain its support for Afghanistan, as democracy in the country “has just taken its first steps and must be allowed to grow”. She also stressed the importance of engaging the youth, calling them the brightest hope for the country’s future.

 

A Q&A session followed, where questions touched on a breadth of topics such as the emerging role of women in the area of security and the sovereignty of Afghanistan and its relationship with the International Community.

 

Ambassador Erfani closed the colloquium by thanking all those who helped organize the event, as well as all participants, stating that this dialogue provided “renewed energy” to continue the conversation about women in Afghanistan and the decade of transformation. He emphasized the role that men also have in improving women’s rights in Afghanistan and reiterated the commitment of the Afghan government to improving the role of women in Afghan society. He concluded by signifying how vital the continued support of the International Community is during this period and the gratitude for their support thus far.

 

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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.

Press release 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

H.E Ambassador Ayoob Erfani attended the meeting of the World Drug Report 2014 on 13 June 2014 where he spoke with much  on the considerable progress made in different parts of the world on counter narcotics. H. E. Erfani stressed the importance of mutual cooperation to successfully combat  illicit narcotics. Also, H.E. highlighted common effort directed towards mutual responsibility and respect.

H.E. Erfani emphasized the importance of the drug issue to Afghanistan, and stressed its commitment in continuous efforts to create a strong legal foundation and policy environment for countering the menace of narcotics. H.E. Erfani dwelled on the ongoing revision of 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. Also, the development of multiple policies in key areas of alternative livelihood, law enforcement, demand reduction, regional and international cooperation as well as public awareness were signified.

H.E. Erfani stated that due to the successful implementation of Counter Narcotic policies, 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. However, there is still work to be done. For example, effective demand reduction measures and target-aimed alternative livelihood programs are needed to address the issue of narcotics menace in the country.

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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.

 

 

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani addresses the annual session of the UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch Field Experts

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani was invited to make a keynote presentation at today’s annual session of field experts from UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch, in order to share Afghanistan’s experiences and efforts at the national, regional, and international level to combat terrorism.

In his opening remarks, H.E. the Ambassador commended the work of UNODC’s counter-terrorism experts against the global threat of terrorism and, in particular, appreciated the continued efforts and partnership of UNODC with Afghanistan in this field.

H.E., the Ambassador, provided a comprehensive picture of Afghanistan’s experiences. He outlined Afghanistan’s successes and challenges, achievements and ongoing progress, and made general remarks on how terrorism impacts his country, the region and the world as a whole. “Afghanistan was once a stable and peaceful nation, until it became a prime target and victim of terrorism, which has had detrimental consequences to the country’s political and security institutions, society and economy”.

Ambassador Erfani stated that since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghanistan has come a long way, from being a lawless country, an epicenter of international terrorism and a source of regional instability. Afghanistan has begun re-building its national institutions, has established the foundations of democratic society and moved to a market economy, and has adopted a constitution that protects the rights of all its citizens, especially women and children. He added that a successful counter-terrorism strategy needs a comprehensive approach, including economic, security and political aspects. Such an approach requires sincere cooperation among all States, in particular in the region surrounding Afghanistan. The Ambassador talked about the ongoing transition process in the country, as the beginning of a new era of equitable partnership between sovereign Afghanistan and its partners in the international community.  The upcoming 2014 presidential elections will be a milestone in Afghanistan’s democratization process, and the government is doing its upmost to guarantee a free and fair election, and ensure a successful transition to a decade of transformation.

Additionally, the reconciliation process remains one of Afghanistan’s most urgent priorities and the government of Afghanistan is strongly committed to an Afghan led and Afghan owned peace process. This includes all Afghans who are ready to renounce violence, denounce terrorism, accept the constitution, and respect human rights, especially those of women and children. “Without the active participation of Afghan women, which constitute more than 50% of Afghanistan’s population, there will not be a stable, just and prosperous Afghanistan”.

The Ambassador concluded his presentation by urging the global community to keep in mind that Afghanistan is a moderate society, which remains at the forefront of the fight against terrorism and extremism; and urges the international community to remain committed in their support of Afghanistan for the cause of peace and stability. He reminded attendees that terrorist networks and ideological centers are not present in Afghan towns and villages, terrorism operate primarily from its centers based outside Afghanistan.

“In order to contribute to the fight against terrorism, Afghanistan is party to all relevant regional and international legal instruments, and strongly encourages other States to commit to the same degree”. The Ambassador encourages States which are using terrorism as a foreign policy instrument to desist from doing so. Ambassador Erfani also recommended that UNODC further enhance its efforts in building national capacities.

Following the presentation, Ambassador Erfani answered questions raised by participants.

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Presentation by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani To the annual session of field experts from UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch

Dear colleagues, dear participant ladies and gentleman, good morning.

It is a pleasure for me to participate in today’s annual session of field experts from UNOD’s terrorism prevention branch, to share with you our experiences from Afghanistan in dealing with counter-terrorism and the lessons we have drawn from this. Today, I will share with you the experiences drawn from Afghanistan, which is the prime victim of and an active partner against international terrorism as a global challenge. I will also talk about our successes, achievements, ongoing progress, remaining challenges and I will be happy to have an interactive discussion with you on this subject.

To begin with, I would like to express my gratitude to UNODC for the assistance it has given Afghanistan, and I appreciate the continued efforts and partnership of UNODC with Afghanistan in this field.

Terrorism and extremism did not exist in Afghanistan two decades ago, however during the period of war and inner turmoil in the country, terrorist organizations and radical elements moved to the country and Afghanistan, which was once a stable and peaceful nation, became a prime target and victim of terrorism, which had detrimental consequences for the country’s political and security institutions, society and economy.

Each and every day, Afghan men, women and children wake up with the fear that another brutal act of terror will occur, killing or maiming another family member or fellow citizen. Through suicide and roadside bombings, attacks on our clinics and schools, markets places and mosques, terror and violence continue to deprive the Afghan people from their rights for a peaceful life.

Dear participants ,

Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 Afghanistan has come a long way, from being a lawless country, an epicenter of international terrorism and a source of regional instability. Afghanistan has begun re-building its national institutions, has established the foundations of democratic society and moved to a market economy, and has adopted a constitution that protects the rights of all its citizens, especially those of women and children.

These achievements were made through the unprecedented commitment of the international community, with the central coordinating role of the United Nations. Yet, many challenges remain – the greatest being to fight terrorism and to establish lasting peace across the whole country, and to free Afghans from decades of violence and conflict.

Afghanistan is firmly committed to defeating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and has, in this regard, spared no effort at the national, regional and international levels. Over the past 12 years since the fall of Taliban, together with our international partners, we have significantly weakened the overall capabilities of terrorist networks. As a result of our counter-terrorism efforts, a considerable number of terrorists have been curtailed in their brutal efforts, and captured, while others are being pursued.  Our state institutions have thwarted a significant number of terrorist plots across the country. Consistent with the process of Transition, the Afghan national army and police today are assuming the primary role in all security activities across 90% of Afghanistan, including counter-terrorism operations.

Our counter-terrorism policies are a key part of our national security strategy. To that effect, we have further strengthened our counter-terrorism legal framework. Afghanistan is party to all international conventions, protocols and instruments concerning terrorism, and we have adopted a multitude of national laws to combat terrorism and other forms of organized crime.  These include the Law on Combating the Financing of Terrorism; the Law on Combating Terrorist Offences; and the Law on Combating Money Laundering.

Afghanistan continues close collaboration with a wide range of relevant actors, comprising the counter-terrorism implementation task force. We encourage States which are using terrorism as a foreign policy instrument to desist from doing so and join the international community to fight this challenge. We would like the UNODC to further enhance its efforts in addressing terrorism.

We are working closely with the three counter-terrorism committees of the Security Council: the 1373, Committee’ the 1267 Committee and the 1540 Committee. In this regard, we have submitted relevant national reports on implementation, the most recent of which was our 2nd report to the 1540 Committee.

At the regional level, we are intensifying cooperation and dialogue with regional partners through bilateral, trilateral and multilateral regional processes to effectively deal with the problems of terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations.  Most recently, during the “Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Almaty” Afghanistan and its regional partners reaffirmed their commitment to ensure peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and our region by implementing a broad set of confidence-building measures (CBM’s), which include counter-terrorism cooperation

A successful counter-terrorism strategy needs a comprehensive approach, including economic, security and political aspects. Such an approach requires sincere cooperation among all States, in particular in the region surrounding Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is now in an absolutely crucial phase. The process of transitioning security responsibilities to Afghan National Security Forces is reaching its final stages. As I speak, the security for over 90 percent of the Afghan population is led by Afghan Security Forces.  Afghanistan’s national security forces amount to 350,000 soldiers, and they will do their best to defend Afghanistan against any internal and external threats. From our perspective, transition is the beginning of a new era of equitable partnership between a sovereign Afghanistan and its partners in the international community during the decade of transformation and beyond.

Alongside this security transition, the peace and reconciliation process is a national priority, based on the conviction that dialogue is the most practical means for ending the conflict that plagues our country. The government of Afghanistan is strongly committed to an Afghan led and Afghan owned peace process. This includes all Afghans who are ready to renounce violence, denounce terrorism, accept the constitution, and respect human rights, especially those of women and children. “Without the active participation of Afghan women, which constitute more than 50% of Afghanistan’s population, there will not be a stable, just and prosperous Afghanistan”.

The upcoming 2014 presidential elections will be a milestone in Afghanistan’s democratization process, and the government is doing its upmost to guarantee a free and fair election, and ensure a successful transition to a decade of transformation, which is against the will of terrorist elements in our region.

Dear Participants,

We all must keep in our minds that Afghanistan as a traditional moderate society, that strongly stands against all forms of terrorism and extremism, urgently needs a peaceful life and the international community must remain committed in their support for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. Terrorist networks and ideological centers are not present in Afghan towns and villages, they operate primarily from their centers and sanctuaries based outside Afghanistan.

As a country that has been at the forefront in the fight against terrorism, Afghanistan has suffered immensely in terms of human and material loss. A significantly high number of Afghans, including civilians, tribal and religious figures, law-enforcement personnel and government officials have lost their lives as a result of terrorism.   Nevertheless, such attacks will not deter our commitment to achieving lasting peace and security.  We are firmly committed to making sure that the sacrifices made along the way will not go in vain. We, in Afghanistan, will remain as resolute as ever in our partnership with the international community to fight against terrorism, and secure a better life for our future generation.

Thank you!

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) undertakes efforts to counteract drugs, crime and terrorism by promoting health, justice and security. It adopts an integrated approach in dealing with drugs, crime and terrorism. It also promotes regional security and cooperation by mainstreaming criminal justice into peacekeeping and peace-building operations. The PM of Afghanistan engages with UNODC in various areas, such as crime, terrorism, strengthening of law enforcements, human trafficking, yet the main focus area represents the fight against illicit drugs. Afghanistan has benefited from legal and technical assistance to prevent terrorism, to combat international crime and human trafficking. The UNODC Country Programme on Afghanistan represents a large-scale, long-term effort in tackling the illicit drugs problem in Afghanistan by seeking to eradicate illicit crops and create alternative sustainable livelihoods.

Photos

 

Statement by Ambassador Erfani at UNODC 4th Session of the Review Group

UNODC 4th Session of the Review Group ( 27-31 May 2013, BR-D, C Building)

H.E. Ambassador Erfani, Statement

Background Information:

The Implementation Review Group was established by the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption in its resolution 3/1  entitled ‘Review Mechanism’ as an open-ended intergovernmental group of states parties to operate under its authority and report to it.  The Group is to have an overview of the review process in order to identify challenges and good practices and to consider technical assistance requirements in order to ensure effective implementation of the Convention.

A briefing for permanent missions to the UN in Vienna was held on Monday 18th of March 2013, on the requirements of the Mechanisms for the Review of Implementation of the UNCAC and arrangeents forseen for the fourth session of the Implementation Review Group. The Conference adopted resolution 4/1 entitled ‘Mechanism for the Review of Implementation of the UNCAC’ at its fourth session held in Marrakech, Morocco, 24-28 October 2011. In that Resolution the Conference endorsed the guidelines for governmental experts and the secretariat in the conduct of country reviews and the blueprint for country review reports.

UNCAC and Afghanistan

Afghanistan became a signatory of the UNCAC in 2004, the Convention was then ratified in 2008. The government of Afghanistan undertook a series of measures to combat corruption. UNODC and other international bodies undertook studies aimed at providing an analysis of the prevalence and problems related to corruption. The UNCAC is particularly important for Afghanistan given its tumultous past and the transition period it has embarked on in recent years. Hence, the combating of corruption is essential for the country’s political and economic development, the strenghtening of the Rule of Law and the fair, even improvements made in the quality of living standards. According to UNCAC, corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish. Therefore, any success in combating corruption will have a direct, positive effect in combating terrorism, the illicit drugs trade and organized crime.

The United Nations’ objectives against administrative corruption are aimed at the following targets:

1- Improving actions against administrative corruption in order to make them more sufficient and effective.

2- Spread, facilitate and support international and technical assistance in the prevention and fight against administrative corruption.

3- Dispersing of deposits, answering for or accountability and proper administration of public affairs and common property.

Definitions of Corrpution and Typologies:

Corruption can be encountered in various forms, therefore it can be defined in several ways. According to the Afghan Strategy for Anti-Corruption, corruption in the administrative  sphere represents any acts which lead to the abuse of public properties for personal benefit and can often sometimes be construed as taking bribes. However corruption exists in many other forms in addition to the two above mentioned types. For instance, nepotism, cronyism, intercession, influencing actions to gain of personal benefits, illegal use of government income, not paying taxes, money laundering, theft of public properties, defalcation, embezzlement, the cultivation, production and smuggling of drugs, election violation, etc.

As administrative corruption is against the legal activities, it is also counted as national, cultural, economic and historical benefits violation of the society and country. Corruption is imposed on the people and society in an organized manner inside the structure of the government either by corrupt bands of individuals and separately by persons. Any type of corruption is a crime and deverves its punishment. Corruption hampers economic and social development and causes difficultiues in the law and social justice.

Corruption usually affects the life of poor people and disrupts the strategies of the government in implementing projects targeted at poverty reduction. Corruption creates dissatisfaction, distrust and causes distances between the people and governmental units. Although a decisive solution for this issue requires long-term efforts, taking measures and outlining an effective draft in the national strategic agenda has crucial value that can be achieved through public awareness and attraction of public cooperation so that an effective and gradual struggle can be launched.

UNODC Research in Afghanistan on Corruption

According to a study conducted by UNODC in Afghanistan in 2012 political corruption very often receives the greatest attention due to its visible impact on political decision-making and good governance. Still the pervasive and devastating impact of administrative corruption in the everyday lives of Afghan people receives considerable less publicity. A survey conducted in 2009 by UNODC in Afghanistan pointed out that corruption, together with insecurity and unemployment represent the main challenges facing the country, these having been listed ahead of poverty and extenal inteference in the government sphere. A survey conducted by UNODC in 2012 listed corruption on the second spot, behind insecurity and ahead of unemployment as the principal challenges facing Afghanistan.  The findings also revealed that the delivery of public services remains severely affected by bribery, something which also has a major impact on the country’s economy. Furthermore certain worrying trends have emerged, such as an increase in the frequency of bribery and the vulnerability of the educational sector to corruption.

According to surveys the population of Afghanistan believs that corruption is a major problem in their country, furthermore this problem affects their confidence in the elected government. A large part of the people who had participated in the survey (UNODC lead project, 2012) have confessed to have paid bribery several times or regularly during a certain period of time. Corruption and implicitly bribery are encountered in all spheres of society, be it the government, the civil service, the health and education systems, and lastly, the economy. The process of contracting, administration and investment of international funds and development aid also represent spheres in which corruption unfortunatley is to be encountered as well and can potentially hinder the implementation of development prpgrammes and diminish delivery rates. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the USD 8bn of international annual aid pledged to the Afghanistan beyond 2014 can easily be robbed by the endemic corruption existing in the government.

In spite of existing legislation and adherence to international conventions and treaties aimed at tackling corruption, this problem persists and is considered to be one of the greatest afflictions to the country and its present government. When it comes to the illicit drugs and the cultivation of poppy fields, together with all the activities associated with drugs trade, consumption and smuggling, corruption represents the engine which fuells such pernicious activities.

The reasons for this state of affairs are various. In the case of civil servants, low pay is often cited as the motive for which individuals accept bribes and consider these to be harmeless and acceptable.  A certain type of culture which tolerated these acts and favoured nepotism was aslo prevalent in  Afghanistan during the past century. Because the government had often found it difficult in the past to extend its sphere of influence into tribal, rural areas, practices related to corruption could not be effectively scrutinized and properly addressed.

Efforts Undertaken by the Governmnet of Afghanistan against Corruption

According to the Strategy and Policy for Anti-Corruption and Administrative Reform (the first commission was held in 2006), corruption is mostly imposed in an oppressive manner and some corruption is based on unholy alliances between internal parties, therefore it happens based on unholy treaties  between parties. Any type of corruption is prohibited and is in violation with existing legal regulations, national benefit and humanitarian values.

At present, the Ministry of Finance in Afghanistan, as the main collector of revenues and customs taxes find itself in a favorable position to combat corruption and create a good reputation for the government of Afghanistan. In this respect, an Anti-Corruption Programme was launched as a prevention and awareness raising method to tackle corruption. Additionally, it also provides a complaints mechanism with a telephone hotline and an online complaints form. A set of procedures were put in place so that all complaints can be dealt with consistently and legally. Generally speaking, in order to address the issue of corruption the Ministry of Finance also seeks to promote good governance best practices within the public sector. In August 2006, President Hamid Karzai gave a Presidential Decree regarding the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Commission and Reforms in the Civil Service. Following this procedure, a commission was established. This is responsible for drafting strategies, procedures regarding institutional reforms, and combating corruption through designing long –term, medium- term, and short- term plans in three months; and for reporting back their conclusions to the Office of the President of IRA.

Present Situation and a Way Forward

After three decades of ongoing war, the remaining framework for governance, their structure and administrative systems were obsolete and had a nepotism style that could not organize nor provide the kind of public services required by the existing situation. In addition, the assignment of persons and employees had no rational and appropriate basis which had caused further corruption and disorder. Structural expansion was subsequently identified as one of the significant factors in corruption.

Still, at present inappropriate appointments and selections take place based on relationships rather than regulation; its undesirable results are clear and obvious to all. Political and partisan relationships, tribal and regional relationships, family relationships, bribing in appointing and then continuously paying of bribes for appointments and transfers were often taking place. It continues to be mostly seen that people are appointed, transferred and promoted in the government administrations based on their tribal and regional relationships. Therefore this created an unhealthy social and work environment.

However I would also like to mention that as in every society, corruption and bribery are not exclusive to the employees of the public sector or to local inhabitants, and Afghanistan is no exception. Various different individuals, groups, entities and organizations external to the public administration of Afghanistan, such as the private business sector, may demand illicit payments in retun of certain favors or preferential treatment.

The government of Afghanistan are activelty trying to reduce corruption and punish those responsible using legal mecchanism which are in place. The UNCAC has provided us with a framework for operation and instruments that have helped our country deal with corruption. We are realsitic and I admit that any system infected with corruption can not change over night, furthermore, I doubt there is a country where there are zero levels of corruption. However, the government of Afghanistan is conscious that corruption is a highly serious matter for our country and our population, that is why reducing it is our primary goal. We consider that the upcoming elections in 2014 will represent a test for our government and our commitment to UNCAC and its improved effectiveness, one which we will pass, I am confident, demonstrating that fair and free elections can successfully be achieved.

Closing Remarks

Your Excellencies, dear friends and colleagues, thank you very much for your attention.