Samangan leaders discuss development initiatives at UN-backed symposium
AYBAK - Stronger bonds must be forged between government offices and the private sector to see sustained economic growth, said panellists at a UN-backed symposium held in the capital of the northern province of Samangan last week.
Panellists, consisting of government officials, provincial council members and civil society representatives, discussed ways to improve coordination between government offices and the communities they serve, with especial focus on developing strategies to facilitate development in the province.
Organized by the Mazar regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the symposium was recorded by a local radio, and the highlights were later broadcast to an audience estimated at 200,000 in and around Samangan, with the goal being to update local communities about the discussion and the decided outcomes of the symposium.
In the opening remarks, Provincial Council chair Sefatullah Samangani said the Samangan’s contribution to the national economy shouldn’t be underestimated, but noted that broader cooperation on infrastructure development could enhance the province’s economic standing, particularly in areas such as health, education and agriculture.
Following the pledge made by Deputy Provincial Governor Ziauddin Zia to address issues raised during the discussion, particularly around areas required to expedite development projects, participants agreed to meet regularly to coordinate, with the full involvement of civil society in planning, prioritizing and monitoring development projects.
Located in the north of Afghanistan Samangan is a mostly rural and agricultural province that has a population of fewer than 400,000, most of whom are farmers. While the province has several historic sites and minimal conflict, it has no active tourist industry.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission to provide 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps that the UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent national and international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.
UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.