Norway is fully committed to the rebuilding of Afghanistan. At the Paris Conference in June, Norway pledged 500 million Euros for the time period covered by the Afghan National Development Strategy. That makes Afghanistan the number one recipient of Norwegian assistance.
As friends of Afghanistan, we are concerned by all the negative reporting on developments in the country. We must not inflict fatigue on our people on the ground, our soldiers and aid-workers, by speaking the language of defeat and decline.
Let us instead focus on the improvements and important nuances in the security situation. Not all of Afghanistan is equally troubled. Three quarters of security incidents this year have occurred in parts of the country where only 6 per cent of its population live.
Mr President, I would like to raise three issues today:
Firstly, elections. The UN and in particular the UNDP are doing a important job in assisting Afghan authorities to prepare for elections. Our main priority now must be to assist voter registration: to provide information about the election, and to make it safe to vote. And in particular to make it safe for women to vote. The elections must take place according to plan, – elections which we hope will demonstrate that the Taliban is losing ground.
Secondly, we – the donors who pledged our support in Paris – must honour our pledges. We should all be held accountable at regular intervals. And we must let ourselves be coordinated, as we agreed in Paris. At the same time the Afghan government, which pledged to fight corruption and narcotics, must also be held accountable. The recent appointment of Mr Muhammad Hanif Atmar as Interior Minister is encouraging and promising in this respect.
And thirdly, we must not lose time by slowing down the efforts of Special Representative Kai Eide in building a lean and professional UN organisation in Afghanistan. Mr. Eide was welcomed as a UN representative who brought hope to our efforts in Afghanistan. So we should not push – to borrow a phrase from the financial crisis – push our bad loans on to him and wish him good luck. We have a serious obligation to support him every day.
For our joint endeavours in Afghanistan to succeed, it is crucial that UNAMA has the necessary resources and sufficient qualified personnel to do the job. This is the only way that UNAMA can fulfil its strengthened mandate and to meet our expectations, which are high. We urge both member states and the secretariat to support UNAMA and Kai Eide in their efforts to rebuild Afghanistan, and to fight bureaucracy where it stands in the way.
Thank you, Mr President.