Representatives from more than 90 countries are gathering to discuss Afghanistan’s future.
The Bonn Conference, which begins next week, is a real chance to put concrete steps forward in how to secure long-term peace and development in Afghanistan, as international troops prepare to withdraw by 2014.
Many NGOs including World Vision have contributed to a policy paper coordinated by Crisis in Action, calling for international governments to take a new course to tackle the root causes of conflict, poverty and inequality in the country.
Leaders and agencies from Afghanistan will sit alongside world leaders, the United Nations, and aid agencies including World Vision, to discuss solutions at the event.
David Thomson, Director of Policy and Programmes at World Vision UK, said: “Like many international agencies, staff from World Vision are working hard in Afghanistan to improve the lives of children and their families.
“But we’re in no doubt that huge challenges remain for the country. There are fears among ordinary people that, when international troops leave in 2014, the international community’s commitment Afghanistan will disappear too. We need to act now to make sure this doesn’t happen.”
The policy paper, entitled ‘Priorities for Action’, outlines that “huge challenges remain before ordinary Afghans are able to exercise many of their basic human rights, have access to justice and a functioning legal system to lawfully settle their grievances, and be able to influence their future properly through democratic structures.
“And across all these spheres, Afghan women face entrenched discrimination and disadvantage, and fears that hard-won gains of recent years may be under threat. It is now widely acknowledged that there is no military solution to the end of the conflict and there must ultimately be a political settlement to achieve this.”
World Vision, together with other agencies, is focusing on three key areas of action for international governments: reconciliation and an inclusive political settlement; transition of future responsibilities; and long-term commitment to Afghanistan after 2014. The policy paper states: "We are calling for the international government meeting in Bonn to demonstrate willingness to provide a strong commitment to support efforts in to better the lives of Afghans and not prioritise security and military objectives."
World Vision in particular is stressing that programmes support critical public services and other initiatives that cater for needs of women and children.
• A Twitter conversation will take place on issues surrounding the conference: @togetherafghan
2 December 2011