Norway fully associates itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the European Union. This statement raises a number of issues that are of vital concern if the Afghan Government and the international community are to succeed in their joint efforts towards peace, stability, and reconstruction in Afghanistan.
We have asked for the floor in order to deliver a separate statement, because we believe that the need for Afghan ownership in the development and reconstruction process, and the need for the UN to be strengthened with a particular view to coordinate efforts towards this goal ought to be emphasized even stronger.
We cannot succeed in Afghanistan unless the Afghan people perceive the path that we have taken ever since late 2001 as the path towards substantive and sustainable improvements of their lives, and we cannot succeed unless Afghan governmental institutions, nationally as well as locally, enjoy increased legitimacy in the eyes of the Afghan people.
Therefore, an overarching concern of all our efforts towards development and reconstruction must be to ensure that they are in coherence with Afghan priorities and plans, again nationally as well as locally. We must all be willing to coordinate, and let ourselves be coordinated, with this concern in mind.
I must underline the urgency of this issue. Some of us raised the need for better coordination here in New York a year ago, and it is indeed worrying that we are still concerned about inadequate coordination. That means that we still risk wasting our resources, and are still losing time, time that we will not be able to make up for later. This is serious because it undermines our efficiency and our credibility and our ability to reach our objectives.
Coordination takes leadership, and we must bestow the mandate of such leadership upon the United Nations. The United Nations must assume the role of leader and coordinator in making sure that we all contribute to the maximum extent towards strengthening Afghan legitimacy and ownership of the country’s own development process. This must be accompanied by a continued endeavour towards Afghan capacity building, so that the Afghan authorities enhance their expertise in formulating goals, plans, and priorities. This must apply on national, province, and district levels alike and the Afghan people must be able to see the measures of government at various levels as unified and coherent towards consistent goals.
If the United Nations should take on the task to strengthen its leadership role and coordination, it must be given the wherewithal to do so. The dedicated men and women who work for the UNAMA under the excellent leadership of Mr. Tom Koenigs must be given the authority and additional resources that they need.
Our preference would be both to strengthen the UN Mission and to appoint a Special Envoy to ensure coordination in Kabul and between our capitals. Differing views on the question of a Special Envoy, should not block our efforts to provide the UN Mission with increased funding and manpower, both in Kabul, and in the provinces throughout Afghanistan.
Thank you, Mr. President