26 March 2012

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Importance of Regional Engagement Grows as Afghanistan’s Transition Gathers Pace,


Says Secretary-General in Message to Economic Cooperation Conference


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the Fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan, delivered by Ján Kubiš, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on 26 March:

I am pleased to send greetings to the Fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan.  I thank the Government of Tajikistan for hosting.

Since 2005, this Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan has helped to promote stability and prosperity in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries.  It is encouraging that this Conference, which started as a meeting of representatives of 11 countries, has grown to include delegates from some 80 States and international and regional organizations, as well as leaders from civil society, the private sector, the arts and academia.

As Afghanistan’s transition picks up pace, regional engagement becomes even more important.  Economic cooperation is basic to laying the foundation for a secure future.  A stable security environment, that at the same time denies space for narco-business and terrorism, is also essential if development is to take root.  We must work together so that Afghans can see tangible improvements in their daily lives.  With this in mind, I welcome your focus on investment, trade and transit, as well as infrastructure and human resource development.

I fully support continuing this Conference as an Afghan-centred and Afghan-led process, focused on reaching concrete objectives and mobilizing the resources needed to achieve them.  In this manner, your discussions can complement other important Afghan-led initiatives, including the Kabul, Istanbul, Transition, and Peace and Reconciliation processes.

Following the Bonn conference with its mutual commitments, and while a framework for international support for Afghanistan after 2014 has not yet been agreed on, I am hopeful that upcoming high-level gatherings in Chicago and Tokyo will help to shape global engagement and generate tangible specific commitments on security, political, governance and development challenges.

UNAMA and the 28 United Nations agencies, funds and programmes present in the country remain committed to increasing the capacity of the Afghan authorities and institutions to meet the needs of the Afghan people.  We stand ready to do everything possible to help them build a new future.

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*     Reissued to reflect text as delivered.

For information media • not an official record