SRSG Tadamichi Yamamoto at a press conference after the JCMB meeting
KABUL - The following is a transcript of a press conference on 10 July 2017 about the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board Meeting.
PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, at a press conference after the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board Meeting
[edited for clarity]
Kabul, 10 July 2017
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It was really a pleasure and a privilege and honor to be able to co-chair this Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board meeting with Minister Hakimi who is really an experienced person in this field.
The JCMB follows up the progress from previous commitments and also discusses the way forward, particularly for the Senior Officials Meetings planned for this autumn.
In this sense, as the minister has explained, this JCMB meeting was very successful. The meeting affirmed the joint commitments between the donors and the Afghan Government and gave us a clear set of priorities to work, or homework, which we have to do for the Senior Officials Meeting for the autumn.
I believe that the JCMB meeting clearly showed the Government’s determination to move forward in key areas. The Government also explained to us and to the meeting, and therefore to the Afghan people,e what sort of progress it has been able to make but also the challenges that it faced.
International community representatives made clear their continued commitment to work with the government of Afghanistan and to try to live up to the expectations in the Brussels’ agreement and to continue to provide assistance in the coming months and years.
We were honored with the presence of the Excellencies, the President and the Chief Executive, and we really appreciated their statements. In their remarks we heard very important commitments and we noted the very strong intention of the President to focus on economic growth and also to follow through on the Brussels conference commitments.
The Chief Executive addressed how the Government is taking their work forward. The President also spoke very forcefully about the Government’s commitments to provide security for the people and the city of Kabul after the heinous and cowardly attack of 31 May. International partners also appreciated his gracious reassurance that his commitment goes beyond the Afghan people and extends to securing the diplomatic community as well.
On substance, weighing the current needs, we focused on three themes and in each area we found very encouraging commitments. The minister has explained very thoroughly those exchanges, I will not go into detail but in the first session which covered the anti-corruption (… inaudible) reform, civil service reform we had very encouraging commitments in all these areas, we also noted the difficulties they are facing, but the strong determination was something that we felt very much encouraged.
Credible and transparent elections, advancing anti-corruption and the merit based transparent appointments were something that we noted and much welcome.
The second session touched upon service delivery. We heard about so many of the efforts that are being made, but what was interesting was that we had views from civil society, governors and mayors and therefore real exchanges.
The third session touched upon some specific industries like agriculture, mining and private sector investments. Here, the interventions showed that there is a lot of energy in the private sector which will have much more potential to create employment and jobs. There are a lot of things going on between the private sector and the government to try to create a better environment for investment in the country. This was a very dynamic session and everybody felt very energized.
So, all in all, the meeting looked at what progress has been made, what challenges we face and how much effort and energy is being put in to overcoming the challenges, as well as the great hope for the potential of this country. I really appreciate the leadership of Minister Hakimi in managing all this, this was in my view the best JCMB I attended and it is thanks to the efforts of Minister Hakimi.
SRSG: The first question is: because there are terrorist activities and the worsening security situation, how can we say that it’s a positive meeting. Is that right?
The most important thing about coping with terrorists and insecurity is that we are not being beaten. We should not succumb to terrorist activities, we have to be able to stand firm and go forward. This meeting did exactly that. We were able to come together – first the Afghans, international community and government and strongly show the determination that we shall go ahead and make this country more stable, prosperous and growing. And this is the best answer that we can give to the terrorists, to those cowardly acts. The President showed very clearly his determination and dedication to provide security for people living in Kabul and this country. I think that this kind of thing will bring us together and will take this country forward. We shall not forget how much potential this country has: human resources; natural resources; location; geography. This country will become a great country. And we should not bend because of terrorists or insecurity. And we, in the meeting, showed that we shall not do that.
Q: The question is about the responsibility of the government and the international community will have to fulfill. And you also expressed your satisfaction with the JCMB meeting and you’ve while the corruption is still widespread, while there is still lack of respect for women and human rights and insecurity.
SRSG: I said that JCMB was a good meeting but I did not say that I was satisfied with the situation regarding corruption or women’s empowerment or security. The first thing to acknowledge is that all these three issues are very complex and deep rooted in the society. In any country it takes time to make really significant improvement. In Afghanistan, I noticed that the government is very serious in trying to tackle all these three areas and progress has certainly being made. If you look at the area of anti-corruption, the creation of ACJC and its achievements, the beginning of improvement in the civil service appointments. These are small but represent very significant progress. And the determination is there.
On the issue of women, the President has made it very clear in Brussels and he has followed it up, that women’s empowerment means not just protection of women but really enabling women to contribute to the work of the society and to make this country grow and become prosperous. Women have an important role to play, also in the peace process. And this is being done. These are issues which don’t change overnight but I see clear efforts and progress being made here. I’m sorry that we had not enough women present at JCMB but next time we shall improve on that.
On the security, there is something called the Four-Year-Plan intended to strengthen the ANSF, including trying to improve on the corruption. And we hope that together we can improve and strengthen the Afghan National Security Forces. It will also take time but efforts are being made.
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UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps the UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading. UNAMA assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights, including the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation. The Mission also promotes coherent development support by the international community.