In visit to Afghanistan’s north, special envoy Otunbayeva assures continued UN support, stresses regional cooperation
KABUL - UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Roza Otunbayeva, carried out a two-day mission this week to the country’s north, including a brief visit to the Uzbek border town of Termez, discussing UN support to local communities and reinforcing regional cooperation for Afghanistan’s future.
During the two-day visit starting 30 November, Ms. Otunbayeva heard from various communities as well as women and business leaders of Mazar-i-Sharif.
While in Termez, Uzbekistan’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Ismatilla Irgashev, and representatives of Uzbekistan-based UN humanitarian agencies joined the UN special envoy in discussions about ramping up humanitarian and development support to Afghanistan. They stressed the need for increased regional connectivity through trade, education, cross-border mobility and humanitarian support.
Meeting with the de facto Afghan authorities’ Governor of Balkh Province, Mawlawi Mohammad Daud Muzamil, Ms. Otunbayeva underscored that it was critical for all Afghan children and youth – both girls and boys – to have full access to education. She stressed the need to promote and respect women’s rights, ensure an inclusive governance, and create conditions for private businesses to flourish.
She also called for a dialogue for the sake of peace in the country.
Members of the Balkh business community also pointed out visa issues, lack of access to their funds and difficulties with international fund transfers.
UN envoy Otunbayeva assured them of the UN’s continued engagement with the de facto authorities, with the aim of ensuring a conducive environment for Afghan businesses as well as continued advocacy for increased funding with the donor countries.
While in Mazar, Ms. Otunbayeva visited project sites supported by the UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). She saw FAO distribute wheat seeds, poultry equipment, and fertilizers to the most destitute female beneficiaries. She also visited an ILO-supported project supporting local women, mostly internally-displaced and returnees, with tailoring and carpet weaving. Ms. Otunbayeva heard that this ILO project – implemented by the Tashgozar Carpet Weaving Company – offers training by ensuring maximum safety at the workplace.
(More photos from the visit can be found here.)