Asia Culture House organized a face to face dialogue with community members in Kabul province on November 1st, 2020. This event brought together school teachers, university students, civil society activists, and community elders to discuss the future and what it holds, what needs to be done now to achieve the end they want, and how the United Nations can be more helpful.
The dialogue covered the questions that have been provided by the UN Secretariat. We challenged the audience to develop creative ideas to improve our response to and vision of the future.
Summary of key points
The following were key takeaways from this dialogue:
Priorities for the international community to recover better from the pandemic:
- The majority of the participants wanted the international community to prioritize awareness-raising campaigns about the pandemic, economic stability, and economic support of the poor, including rural habitats, financial support of the poor economies, and job creation. These themes were followed by an investment in health.
- Some participants brought up investment in education, human rights, reducing inequalities that have been created by the Covid-19, and fair perception of the third world countries.
Hopes and fears of life in 2045:
- The majority of the participants believed that the world would be better off in 2045. Some participants compared the past 20 years in Afghanistan and said there has been dramatic changes, youth are very active, capable, love education, and that this trend will continue. Some were cautious, saying that the world will be better in 25 years from now provided that there is peace, unity, educated people, will to change, reduced ethnic and linguistic discrimination.
- 1/5th of those who responded believed the situation, at least in Afghanistan, will remain the same and that the Doha talks’ outcomes may prove otherwise.
Vision of life in 2045:
- Participants envisioned the world in 2045 to be peaceful, more equal, with stronger/self-reliant economies.
Obstacles and challenges affecting the vision:
- Participants thought illiteracy, instability, and war, and inequality are challenges against their vision of 2045. Setbacks in attaining sustainable economic development also was a cause of concern.
Role for global cooperation to address the obstacles:
- In short-term, Afghanistan does not have enough capability to create job, provide educational and health facilities. Global cooperation in the form of a more lenient immigration policy will help us in terms of more opportunities. Immigrants may benefit both in the education and employment sectors.
Recommendations for the United Nations Secretary General:
- Participants advised the UN Secretary-General not to abandon Afghanistan. Withdrawal of international forces could create a vacuum that may end up in civil war.
- The United Nations spends millions of dollars annually. Participants advised the UN Secretary-General to rethink their expenditure/investment in Afghanistan. These investments should benefit all in a more direct/explicit way.
- The United Nations Secretary-General is also advised to help Afghanistan overcome corruption and create jobs. They should also help religious scholars update their worldview through exposure visits.
If you wish to share your messages with the UN Secretary General, please visit https://un75.online/ and fill the one-minute survey.