Asia Culture House organized a face to face dialogue with community members in Nangarhar province, on 5th October 2020. This event brought together school teachers, university students, businessmen, women council representatives and community elders to discuss the future and what it holds, what needs to be done now to achieve the future they want, and how the United Nations can be more helpful. The discussion revolved around the Covid-19 epidemy.
The dialogue covered the questions that have been provided by the UN Secretariat. We challenged audience to come up with creative ideas to improve our response to and vision of the future.
We thank the Director of Women’s Affairs for providing the venue and participating in the dialogue.
Summary of key points
The following were key takeaways from this dialogue:
Priorities for the international community to recover better from the pandemic:
- In order to better recover from the pandemic, participants proposed that the international community: raise public awareness of personal hygiene and the Corona virus—especially to women in remote areas, empower the hospitals and medical professionals and provide medicines.
- The international community should also support those who have suffered, support communities in obtaining better and safer living environment assist community members that have lost jobs, and provide food assistance.
Hopes and fears of life in 2045:
- Participants weren’t very optimistic of the future.
- Two third of the participants believed that people in 2045 will be worse off, compared to now. They believed that unemployment, narcotics and smuggling, war and use of chemical and biological weapons will increase. Technologies will substitute more workers, terrorist activities will increase, internal disputes and differences will transform into civil wars.
- One third of the participants were cautiously optimistic, conditioning improvements to continued assistance from the international community, better planning and disaster response readiness. They believed climate change and natural disasters pose risks to a better future.
Vision of life in 2045:
- Participants wanted 2045 to be marked with peace, full employment, rule of low, elimination of narcotics and smuggling, elimination of poverty, increased access to information from the United Nations, health and education for all.
Obstacles and challenges affecting the vision:
- Participants believed that poverty, war and conflict, terrorism, smuggling, crimes—including organized crimes, unemployment, climate change, high rate of urbanization, lack of awareness among the people about their rights will most affect their vision of the future.
Role for global cooperation to address the obstacles:
- Participants believed that the United Nations can help by providing educational, cultural and economic support, and by investing in youth.
- Multilateralism, supporting local governments, assisting vulnerable communities, increasing awareness among the people—especially women—of their human rights, and supporting hospitals and hospitals can be solutions to the above challenges.
Recommendations for the United Nations Secretary General:
- The United Nations could hold governments accountable and transparent, ensure they are committed to fight corruption, end conflicts and religious hatred, uphold the safety/security and wellbeing of everyone.
- The United Nations is advised to continue their food assistance program, help communities to access to safe drinking water, fight poverty, and help provide economic opportunities.
- Global cooperation should continue to fight disease outbreaks, malnutrition, war, climate change, cyber threats, social insecurity and illiteracy.
- Fundamental human rights—especially of women and children—should be promoted.
The following is a playlist of videos from the event:
If you wish to share your messages with the UN secretary, please visit https://un75.online/ and fill the one-minute long survey.