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News and Views

Award Acceptance Speech


Said T.  Jawad Ambassador of Afghanistan to Colombia


On Behalf of H.E. Mohammed Ehsan Zia, Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development At 

“The First Joint Meeting of Communities of Practice on Managing for Development Results” 

Medellin, Colombia  

November 3, 2009


Thank you, and good morning!



Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is my distinct honor to share this stage with such visionary and dedicated leaders whose hard work has transformed many societies and made the world a better place for our children and the future generations to come.  Please allow me to take this opportunity to extend my sincere congratulations to every one of the honorees on their significant national and international achievements.

I have no doubt that every one of you have overcome immense institutional and resource constraints, in developing and post-conflict countries, to implement the time-tested principles of Managing for Development Results.

I am most grateful to the host nation and the Government of Colombia, and the City of Medellin, for hosting this historic event. Our gathering here, in Medellin, has a special meaning.  It is under the visionary leadership of H.E. President Uribe that this scenic City, and Colombia as a whole, has made significant strides toward stability, sustainable development and economic growth. 

As Ambassador of Afghanistan, a country that is facing the same challenges as Colombia, I would like to congratulate H.E. President Uribe on his exemplary efforts and brave leadership, as well as professional management of developing Colombia into a peaceful and prosperous nation. Indeed, people around the world—especially in my country—appreciate, praise, and learn from the President’s leadership and dedication.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I would also like to thank the Government and people of Colombia for their firm commitment to the stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan. Diplomatic relations between our two nations were first established in 1990, and we resumed our relations in August 2005. Since then, our bilateral relationship has continually expanded in a number of key security and development areas, which I was pleased to discuss with H.E. President Uribe this past Sunday.

We are taking more steps to further benefit from our close relations with Colombia to enhance security and the rule of law in Afghanistan. We welcome Colombia’s participation in the Provincial Reconstruction Teams, as well as their assistance with the training of our national army and police forces.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

H.E. Minister Mohammed Ehsan Zia very much hoped to be here, in your company to convey his gratitude, and to exchange the lessons learned in Afghanistan. But due to our elections, he sends his regrets and best wishes for a successful event. I am honored to receive this prestigious award, on behalf of H.E. Minister Zia. We, in Afghanistan, admire the dynamic leadership of H.E. Minister Zia, and are now delighted to see his outstanding leadership being recognized internationally.

The National Solidarity Program (NSP) is our largest national program for development and governance. The 3rd edition of the Source-Book features the success of NSP, which we established in 2003 with the continued assistance of the World Bank and the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund. 

For the first time in our history, the National Solidarity Program has established development-focused governance structures at the community level through democratic elections with the full participation of women.

Through NSP, we have embarked on a genuine process of empowering men and women and uniting communities around a common, nationally oriented development and governance agenda. 

This people-focused and results-oriented approach to development has reduced poverty through establishing and strengthening a national network of self-governing community institutions, known as Community Development Councils, or CDCs.  CDCs are operating in 359 districts and provincial centers throughout all 34 provinces of our country. 

Fortunately, the success of National Solidarity Program has exceeded our expectations. Since 2003, the NSP has fostered the election of over 22,000 Community Development Councils, which have implemented some 48,000 development projects with more than 22 million beneficiaries, out of a total population of 32 million people.

This is a historic accomplishment in Afghanistan. These projects are valued at 601 million USD, towards which the communities themselves have contributed more than 77 million USD. 

Our strategy is to continue to expand the National Solidarity Program into all areas of Afghanistan that have yet to be covered. At the same time, we will continue to support those Community Development Councils that have spent their initial block grant funding in order to ensure that they become sustainable. We are also planning to further develop the capacity of mature CDCs, by providing them with a second block grant in an effort to maintain and enhance the Government’s relations with the people.  

Indeed, as this award recognizes, a key factor that has contributed to the historic success of the NSP is the dedicated Afghan ownership and leadership, thanks to the continued hard efforts of H.E. Minister Zia. As self-less as he is, H.E. Minister Zia has asked me to emphasize that this award is not his alone. He attributes the success of the NSP to the continued support of many actors.

The NSP success would not have been possible without the generous financial contributions of the World Bank and other donors, as well as the continued support and sacrifice of many Facilitating Partners, and the hard work and devotion of courageous, innovative Afghan leaders in the rural communities. 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

H.E. Minister Zia accepts this award with deep gratitude, and he would like to dedicate it to the Community Development Councils and the rural population of Afghanistan. Indeed, it is the people, who offer us all a glimmer of hope for what Afghanistan and other societies like us can still accomplish.

Thank you for recognizing Afghanistan’s hard work to build a peaceful and prosperous society.


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