Norway would like to thank the Secretary General for his extensive report on Afghanistan. Several achievements have been made in Afghanistan during the Bonn Process, in particular in building a democratic framework. However, as the Secretary General points out, Afghanistan still faces tremendous challenges.
At the London Conference, we renewed our joint commitments to the Afghan people. Norway fully endorsed the Afghanistan Compact and the Interim Afghanistan National Development Strategy. These documents provide the necessary framework for further development to take place in Afghanistan, and for our continued long term support. Norway was pleased to pledge financial support to Afghanistan for the coming five-year period.
A comprehensive approach to peacebuilding is necessary in Afghanistan, and Norway therefore fully supports the three pillars of the Afghanistan Compact. The plans are ambitious. The focus now must be on implementing the Development Strategy and on reaching the benchmarks of the Afghanistan Compact. For the Afghan people it is important to see that peace brings development.
We have four remarks regarding the main tasks ahead:
Norway remains concerned about the deteriorating security situation. The increase in violent attacks - including suicide bombings - is worrying. However, this does not change our commitment to Afghanistan and to ISAF. We are reinforcing our presence in the north, including in the PRT in Meymaneh. Norway believes that strengthening security sector reform is vital for building sustainable peace. Rule of law must be provided through a strengthened police and judicial system.
The illegal drug production and trade represent a major concern. Any failure to tackle this problem will undermine efforts to bring sustainable peace and development. A comprehensive approach to the problem is necessary.
Progress on administrative reforms must continue and the Afghan authorities must strenghten its capacity to bring services to the Afghan people. It is important that the authority of the central government is projected throughout Afghanistan.
Further efforts are needed to ensure that human rights obligations are respected. In particular, Norway would like to draw the attention to the importance of respect for women’s rights. Norway places great emphasis on SC Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security and recently launched a national action plan to strengthen its implementation. In Afghanistan, and also in other conflict affected countries, coordinated and sustained efforts are needed to implement this resolution. Norway welcomes the Interim National Plan for the Women of Afghanistan, which builds on the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination of women (CEDAW) and also reflects SC Resolution 1325. Norway will provide suppport for the implementation of this Plan, inter alia by financial assistance through UNIFEM.
UNAMA has played an important role through the Bonn Process and by assisting the Afghan Government in establishing the new targets of the Interim Afghanistan Development Strategy and the benchmarks of the Afghanistan Compact. Norway welcomes the recommendations of the Secretary General with regards to the future mandate of UNAMA. We support a continued and strenghtened role for UNAMA in monitoring and coordinating international assistance. This includes a strenghtened role for UNAMA in the consultation process between the donors and Afghan authorities. We look forward to seeing UNAMA co-chairing the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board. We would also like to underline the importance of the Board being representative. The selection of its members must be based on a transparent and open process.
In concluding, Mr President, let me reiterate Norway’s continued strong support for UNAMA in Afghanistan.