Summary: 27 June 2012, New York - Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Security Council Debate on the situation in Afghanistan (UNAMA)
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU.
The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, and Armenia, align themselves with this statement.
Like others I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report and Under-Secretary General Hervé Ladsous for his briefing. I also thank UNODC and Ambassador Tanin for their statements.
Mr. President, it is important that the international community takes a holistic view of its post-2014 engagement in Afghanistan, given the correlation between security and long-term development.
The recent conferences held in Chicago and Kabul have been instrumental in this regard. They have refined and further developed the relationship between the international community and the Afghan government. In the same vein the upcoming Tokyo Conference should focus on reviewing and renewing mutual commitments by the international community and the Afghan Government.
I will briefly touch upon the topics addressed at both conferences and look ahead to Tokyo.
The NATO summit in Chicago set out plans to sustain and develop the Afghan National Security Forces. At the summit the EU stressed the importance of a refocus of Afghan National Police on civilian policing and supporting the rule of law. Fair and impartial policing is essential if justice and human rights, especially those of women and children, are to be promoted. We therefore announced that the EU will increase its police funding by 20% from the EU budget over the period 2011-2013, and also that the EU plans to make an enhanced contribution post-2014.
The recent Ministerial conference in Kabul highlighted the important role countries in the region have to play in supporting conflict resolution, better security and development in Afghanistan. We therefore welcome the agreement reached in Kabul on confidence building measures to further regional cooperation.
Acknowledging that regional initiatives must be regionally owned and lead, the EU stands ready to support these measures. The EU has considerable experience and knowledge on how to advance regional cooperation.
The upcoming Tokyo conference will provide an excellent opportunity for the Afghan Government to set out its development strategy for the country.
The EU is ready to make an enhanced contribution to support for Afghanistan. But this must be in the context of the Afghan government fulfilling the commitments of the Kabul and Bonn conferences, as well as the commitments in the Mutual Accountability Framework to be agreed in Tokyo.
This means, inter alia, first of all the peaceful transfer of power in 2014 as a result of inclusive, credible and transparent presidential and parliamentary elections;
Second, further progress is required on the management of public finances, in particular the implementation of the IMF recommendations;
Third, domestic revenue collection needs to be increased through the development of more efficient, transparent and accountable customs and tax systems;
Fourth, guaranteed respect for human rights, in particular women and children, including support for an independent and active civil society;
Fifth, reform of the justice sector to promote the rule of law.
Without tangible progress in these five areas it will be difficult for donors to maintain their support to the Government of Afghanistan.
Donors also need to make good on their commitments. The EU will press for better coordination of donor support and a better alignment between the Afghan Government and donors on priorities. We will also actively promote a better use of international mechanisms, all of course in close coordination with UNAMA.
Finally, it is essential that all resources made available are transparently and accountably managed. With regards to the latter we are pleased to note that UNDP reacted promptly to the alleged accusations of mismanagement at the Law and Order Trust Fund (LOTFA) by launching a full investigation. We await the conclusions of that investigation, the outcome of which will be important as regards our envisaged financial support for the Afghan National Police.
In conclusion, Mr. President,
The outcomes of these conferences will structure international long-term engagement in Afghanistan beyond the end of Transition through the Transformation Decade, as agreed to last year in Bonn.
As we move beyond Transition, the United Nations has an essential role to play. UNAMA should have the resources and the political support needed to assume that role. Its work will be of key importance in supporting the preparations for the upcoming elections, monitoring the human rights and humanitarian situation, and in making coordination bodies - like the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board - work more effectively.
The aim of our overall strategy in Afghanistan remains clear, to support Afghanistan on its path towards becoming a more peaceful, democratic and prosperous society.
* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of EFTA and the European Economic Area.