Poverty remains Afghanistan’s key challenge: CEO
KABBUL (Pajhwok): Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah has said the unity government’s efforts at providing villages with a minimum level of basic services for health, education, clean water, and improved agriculture topped the national development agenda.
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Abdullah said Afghanistan had been making strides to become an economic hub in the region and to establish corridors that connected people, goods and resources, and created opportunities for investment, development and economic growth.
“I am grateful to see in the (UN’s 2030) agenda the importance of implementing special and differential treatment for the LDCs (Least Developed Countries) in accordance with World Trade Organization agreements.”
The CEO called the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda a milestone and said they also supported interconnectivity with other relevant programmes, including the Istanbul Programme of Action for LDCs, the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries (LDCs).
He said they agreed with the notion that the responsibility of follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 agenda lied primarily with states.
He expressed Afghanistan’s firm belief that in order to achieve the ambitious goals of the new agenda, strong political commitment and revitalised global partnership, and cooperation were essential.
“I would like to reaffirm our strong commitment and dedication to implementing this agenda, and our unwavering efforts in fulfilling all its goals and targets by 2030.”
He said the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development offered a compelling vision, promising peace and prosperity to the peoples of the world through global partnerships to ensure that the people lived and managed the resources of the planet in a sustainable manner.
Abdullah said MDGs (millennium development goals) were sadly yet to be met by some countries, focused their attention on result-oriented development, forcing governments and their developmental partners to think through the linkages between policy, delivery, measurement, monitoring, and accountability and voice in public resource mobilization and management.
“Yet, as President Ghani reminds us: the unfinished MDGs agenda in the poorest countries and the unintended consequences of focusing on some goals requires that we pay careful attention to learning and acting on the lessons drawn.”
“Among those lessons is that while the UN system does an excellent job in setting global agendas, its development machinery, requires major transformation if it is to be a catalyst for the 2030 Agenda.”
He said in the case of nations such as Afghanistan, securing agreement on peace before reorienting resources from political and physical security to human security was essential.
He said delivering on the 2030 agenda needed to understand the costs and the trade-offs necessary to ensure sustainable development.
He said the specter cast by terrorism over Afghans’ lives would be lifted if there was true and meaningful cooperation in the arena of peace and security.
He said Afghanistan, as a land-locked, least developed, and conflict-affected country, would benefit profoundly from the new agenda 2030.
In the past 14 years, he said some of Afghan gains had suffered from a lack of consolidation, continuity and sustainability. Afghanistan began to pursue its MDGs almost half a decade later than other member states, he said. “Based on our 2005-2015 MDG report we have had a mix achievements and setbacks.”
He said poverty rate remained constant at around 36 percent for several years, but the Afghans had made considerable progress in primary education, gender equality and women empowerment and reducing child and maternal mortality rates.
However, he said, despite these achievements, security and instability, as well as equal access to basic health services for all citizens remained as key challenges to Afghanistan’s sustained economic growth.
A big part of Afghanistan’s Transformation Decade (2015-2025) coincides with the 2030 development agenda, he said.
Abdullah said Afghanistan would remain committed to developing strategies and policies to integrate their national development agenda with the 2030 development agenda.
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