On February 24, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian participated in the Ministerial Meeting held in New York, dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Nalbandian delivered a speech at the discussion, sharing the activities and programs from the UNDP Office in Armenia.
“With a growing relationship of over 20 years, there have been a number of joint projects implemented in Armenia by the UNDP in key areas such as democratic governance, poverty reduction, integrated border management, the environment, and disaster risk reduction,” Nalbandian said. “Last year the Government of Armenia and the United Nations signed the third Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), which is a strategic document that will guide our cooperation for the period of 2016-2020 reflecting Armenia’s vision and commitment for improving the living standards of its population.”
Nalbandian pointed out the financial limitations and barriers in Armenia, including closed borders, blockades, and discriminating trade regimes. The Gyumer-Kars interstate railway between Armenia and Turkey, for example, is “not being used in the vital interests on sustainable development and regional connectivity due to an ongoing illegal blockade imposed on Armenia.”
Nalbandian continued his speech touching upon the links between conflict prevention, global security, and sustainable development:
“It goes without saying that the unambiguous implementation of the international commitments, in particular those enshrined in the UN Charter on developing friendly relations among nations based also on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, can enormously contribute to the prevention efforts. If there is anything that history teaches us, is that there is a direct linkage between the brutal hindrances of the rightful exercise of human rights and violent conflicts. Usually the countries, which are disrespecting the fundamental right of peoples to self-determination, are also grossly violating human rights.
The link between global security and development is beyond doubt. Conflicts may impede the sustainable development. This is a reality. But there is another reality as well. Some protracted or frozen conflicts may continue for decades on the territories inhabited by people whose aspirations to achieve sustainable development goals are as legitimate as for anyone else. Pending settlement to the final legal status of certain territories, particularly those which are subject of negotiations under agreed format of conflict resolution, should not be used as an excuse to violate the legitimate right of the people to development. After all, ‘Leave no one behind’ commitment is not about invoking a justification for exclusion but finding ways for inclusion. The international community should find ways to ensure involvement of the people from conflict areas in the international cooperation aimed at achieving sustainable development goals. The operation of the international organizations and agencies, such as the UNDP and others also should not be anyhow restricted for the people of the conflict areas.”
Nalbandian concluded that challenges imposed by conflicts has the potential to become an opportunity to establish partnerships and build confidence.
“All people have universal aspiration for security and development,” Nalbandian added. “Common economic or environmental projects among parties to the conflict can entail first steps towards building trust and confidence and what is more important, a common vision of peace,” he said.