What's In Blue

Afghanistan Debate

Tomorrow afternoon (20 September), the Council is scheduled to hold its quarterly debate on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). Jan Kubiš, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNAMA, is expected to brief. At press time, no outcome was anticipated from this meeting.

In his briefing, Kubiš will likely address concerns among several Council members about the security situation in Afghanistan. As noted in the recent report of the Secretary-General (S/2012/703), there have been several complex and carefully planned attacks by insurgents in recent months. Kubiš is also likely to update on the escalation of violence over the last month, which is not covered in the report. Some members may be looking for more information on the factors that have led to the heightened insecurity. Kubiš may also emphasise the importance of reinvigorating the reconciliation process, given insurgent activity in recent months.

Another area that members would like Kubiš to focus on is preparations for the 2014 presidential elections and 2015 parliamentary elections. (At the Tokyo Conference on 8 July, Afghanistan and its international partners made a commitment to hold “credible, inclusive and transparent Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 2014 and 2015.”) The Secretary-General’s report asserts that the electoral law and the law on the duties and structure of the Independent Election Commission should be passed in early 2013, one year before the presidential polls.

There may also be interest in focusing more broadly on the follow up to the Tokyo Conference during the debate. At this conference, donors pledged over $16 billion in civilian assistance through 2015, while committing to provide support until the end of 2017 “at or near levels of the past decade.” Kubiš – as well as some Council members – may emphasise the importance of adhering to the “mutual accountability framework.” Through this framework Afghanistan affirmed its commitment to the rule of law, human rights, effective financial management and good governance, while the international community promised to enhance the effectiveness of its aid delivery.

Other issues that may be raised in the debate include the importance of regional cooperation, efforts to prevent the drug trade and eradicate the growth of poppies, and the challenges facing Afghan refugees.

Under Rule 37 of the Council’s Provisional Rules of Procedure several states from the membership at large with a vested interest in the situation—including Afghanistan itself—have spoken during these quarterly debates on UNAMA.

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