SRSG Ján Kubiš at the Third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners

16 Feb 2012

SRSG Ján Kubiš at the Third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners

PARIS - Ján Kubiš, Special Representative to the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, addressed the Third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners.

Mr. Kubiš highlighted the Afghan Opium Survey 2011, which showed poppy cultivation in Afghanistan reached 131,000 hectares, 7 per cent higher than in 2010.

The full remarks are below.

Executive Director,


Let me recall – with concern – that according to the Afghan Opium Survey 2011, poppy cultivation in Afghanistan reached 131,000 hectares, 7 per cent higher than in 2010, regardless all the efforts of the Afghan Government and the international community.

Seventy-eight per cent of cultivation was concentrated in five (Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Daikundi and Zabul) Provinces in the south, and 17 per cent in three (Farah, Badghis and Nimroz) Provinces in the west. Several poppy-free provinces of the past years are in danger to resume poppy cultivation. These are among the most insecure provinces in the country, often deprived of viable alternative ways of development, including economic infrastructure.

Most of the profits from opium are made by divers segments of the society, including the insurgency, corrupt officials, landowners and criminals. Indeed, insurgency in collusion with organized crime and readily assisted by corrupt officials and regional strong-men, constitute a major emerging threat to the future of Afghanistan in the post-transition period.

Based on the World Bank post-2014 scenario, the UN predicts an escalation of the illicit economy in the run up to and post-2014, compensating for the expected reduction in international aid and security expenditures, currently the principal stimuli for the licit economy. This will have significant implications for the wider region and international community, for stabilizing of Afghanistan and the region, for the future character of the state and health of its society.

The national and international commitment towards counter-narcotics (CN) policies in Afghanistan is very uneven due to diverging interests ranging from security dominating the discussions, detaching CN efforts from stability policies, to a benign misperception on the effect of narcotics on especially the economy, to outright corruption undermining CN efforts. I encourage both the Government, provincial officials, and the donor community to mainstream counter-narcotics within national priority programmes and provincial development plants of the Kabul Process, developing concrete indicators and providing sufficiently funded budgets. The planned monitoring mechanism directly reporting to the JCMB can guarantee such.

As the regional dimension is indeed crucial in supporting the drug challenge Afghanistan faces, the Istanbul Conference (November 2011) presented a clear vision and commitment to work in a results-oriented process towards greater stability and prosperity in Afghanistan and in the region as a whole. The Istanbul Process with well-defined confidence-building cooperative measures in many areas, including counter-narcotics and border control that could among others control the precursor trade, provides a basis for regional countries to move forward, in a structured manner with articulated tools and clear principles, towards strengthened bilateral and multilateral regional cooperation on a range of issues, including security. It is now up to the members of the region to demonstrate their commitment to the Process and its objectives by ensuring that it (i) moves forward constructively and pragmatically through deploying specific CBMs; and (ii) remains owned by Afghanistan and regional countries but with strong and concrete international support.

The Bonn II Conference (December 2011) focussed on the transition process and as Afghanistan assumes full responsibility for its security, the government and its international partners must shift and intensify their focus on the non-military aspects of transition — on development, on rule of law and governance and on extending effective civilian authority throughout Afghanistan. The trust and confidence of the Afghan people will be won by providing timely justice, fighting corruption, tackling the drug trade, sustaining the rule of law, progress on human rights, and advancing social and economic development that will finally bring peace dividend to the people.

Given the inclusion of CN in the confidence-building measures I invite you to support the United Nations, in particular the UNODC, in its efforts to coordinate effective and result-oriented assistance to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and neighbouring countries in countering illicit trade in opiates, including through numerous regionally-owned initiatives and now notably the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries.

Finally, allow me to express my hope that, the next milestones, such as the Chicago Summit in May, the Kabul Ministerial Meeting of the Istanbul process in June and the Tokyo Meeting in July will fully take into account the conclusions of this Paris Pact Ministerial Meeting. UNAMA and the UN family in Afghanistan look forward to working together with you on this important issue in the months and years ahead.