Statement by SRSG Miroslav Jenča at the RECCA V

28 Mar 2012

Statement by SRSG Miroslav Jenča at the RECCA V

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan

Excellencies, distinguished participants of the RECCA V Conference,

Allow me to thank the Government of Tajikistan for outstanding traditional hospitality, and to the leaderships of Tajikistan and Afghanistan for co-hosting such an important conference. I would also like to thank the organizers for putting together this very timely and necessary event.

This event takes place against the backdrop of the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan and Afghan people gradually taking responsibility for the future into their own hands. So this is a decisive time. Security issues, political and socio-economic development challenges need to be addressed in a complex way to make reforms and progress irreversible.

The Central Asian states, namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have been consistently underlining that the long-term stabilization of Afghanistan can be achieved first of all through socio-economic development of the country. They as we have heard earlier today are undertaking tangible concrete steps in this direction, notably in infrastructural projects, capacity building, humanitarian assistance and others.

However, development of transport corridors, infrastructure, trade opportunities and other cross-border economic activities cannot be disconnected from the need to counter all forms of organized crime. What is needed is that countries in the region increase efforts aimed at improvement of border management regimes and strengthening and harmonizing counter narcotics, law enforcement and customs policies.

Regional economic cooperation is closely linked to improvement of security in the region. In this regard, RECCA V complements other regional initiatives such as the "Kabul and Istanbul Processes", which aim at enhancing regional security and cooperation through a comprehensive set of confidence building measures.

The UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia is a political mission with a regional mandate. Thus it is well placed to promote regional cooperation between the Central Asian and Afghanistan and support efforts of UNAMA and other UN entities as well as activities of different international and regional actors, particularly in security related areas.

The UNRCCA in line with its mandate pays particular attention to supporting Central Asian countries in search of understanding and agreements on fair, efficient and sustainable use of natural resources. It strives to help them to counter terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking as the main threats to economic development in the region. At the core of the concept of preventive diplomacy stands the idea of preventing the escalation of conflicts by means of diplomacy – diplomacy understood as the art of finding a political solution that takes into consideration the interests of all involved parties.

Together with Central Asian countries, International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) and other partners we are involved in preventing potentially problematic situations in the field of trans-boundary water management through collecting, analyzing and publishing a set of indicators agreed by the stakeholders.

UNRCCA assisted states in the region in strengthening their joint capacities to counter terrorism within the framework of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. In November 2011, at a senior level meeting with participation of Central Asian states and other countries from the wider region that are part of Istanbul process, UN entities and the EU, a Joint Plan of Action for Central Asia on implementing the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was adopted.

The Regional Center is also a much-used platform for various training and capacity development for officials from all Central Asian countries.

UNRCCA is engaging Afghan counterparts and other partners in its activities, particularly those related to trans-boundary water management, countering trans-boundary crime and capacity building. Afghanistan as one of the states located in the Aral Sea basin and with a view to the potential of economic growth, could face water related challenges similar to ones of Central Asian countries rather sooner than later. It is important to seek today a broad support by the participants for the regional projects what should guarantee they will be implemented and contribute to building of confidence and strengthening of friendly relations between countries and peoples in the region. It is with this in mind that the Centre focuses on enhanced cooperation between Afghanistan and its Central Asian neighbors aimed not only when addressing current, but also future challenges in a swift and timely manner.

Excellencies, esteemed participants!

Allow me to conclude by stressing the necessity to work together, to co-operate in addressing the challenges ahead. This is needed to prevent conflict escalation, to strengthen economic development and to engage in a culture of early action. Efforts in the fields of investment, trade, transit and human resource development are at the core of the response in this manner.

I look forward to the continuation of fruitful and interesting discussions at this conference, and hope for a substantial outcome.

Thank you for your attention.