Despite violence, ‘tremendous hunger’ for peace in Afghanistan: top UN official

UN Geneva/Daniel Johnson Toby Lanzer in the UN studio where he said that 2019 would be “make or break” for Afghanistan, amid nearly 40 years of violence, poverty and drought.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

A high-level international conference on Afghanistan got underway at the UN in Geneva on Tuesday to show solidarity for the war-torn country’s people and help strengthen Government efforts to promote development, along with wider peace and security.

Speaking to journalists at the start of the two-day meeting at the Palais des Nations, senior UN official Toby Lanzer, Deputy Special Representative for the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said that everyone he had met wanted a solution to stop the violence.

The UN would do what it could to help them, with the support of the international community, he insisted, noting that the question of peace would be “quite naturally” a component of discussions.

“2019 will mark the 40th anniversary – four decades of instability – in Afghanistan,” he said. “For the vast majority of the country, they have grown up knowing conflict and nothing else, so there is a tremendous – and you will know this better than me – there is a tremendous hunger for peace. I have only met people in Afghanistan who want the violence to end so the United Nations will be doing what it can and offering its support in that regard.”

One of the aims of the conference – which is being attended by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, its Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, together with numerous foreign ministers, including from Russia, Turkey and the EU – is to emphasise the importance of development to securing peace and security.

The Geneva meeting will also provide an opportunity to measure what has been achieved in Afghanistan after the international community committed $15.2 billion to the country as part of a four-year plan, in 2016.

“Whether it’s peace, whether it’s security, whether it’s development, whether it’s trade, things need to be Afghan-owned and Afghan-led,” Mr Lanzer said, before noting that progress had been “quicker and better” than might have been expected – not least in reform of the Government security sector.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) benchmarks “have not only been met, they’ve been exceeded”, the UNAMA official continued, before listing a series of areas where reform could be assessed, from investing in “the basic services” of health and education, to enabling the private sector by passing key legislation and combating corruption.

Current humanitarian needs in the country are at emergency levels for millions of people, the result of one of the worst droughts in living memory that has destroyed crops and livestock, hitting the mainly rural population hardest.

With 3.6 million living with chronic food insecurity, Mr. Lanzer said that “to be clear, it’s one step away from famine. That’s how hard this drought has struck during 2018.”

In addition to delivering food to those in need, providing shelter to people who have been displaced by the famine – or who are returning to Afghanistan – remains among the most urgent humanitarian challenges in the country, before winter sets in.

“This year so far, 675,000 people have returned from Iran to Afghanistan”, Mr. Lanzer said. “And at the same time, half a million people have been forced from their homes in the country. Why? Because of ongoing violence and because of the drought.”

Elections on course for April

Amid reports that Afghanistan’s 2019 presidential election may be postponed, the UN official said that no change in date had been conveyed to him by the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC).

“We are working on the information that we have which is that presidential elections are currently scheduled to take place on 20 April (2019)”, he said, “and that’s the date that we’re still discussing with the authorities.”

Mr. Lanzer noted that the recent Parliamentary elections marked an important moment because they took place “without massive organizational support from the international community”.

It was also very significant at the end of February this year that the Government of Ashraf Ghani had said it was ready for “talks without preconditions” with Taliban armed groups without preconditions, the UN official explained.

This new approach has been accompanied by a “more concerted effort by the international community to lend a hand to that process”, Mr. Lanzer added, making this “an apt moment to get together to reaffirm our commitments and support to Afghanistan”.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

MEPs take stock of the EU’s foreign, security and defence policy priorities

Europe again the black sheep at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

Inflation down to 0.7%, unemployment up at 12.2%: Bad omens for Eurozone

UN will do ‘utmost to prevent and mitigate any risk of violence’ in DR Congo, pledges Mission chief

Trade negotiations with US can start under certain conditions

Suffering of thousands of war-affected Syrian children ‘unprecedented and unacceptable’

Mental health: a medical school’s demand

People, not technology, shape the future of manufacturing

How to rebuild trust and integrity in South Africa

EU is now giving Google new monopolies to the detriment of European citizens and Internet companies

Davos: Why the global elites couldn’t find answers this year?

Worldwide UN family celebrates enduring universal values of human rights

It’s Trump’s anti-globalization and inward-looking rhetoric that perturbs GOP and US

ECB’s unconventional monetary measures give first tangible results

Let’s Learn

European Commission: Does Apple, Starbucks and Fiat really pay their taxes?

MWC19 Wrap Up, in association with The European Sting, GSMA’s Brussels Media Partner for the 6th Consecutive Year

Worth going ‘extra mile’ for a new Syrian constitution, UN envoy urges

South Eurozone needs some…inflation and liquidity

Built by a woman: supporting the dreams of mum entrepreneurs

Young people are Europe’s biggest value and hope

Erasmus+ 2021-2027: more people to experience learning exchanges in Europe

Here’s how blockchain could stop corrupt officials from stealing school lunches

Impressions of China

EU Leaders’ meeting in Sofia: Completing a trusted Digital Single Market for the benefit of all

3 ways activists are being targeted by cyberattacks

‘The green economy is the future,’ UN chief says in Beijing, urging climate solutions that strengthen economies, protect the environment

Governments can fight corruption by joining the digital payment revolution

Budget MEPs approve €104.2 m in EU aid to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal

Improve collection of data on disasters, Secretary-General Guterres urges

China is adding a London-sized electric bus fleet every five weeks

UN should be ‘exemplary’ in defending judicial independence, top Judge tells Security Council

These are the 4 most likely scenarios for the future of energy

COP21 Breaking News_12 December: The New Draft Agreement!

The Parliament defies a politically biased Banking Union

Statement by the Brexit Steering Group on UK government White paper

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “It is the implementation, Stupid!”, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble points the finger to Greece from Davos

A young person’s perspective on the Paris and Beirut attacks and aftermath

Key Brazilian border crossing for Venezuela refugees reopens as asylum numbers pass last year’s total

Why is the EU launching a doomed policy in stopping immigrant waves? What are the real targets?

Hunger, displacement and disease: 4.3 million people remain in dire need of aid in Chad

This heroic doctor is waging war on rape and the stigma around it

At last some rules on banks

UN lauds special chemistry of the periodic table, kicking off 150th anniversary celebrations

Landmine casualties high for third consecutive year despite record funding, latest monitor reports

Climate change and health: creating global awareness and using earth resources wisely

Boom in Artificial Intelligence patents, points to ‘quantum leap’ in tech: UN report

On youth unemployment: unemployment is even bleaker for youth with disabilities

Ηealth’s foundation is falling apart: what can we do about it?

Forced pregnancy in Italy violated ‘woman’s human right to health’, UN experts rule

Eurozone: How safe are our deposits? Which banks will survive?

Eurogroup asked to reduce public debts of its member states

To hope or doubt? The state of women’s progress in the world

Commission launches new tool to support digital teaching and learning in schools

Drastic deterioration in security across Burkina Faso as 70,000 flee their homes in past two months, UN warns

This is the critical number that shows when housing breaks down

This is what happens when a school swaps french fries for quinoa

A young student discusses the determinants of migration in the European Union

New Mozambique storm rips off roofs, brings lashing rain as aid response kicks in

UN agencies urge Brunei to repeal new ‘extreme and unjustified’ penal code

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s