• The future of Afghanistan is at risk, experts warn Cameron

The future of Afghanistan is at risk, experts warn Cameron

02 December 2014 | Development Civil society

Large cuts to the Afghanistan aid budget in the wake of troop withdrawals could wreck the huge improvements made in the last decade and threaten a new generation of Afghans to a life of poverty, a meeting of over 200 Afghan and international experts will warn on Wednesday 3 December.

 

As the UK Prime Minister prepares to hold the London Conference on Afghanistan with the new Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, a group of international charities, development and human rights organisations are meeting to discuss the future of the country.

 

The Ayenda Conference (meaning ‘future’ in Dari) is being hosted by BAAG, the British & Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group, and will bring together Afghan and international development and aid professionals to discuss the key recommendations to the Afghan and international governments.  BAAG’s Director Jawad Nader said:

 

“Afghanistan has made huge strides forward since 2001. Although there is still much to be done, there have been massive improvements in health, education and infrastructure. Life expectancy is up, girls are going to school and for the first time many people have a clinic in their village.

 

“But we’re worried that if the international community turns its back on Afghanistan as the foreign troops leave, then this progress could stall or even go backwards. We’re urging David Cameron and other world leaders meeting on the 4th December in London to keep up vital aid and development programmes which are bringing real change to Afghanistan. Without this help, the lives of millions of Afghans could be blighted by even worse poverty and suffering.”

 

At the Ayenda Conference we will gather ideas on the future of Afghanistan from hundreds of experts, which will be presented to Prime Minister David Cameron and President Ashraf Ghani at the main London Afghanistan Conference. They will look at aid, providing health and education services, and improving women’s rights.

 

Mr Nader said it was vital that the voice of charities and NGOs – almost all of them run or staffed by Afghans – was heard by the leaders. He said:

 

“Many ordinary Afghans have done tireless work in charities and aid agencies and they know the realities of Afghanistan on the ground. They understand how to help their fellow Afghans. They know what works and what doesn’t. Their expertise must continue to inform policy making at a national level.”

 

When the Ayenda Conference has agreed its recommendations, a two person delegation will attend the main London Conference on Afghanistan to present their findings to David Cameron, Ashraf Ghani and the other world leaders present.

 

Sakhidad Naseri, of the Relief Organization for Rehabilitation of Afghanistan said: “We have achieved many things such as girls education, freedom of the media and other achievements with the help of the international community.

The CEO and new president of Afghanistan cane overcome the challenges ahead as long as they continue to campaign for the people of Aghanistan and give directions based on democratic values. They need to make space for people from different regions, young people and women in government making policy institutions.”

 

Notes to editors:

 

BAAG is a network organisation of 30 British/Irish charities including Amnesty International, Action Aid, Christian Aid, Afghanaid, Global Witness and Tearfund.