Delivered by Mrs. Ameirah Alhefeiti Deputy Permanent Representative
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At the outset, I would like to thank SRSG Roza for her briefing and we affirm the UAE’s support for her efforts. I also thank Mr. Griffiths and Ambassador Kamboj for their briefings, as well as Mrs. Mahbouba Seraj for her impactful briefing, which reflects the reality of the difficult situation in Afghanistan and the suffering of the Afghan people, especially women and girls. We appreciate your participation with us today.
What we just heard from our briefers confirms the trends that we have been witnessing in Afghanistan over the past few months. We regret that the new year does not hold promising hopes for the Afghan people. The country is already experiencing the highest levels of food insecurity globally, and two-thirds of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance. As illustrated by the latest wave of restrictions on access to public spaces, which includes public parks, the situation of women and girls is continuing on a downward trajectory and requires a decisive response from the Council. In addition, the deteriorating security situation is exposing the challenges that the Taliban faces in combating terrorist activities as seen in the recent attacks, including the attack against the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul, which the UAE condemned. The UAE will continue to condemn all forms of violence and terrorism aimed at undermining security and stability in Afghanistan.
Taking all these factors into account, I would like to focus today on some areas where we believe the Council can follow a strategic approach if we can work in a collaborative manner.
First, in the face of the latest developments and the lack of response from the de facto authorities to the Council’s calls, it would be tempting for the international community to shut down engagement and double down on attempts to isolate those in power. However, we still believe that there is no alternative to dialogue, and we continue to advocate for pragmatic engagement with the de facto authorities. Isolation will only entrench positions and push the Taliban towards taking more extreme positions.
Second, we must focus on areas where actionable outcomes are possible to achieve. The recent International Conference on Afghan Women’s Education held in Bali is one such example of seeking out ways for international stakeholders to make a real change. In this respect, we welcome the activation of the Afghan Fund announced last September and we look forward to its contribution to providing stability to the economy for the benefit of the Afghan people.
Third, the renewal of UNAMA’s mandate will provide an opportunity for the international community to speak with one voice and to send a clear and firm message to Afghan stakeholders. Despite the unprecedented circumstances, UNAMA has been delivering on the ground on all aspects of its mandate – in the humanitarian, political and economic realm. We hope that the Council can use this mandate renewal as an opportunity to review the strengths and weaknesses of the mandate, to assess what the Mission needs, and to avoid the creation of false dichotomies between priorities related to the Mission’s work.
And finally, Afghanistan is a case study demonstrating how impacts of climate change exacerbate fragility and can sow the seeds of insecurity. As we heard during the Arria Formula meeting in November, Afghanistan is the 6th most at-risk country in the world to climate change. UNAMA’s mandate to monitor and report on the adverse impacts of the drought will allow the humanitarian community to tailor interventions to increase the resilience of Afghani communities. We would welcome hearing about UNAMA’s assessment of the adverse effects of climate change and how the UN, including this Council, can better support and respond to these effects in Afghanistan.
In conclusion, Madam President, we should not surrender to the idea that 2023 will be another difficult year for Afghanistan. It is imperative that the Council stands ready to consider all the possible ways in which it can assist the Afghan people and alleviate their suffering. We all ultimately share a common vision for a stable, self-sufficient, and inclusive Afghanistan, where women and men can equally thrive as productive members of society. The UAE looks forward to continuing working with you all towards achieving this vision.