BRUSSELS: The spiritual leader of Shia Ismaili Muslims Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan highlighted three key areas during his speech at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, including an immediate drive to sustain Afghanistan’s human and social capital, supporting civil society, and ensuring sustained social and economic gains of the country.
Expressing gratitude towards the Government of Afghanistan and the European Union for bringing the international community together, Aga Khan in his speech, said “Since 2001, AKDN and its partners have channelled over $1 billion to enhance self-reliance and improve the quality of life of Afghans. Between now and 2020, AKDN plans similar investments in cultural heritage, education, energy, health, and poverty alleviation.”
The leader of the world’s Ismailies further added “In supporting the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework, I wish to highlight three areas we believe are crucial to its success.”
According to Aga Khan “First, it is urgent to drive efforts to sustain and develop Afghanistan’s human and social capital. For this purpose, AKDN supports the Ministry of Education’s National Education Strategic Plan in over 850 schools and education centres. In health, AKDN’s public private partnerships have provided treatment to over 1.6 million Afghans and trained over 13,000 doctors, nurses, and health workers. Together with our partners, we will soon inaugurate the Mothers and Children’s wing of the French Medical Institute in Kabul and the new Bamiyan Provincial Hospital.”
Second, supporting civil society is essential. Decades of experience have taught us that effective civil society is fundamental to lasting progress, helping ensure development that is inclusive and participatory. Civil society can unleash constructive talents from a broad spectrum of organisations and individuals, including the private sector. We are gratified to see these principles reflected in the Citizen’s Charter adopted last week by the government,” Aga Khan said.
He also added “Third, area development should be supported. Ensuring sustained social and economic gains often requires working across frontiers. One promising example is Pamir Energy, a public private partnership between the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development and the Government of Tajikistan. Since 2008, it has exported electricity across the border, reaching nearly 35,000 Afghans, and much more is possible.”
Concluding his remarks at the major conference, Aga Khan, said “Finally, I would reiterate my profound belief in the power of sustained, long-term, multi-dimensional development that empowers individuals and communities to improve their quality of life. It is with that conviction that I support this meeting and reconfirm our commitment to Afghanistan’s future.”
The conference in Brussels was hosted by the European Union and Afghanistan on 4th and 5th of October and some 70 countries and 30 international organizations and agencies participated in the conference to debate and reaffirm commitment to Afghanistan’s future. -KP
THE PASHTUN TIMES