Afghanistan has entered the transformation decade [fr]
Public debate on Afghanistan - Statement by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 15 March 2016
I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Nicholas Haysom, for his briefing. I also thank Ambassador Saikal of Afghanistan.
I associate myself in advance with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the European Union.
A year and a half after the beginning of the transition, Afghanistan has fully entered the transformation decade. The Government has demonstrated its will to move forward under often difficult circumstances. In that regard, I reiterate France’s support for the Afghan Government to encourage it to continue its efforts undertaken since September 2014. France continues to stand alongside Afghanistan, particularly within the framework of the friendship and cooperation treaty.
The year 2016 began with positive signals, which included initiatives that could lead to a peace process and recent nominations to the High Peace Council and the Ministry of the Interior. However, the Afghan Government has many substantial challenges before it — and they are substantial indeed. At the level of security, the conflict continues to spread, the level of violence unfortunately remains very high and civilians are the main victims. The Afghan National Defence and Security Forces have on the whole managed to maintain control of the situation on the ground and to counter some of the acts of terror in the large cities, despite severe tactical, logistical and organizational difficulties. In that context, the Government should not let up in its efforts, with the support of its international partners, to build its capacities.
At the political level, it is essential to maintain the Government’s unity in a context fraught with tensions. The effective relaunching of the peace process by way of the offer made to the Taliban to hold direct talks — as well as through electoral reform, a more active fight against corruption and the relaunching of the economy, which has been hit by a severe crisis leading to hundreds of thousands of Afghans illegally emigrating to Europe — are all areas in which expectations are particularly high.
The illicit economy, and in particular drug trafficking, are major impediments to the security and development of Afghanistan. This trafficking, together with the illegal exploitation of mineral resources, is the main resource for the armed insurrection. A high level of corruption persists, which stifles the development of legal economic activities, while constituting a major public health issue.
Important steps have been taken since the Government took office, including the adoption of a national action plan. Those steps must be maintained and strengthened, with the assistance of the United Nations. In that context, we welcome the call of resolution 2274 (2016), which was adopted today, to review, in close consultation with the Afghan Government, the United Nations role in supporting the fight against the illicit economy, including drug trafficking, and in encouraging international cooperation.
Finally, the situation of women and children remains worrying. It is essential that the authorities and Afghan civil society continue to mobilize to fully implement the national action plan on women and peace and security adopted in 2015 in line with resolution 1325 (2000) by establishing appropriate financing mechanisms. It is also vital for the Afghan Government to continue to implement its commitments in the area of protecting children in armed conflict arising from the 2011 and 2014 action plans. The recent conclusions drawn by the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict will provide a useful road map for Afghanistan and the United Nations in that area. The response to those challenges will be important in the creation of the conditions for the voluntary and sustainable return of Afghan citizens who have sought refuge outside the country, which the Government has made one of its priorities. In this fragile context, the international community must continue to support Afghanistan as it moves towards greater stability, prosperity and democracy. The conferences in Brussels and Warsaw later this year will offer many opportunities to reaffirm that message.
While Afghanistan continues its political and security transition, the support of the United Nations, in particular for the Government, remains essential, especially to make it possible for the people to benefit from Government programmes and international assistance. The resolution we have just adopted this morning reiterates the UNAMA’s central role, which embodies the will of the international community to continue to support Afghanistan. We attach great importance to the United Nations continuing to be availed of the means necessary to achieve that goal.
In conclusion, allow me to praise the work of all United Nations personnel in Afghanistan, who are working under especially difficult circumstances.