Security Council Debate: UNAMA

Statement by H.E. Lise Gregoire-van Haaren, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations

New York, 21 December 2017

Thank you Mr. President,

First of all, I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for Japan’s excellent contribution as penholder in our discussion on Afghanistan.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is honored to be the new penholder from January 2018 onward. We are looking forward to working closely with Security Council members, Afghanistan, regional countries, donors and others, to ensure our contribution will be meaningful, and for which we can build on the excellent work of Japan.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands  aligns itself with the statement by the European Union.

I would like to thank Special Representative Mr. Yamamoto, Executive Director of UNODC, Mr. Yury Fedotov and the Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan, Mr. Kairat Umarov for their dedicated work and Ms. Wazma Frogh for her valuable briefing and meaningful contribution to the High Peace Council. We appreciate the thorough report of the Secretary General on the situation in Afghanistan.

Many today have spoken of the developments described in the report, such as the continued threat of terrorism, the severe increase of cultivation of drugs and the lack of meaningful progress on the peace process, all of which underline the need to stay focused on supporting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

I will not repeat what has been said by many already, but would like to focus today on three issues for this debate, in the spirit of the important work of Ms. Wazma Frogh on Women, Peace and Security:

  1. The leadership of the Afghan government on women empowerment
  2. The role of the UN, including UNAMA, in strengthening the position of women in Afghanistan
  3. Commitment of The Kingdom of the Netherlands to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan with a special focus on women’s rights.

1. The leadership of the Afghan government

Two months ago, a team of six Afghan girls visited the Netherlands to participate in the artificial intelligence summit, where they presented a self-built solar powered robot that can help farmers in the field. The difference couldn’t be greater with the Taliban-rule era, when women were marginalised to the point of complete invisibility. Today Afghan women can, and indeed do, become engineers, police officers, judges, politicians, civil society activists and  teachers.

But the potential of Afghan women is far from fullfilled. Increasing women’s participation in all aspects of Afghan society will contribute significantly to a more stable and prosperous Afghanistan. We therefore welcome the personal leadership of both President Ghani and First Lady Rula Ghani, who made women empowerment a top priority.

We particularly welcome the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, and the National Priority Programme for Women’s Economic Empowerment. We call on the Afghan government to continue to fund and implement these programmes with much vigor and determination, and to continue to consult civil society organisations in this process.

2. The role of the UN

The Kingdom of the Netherlands  agrees with the Secretary-General, as he outlined in his report, that the international community’s support to Afghanistan should remain focused on peace and stability.

Here, the role of women is again of great importance, their voice should be heard and will add value. An Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process can only achieve lasting results when women and youth can participate in a meaningful way. In this respect, the UN should lead and inspire by example. We encourage UNAMA and this Council to follow-up on the recommendations of the Council’s Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security, that met on the 5th of December. In particular, we call on UNAMA to redouble efforts on increasing the number of female local staff in the mission.

3. Our continuing commitment to Afghanistan

Sixteen years ago, Afghanistan became one of the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ closest partners in security and development cooperation. The position of Afghan women has been and will remain a major focus of our partnership in a decade of ever more Afghan ownership and leadership. To support the Afghan National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, we contribute to its local implementation through the 2 million euro Safhe Jaded programme, that contributes to increased security and justice for women and girls.

Mr. President, let me conclude by reaffirming once again our continued support to Afghanistan, and our readiness to contribute to the work of this Council on supporting peace, security and development in Afghanistan during our membership in 2018.

Thank you.

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