Survival will be an achievement for the Afghan unity govt for 2016: UN envoy
By Khaama Press - Tue Mar 15 2016, 9:49 pm
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Nicholas Haysom has said survival will be an achievement for the Government of National Unity for 2016 amid deteriorating security, economic and political situation in the country.
Briefing the United Nations Security Council earlier this evening, Mr. Haysom said “Survival does not mean inaction, or treading water; it means active engagement in confronting these challenges.”
Mr. Haysom further added that Afghanistan is being as severely tested in 2016 as it was in 2015 in managing its political, economic and security challenges.
Haysom said the National Unity Government will need to overcome a contracting economy, an intensifying insurgency and an increasingly divided political environment in a bid to survive in 2016.
“In the face of calls for reviewing the current political framework, the United Nations and the international community have made it clear to all stakeholders that it stands firmly behind the National Unity Government,” Haysom said.
The UN envoy went on to say that in the coming months the international community will make critical decisions on the level and type of assistance it will provide to Afghanistan.
“As the country continues to rely on external funding sources for 69 per cent of government expenditures, failure by the international community to pledge a medium-term commitment to Afghanistan will have a devastating impact, both materially and on the levels of confidence of ordinary Afghans,” he said.
Above all, he stressed, the greatest challenge facing Afghanistan is progress toward a sustainable peace. “Afghans want peace; they deserve peace; but most importantly they need peace,” he stressed, characterizing a successful peace process as one that will require the support of neighbouring countries and the wider region.
“With the increasing regional dimension of terrorism, it will be important for the region to collaborate on a common approach to this shared threat, as well as to act in support of Afghanistan’s peace initiatives,” said the envoy. “We have called, repeatedly, and will continue to call, for nothing less than direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan Government.”
Whatever the eventual path forward, said the envoy, the United Nations will encourage the full participation of women in any peace process so as to ensure that women’s voices are heard and that their rights are protected.
In addition to outlining the many challenges facing Afghanistan, and the need for a sustainable peace, Mr. Haysom called attention to the numbers of civilians killed and wounded in the conflict in 2015 and into 2016.
“It is no longer sufficient for parties to the conflict to make public statements on the need to avoid civilian casualties,” he said. “They must change the way they conduct the war.”
Mr. Haysom’s remarks follow the Security Council’s adoption of a resolution to renew UNAMA’s mandate for one year, through March 2017. “UNAMA welcomes its refreshed mandate adopted by this Council today,” he said. “And we reassure you of our commitment to the ever more effective discharge of our mandate for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan.”