Security Council Meeting: United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan

Statement by Ambassador Michael Grant, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations

New York, March 14, 2016

Mr. President,

Let me express my appreciation for this opportunity to address the Security Council.

Canada thanks United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for its ongoing, critical work in Afghanistan, and welcomes its latest report to the Security Council. Canada is grateful to SRSG Nicholas Haysom for his briefing today, and his continued dedication and commitment to advance peace, development and human rights in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is now into the second year of its transformation decade (2015 to 2024), a crucial period for strengthening security and moving beyond aid dependence.

We welcome the recent achievements of the Afghan Government in the face of challenging circumstances, including: the elaboration of a new reform agenda; facing a fragile economy; countering an intensifying insurgency; engaging in the peace process; and efforts to strengthen regional economic integration.

Canada supports the Afghan government’s efforts in implementing its critical reform agenda. Through 2017, we are contributing $227 million in bilateral development assistance to support programming in education, health, women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment and humanitarian assistance through capacity building in disaster management.

Improved security remains key to Afghanistan’s short-term stability and to the achievement of its long-term economic and development goals. It will also encourage the return of refugees and help convince Afghans to remain at home and contribute to their country’s future.

While Afghan security forces have stood strong in the face of considerable challenges, the overall increase in violence across much of the country, including mounting civilian casualties, particularly amongst children, points to the need for continued support for the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF). Canada is participating in current NATO-led security efforts by providing $330 million over three years (2015-17) to help sustain the ANDSF.

Canada supports an Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process and welcomes the recent efforts of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group. While peace will not come easily, we are heartened by the Group’s efforts, and call on the Taliban to come to the table and negotiate in good faith.

Critical decisions for a lasting peace cannot be achieved without the participation of major stakeholder groups affected by Afghanistan’s conflict. Canada stresses the importance of ensuring an inclusive peace process that allows the voices of Afghan women to be heard, in line with Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security. In this vein, we welcome the Government of Afghanistan’s recent finalization of its National Action Plan for the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of this resolution.

Canada also continues to call upon the Government of Afghanistan to fully implement the Elimination of Violence Against Women law, and to make every effort to guarantee the participation of women in all facets of Afghan life, free from violence and intimidation. We welcome the Government’s recent steps to strengthen services for women, including through the launch of an emergency fund to assist women victims of violence. We also look forward to the Government of Afghanistan’s completion and implementation of the Women’s Economic Empowerment National Action Plan.

Mr. President, Canada continues to stand with the Afghan people as they strive for a more secure, more prosperous future. We call on Afghanistan’s leaders to redouble their collaborative efforts to keep Afghanistan moving forward on the path towards improved stability, accountability and self-reliance.

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