Thank you Mr. President
I would like to thank Deputy Special Representative Potzel, Secretary-General Ghada Wali, Ms. Fauzia Kufi for her sober briefing, UNAMA and the Secretary-General for their quarterly reports.
As we have heard, about 60% of Afghanistan’s population is officially in need of humanitarian assistance, but the actual need is much higher.
The World Bank expects GDP to shrink by a third by the end of this year, and the Taliban continue to tighten restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms.
No one can speak more eloquently about the restrictions on freedom of movement women and girls face—the political, economic, educational and social exclusion they face—than Faugia Kufi.
UNICEF estimates that the ban on girls from schooling cost the Afghan economy at least $500 million over the past year. But the human toll of each of these Afghan girls is immeasurable.
Some council members seem determined to politicize the crisis in Afghanistan, but I think their arguments are accurate but unhelpful.
The UK spent $306 million in humanitarian and development assistance to Afghanistan last financial year.
We are the second largest donor to the World Bank’s Afghanistan Reconstruction Fund and work with the World Bank, IMF and others to stabilize the economy.
We recognize the importance of restoring liquidity to the banking system, including a functioning central bank with access to Afghanistan’s overseas reserves. However, this requires an independent central bank to operate transparently and professional leadership and good controls to prevent the diversion of funds to terrorism.
Simply demanding the return of reserves before these critical steps are taken is both irresponsible and incompatible with a genuine commitment to stop funding terrorists.
Humanitarian and financial assistance helps, but Afghanistan’s problems cannot be solved unless the basic building blocks for stability are in place. To do this, the Taliban must uphold human rights rather than suppress them, allow unhindered humanitarian access, meet the anti-terrorism commitments made in the Doha Accords, and take responsibility for stabilizing the economy. it won’t work.
This means creating an enabling environment for more investment, including ensuring revenue and budget transparency and allowing women, half of the population, to contribute to the economy.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the appointment of Special Representative Otunbayeva. The Taliban’s cooperation with Afghanistan and the United Nations is vital to Afghanistan’s future, and we urge all members of the Security Council to support her in carrying out UNAMA’s important mission.
Thank you very much.
https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-fundamental-building-blocks-for-stability-in-afghanistan Fundamental building blocks for stability in Afghanistan: UK statement to the UN Security Council