Afghan youth throw their weight behind efforts to seek sustainable peace

24 Jul 2012

Afghan youth throw their weight behind efforts to seek sustainable peace

KABUL - A day after a three-day national gathering of Afghan youth concluded in the capital Kabul, the youth leaders today marched to the Presidential Palace to submit their recommendations – that sought acceleration of peace efforts, total corruption control and administrative reforms – to President Hamid Karzai.

According to Sayed Noor-ul-Haq Haideryar, the spokesperson of the National Peace Jirga of Afghan Youth, the Jirga declaration submitted to President Karzai has called on the international community to fully support the Government’s efforts to achieve peace and reconciliation.

“We emphasized acceleration of diplomatic, political and religious efforts in relation to the peace and reconciliation process,” said Mr Haideryar, adding that the declaration has sought increased oversight of the development budget for better development outcomes so as to check corruption.

He said the gathering of over 1,400 youth also agreed to the light presence of American forces in Afghanistan post-2014, but opposed any “permanent military base”.

The youth also demanded with the President, who patiently listened to the demands and recommendations of the youth, to create more education opportunities for them, said Mr Haideryar. “He (the President) appreciated our efforts aimed at contributing to bring sustainable peace in Afghanistan.”

Afghanistan’s youth below 25 years of age make up about 70 per cent of the country’s over 30 million people, according to some estimates.

The youth coming from different parts of the country had engaged in intense discussion for three days seeking to come to a conclusion on how Afghanistan can embrace sustainable peace.

The Jirga was organized mostly with voluntary contributions, but the Government is also believed to have facilitated this national event. At the end of the Jirga yesterday, the participating youth were bestowed with the honourary title of “Ambassadors of Peace” so that they would spread the message of peace, brotherhood and unity in their cities and villages.

In the meanwhile, another Kabul-based youth organization, Afghanistan Young Leaders Initiative (AYLI), has issued policy recommendation notes for the participants of the upcoming International Conference on Afghanistan to be held in Tokyo, on 8 July.

The recommendation suggests that any long-term new plan must be people-oriented and reflect the “true needs and aspirations” of the Afghan people.

Stressing upon effective accountability mechanisms, the AYLI has called upon the Afghan Government and the international community to make sure that their long-term engagement and commitments are built upon concrete and tangible deliverables.

It also recommended establishment of an Economic Planning Commission as a national overarching policy and planning body, which is not Government-driven, and serve as a policy and strategic think-tank for the President and the Afghan Cabinet.

Another key recommendation relates to Afghanistan’s rapid population growth rate of 2.8 percent. The report recommends development of a long-term strategy to balance population vs sustainable socio-economic growth.

By UNAMA Kabul