Enhanced UN mission vital to helping Afghans improve their lives – Ban

7 July 2008

Helping the people of Afghanistan to rebuild the strife-torn nation and improve their daily lives will require strengthening the United Nations mission there in a number of key areas, including increased staffing and possible structural changes, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a new report.

Helping the people of Afghanistan to rebuild the strife-torn nation and improve their daily lives will require strengthening the United Nations mission there in a number of key areas, including increased staffing and possible structural changes, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a new report.

Last month in Paris, more than 80 countries and international organizations renewed their commitment to helping advance peace, security and development in Afghanistan, including through some $20 billion in pledged assistance.

The International Conference in Support of Afghanistan, held on 12 June, also witnessed the launch of the Government’s five-year plan to reduce poverty and promote economic and social development, known as the Afghan National Development Strategy (ANDS).

In addition, participants – through the adoption of the Paris Declaration – underlined the expanded role of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to lead and coordinate international efforts.

“For UNAMA to fulfil its mandate and achieve the Paris priorities, much greater substantive, administrative and security resources would need to be expeditiously mobilized,” Mr. Ban writes in a special report to the Security Council.

He stresses that the Mission should be staffed and structured to reflect what his Special Representative, Kai Eide, needs to achieve. “Addressing current priorities will require additional personnel in the areas of elections, support for the Afghanistan National Development Strategy, aid effectiveness, institution-building and the delivery of humanitarian assistance.”

Other issues that will continue to require UNAMA’s attention is the protection of human rights, reducing drug production and trafficking and improving civil-military coordination.

The Secretary-General recommends that UNAMA proceed with the further expansion of its field presence by opening six new provincial offices over the next 12 months, adding that any such expansion be undertaken keeping staff security as the highest priority.

The report points out that the level of insurgent and terrorist activity in Afghanistan has increased, particularly in the south and the east of the country. The highest number of security incidents in the country since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 was recorded this past May.

The country continues to face a precarious security situation, as demonstrated by today’s attack outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul that killed over 40 people and wounded more than 100.

“The evolving security situation throughout the country will require a considerable increase in security-related mission resources, not only for the establishment of new provincial offices in higher security risk areas, but also for existing field offices and Mission activities as a whole,” states Mr. Ban.

Mr. Eide will be reiterating the Secretary-General’s message when he addresses the Security Council on Wednesday. “To do what we want to do will require significant additional resources,” he told a news conference in Kabul today prior to his departure for New York.

“And I am urging New York and the United Nations Headquarters to provide us with those resources,” he added.

 

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