Hundreds gather at UN-backed symposium to strategize on sustainable peace

20 Dec 2018

Hundreds gather at UN-backed symposium to strategize on sustainable peace

KUNDUZ - Religious scholars, civil society representatives, women’s rights activists, government officials and other community leaders came together at a UN-backed symposium in Kunduz to strategize on the best way forward to sustainable peace.

More than 300 community leaders attended the event, organized by the Kunduz Provincial Peace Committee in collaboration with UNAMA’s regional office, to exchange ideas about the main factors affecting security in the northeast province, and across Afghanistan, and to chart out possible next steps toward peace.

Farida, a representative for displaced people in Kunduz, highlighted how insecurity has affected local communities across Afghanistan. “We want a sustainable peace that is supported by increased security, stability and development,” she said.

Others speaking at the event offered similar perspectives as they discussed the need for more development initiatives in the northeast, along with stronger community cohesion. Many speakers called for all Afghans do their part in building peace and tolerance among their communities and underlined the importance of engaging in dialogue to end the deadly war.

“Reaching real peace requires a nation-wide campaign that mobilizes and engages everyone in the country,” said Arbab Hafizulla, a community elder from the Imam Sahib district of Kunduz.

Another speaker at the symposium, Habiba Gulustani, stressed that peaceful dialogue is the only solution. “The best way to convince people to stop fighting is to engage in dialogue and cultivate mutual understanding,” said Gulustani, a Kunduz civil society representative.

At the conclusion of the event, the participants jointly resolved to carry the discussion forward among their respective communities in future events and engagements.

The event in the restive north-eastern province was covered by local media outlets, reaching audiences estimated at 500,000 people in and around the provincial capital.

The Kunduz symposium is one of many other similar programmes, events and initiatives resulting from UNAMA reaching out to a range of groups across the country to create spaces, both physical and on social media, for them to come together and discuss issues that are of critical importance to them, and to strategize on the best way forward.

At almost every UNAMA-backed event, local media partners not only record the discussion and debate for later rebroadcast, but also create new programmes around the issues that are raised, extending the discussion and creating new opportunities for local voices to be heard on issues such as peace, reconciliation, government transparency, human rights and rule of law.

In accordance with its mandate as a political mission, UNAMA supports the Afghan people and government to achieve peace and stability. UNAMA backs conflict prevention and resolution, promoting inclusion and social cohesion, as well as strengthening regional cooperation. The Mission supports effective governance, promoting national ownership and accountable institutions that are built on respect for human rights.

UNAMA provides 'good offices' and other key services, including diplomatic steps that draw on the organization’s independence, impartiality and integrity to prevent disputes from arising, escalating or spreading. The Mission coordinates international support for Afghan development and humanitarian priorities.