"Afghanistan in Transition - 2014 and Beyond"
H.E. Mr. Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai,
Minister Advisor to the Afghan President on Home Security & Secretary-General of the High Peace Council of Afghanistan
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
Theatre, United Nations
Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, Minister Advisor to the Afghan President on Home Security and Secretary General of the High Peace Council of Afghanistan, was at the UN in Bangkok to deliver an insightful talk about the latest developments in Afghanistan as they pertain to the country's national priorities, regional cooperation, and the role of the international community in the process of transition in 2014. The special presentation on 18 January 2012 was a joint initiative between UNESCAP and UNDP APRC and Country Office.
Addressing an audience of over 80 people from various UN agencies, the government’s high representative talked frankly about the long road from costly recovery to a brighter future of a politically stable and economically viable Afghanistan. He highlighted his country's strategic priorities: peace, reconciliation and reintegration, ensuring Afghan sovereignty; improving governance and fighting corruption. He also pointed to key sectors that need investment: agriculture, water, mining, energy infrastructure, trade and transit, health and education. "Afghanistan left a turbulent year behind: assassinations of government officials, political and tribal leaders, and spectacular attacks on targets in major cities have eroded public confidence while significantly reducing Taliban popularity; but for the first time since 2005 the trend of insecurity has been reversed", said Minister Stanekzai. He asserted that being in the hearth of Asia, the country needs improved regional cooperation that replaces confrontation. Minister Stanekzai held firm on his vision about a "future shaped with Afghan leadership and international support" and shared his greatest source of hope - young Afghan men and women who are not carrying the baggage of past conflict and divisions.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Shun-ichi Murata, Deputy Executive Secretary and O-I-C, a.i., ESCAP welcomed Minister Stanekzai and pointed out that “ Given his first hand policy experience, Minister Stanekzai is ideally positioned to share with us his vision of Afghanistan’s future as the country moves forward with transition and the implementation of its National Priority Programmes”. Mr. Murata reiterated that the UN attaches a high priority to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs). “I am pleased to say that ESCAP, as the regional arm of the United Nations in Asia-Pacific region, has been working closely with other UN agencies and development partners to assist the countries with special needs, including Afghanistan through the implementation of the global and regional mandates.” , said Mr. Murata.
Many questions were raised after the presentation: about negotiations with insurgents, the plight of women and ethnic minorities and the role of the Afghan Diaspora. There is an on-going dialogue between the UN community and Afghan government about the next UN Development Assistance Framework 2014-2018, which should be rolled out soon. The meeting with the Afghan representative was a rare opportunity for the UN community to learn firsthand from the government’s senior representative.