UN officials meet with Lashkar Gah leaders on local peace, development
LASHKAR GAH - To discuss the Helmand’s latest economic development plans, preparations for the upcoming elections and human rights topics, UNAMA’s Kandahar regional office organized a series of meetings with civil society members, women’s rights groups, government officials and other community leaders in Lashkar Gah.
In the meeting with Governor Mohammad Yasin, along with other administration officials and members of the Provincial Peace Council, participants discussed a range of topics, including local peace initiatives and increased development of essential services, notably in transportation and telecommunications. Those in attendance stressed the importance of peace efforts moving forward.
In each of the meetings, the head of UNAMA’s Kandahar regional office, Reuben Culpin, underlined the UN’s support to the province. “The United nations stands with the people of Helmand in their quest for peace and stability,” said Culpin, who was joined by representatives from several UN agencies, including WHO, UNICEF, UNHCR and WFP.
In other meetings UN officials organized with civil society organizations, women’s advocacy groups and community leaders, participants focused on issues around the upcoming elections, including insuring access to electoral centres and the full, safe and secure participation of women in the polls.
Helmand, which shares a long border with Pakistan to the south, is a restive province said to be one of the world’s largest opium-producing regions. Helmand’s residents, most of whom work in agriculture and animal husbandry, continue to face infrastructure and services challenges.
UNAMA’s Kandahar regional office organized the meetings as part as part of a countrywide outreach programme aimed at creating platforms – using radio, television and social media – where Afghans can engage in dialogue and discuss critical issues affecting their communities.