Gaps In Afghan Women Education Are Solvable: Astana Afghan Women Conference

Gaps In Afghan Women Education Are Solvable: Astana Afghan Women Conference

I said to a Chinese military officer in a lighter mood few weeks ago: “you (China) were building walls with the Central Asians before but now you are

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I said to a Chinese military officer in a lighter mood few weeks ago: “you (China) were building walls with the Central Asians before but now you are building roads, rails and bridges’.

That’s a change and we both laughed.

It seems that like Chinese policy, the three steps foreign and strategic policy and vision of the President of Kazakhstan is taking shape in terms of priority and engagement with the neighboring (Russia, China, CARs) regional Afghanistan, Azerbaijan Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and internationally EU and USA.

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It is more of modernization of foreign policy as well as keeping in close contact with the culture and religious roots. Astana seems to be becoming a bridge with all the parties who has war designs like USA and NATO or economic vision like China.

Let’s not forget that it was Afghanistan where the foundations of the breakup of Soviet Union after 1979 invasion and independence of Central Asian States were laid, which resulted in re-connection with Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. Peace in this region is directly linked with the peace in Afghanistan.

The initiative by Kazakhstan to support the already suffering Afghan women by holding an international “Empowering Women in Afghanistan”, conference on 5th September 2018 in Astana, is much appreciated and admired.

Afghan women were very modern and educated prior to the Soviet invasion. Sadly, all that was lost in the great game of the former and new imperialist powers who keep going to Afghanistan to die in shame. Well that’s the history.

Things are changing now all around.

We, the participants of the Regional Conference on “Empowering Women in Afghanistan” held in Astana, gathered here on 5 September 2018 (here in after – Participants),

recalling the international regulations, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (Women, Peace, and Security) and all follow-up resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, keeping in mind the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as other relevant conventions, resolutions and documents,

relying on strong ties of history and culture, centuries-long bonds of solidarity and regional interaction and cooperation of the Central Asian nations and Afghanistan based on the principles of human rights and general respect, trust and openness, striving to foster a peaceful society for all,

noting with satisfaction the dynamic and progressive development of friendly and mutually beneficial relations between the Central Asian societies and their integration in the global development process, guided by the principles of partnership and mutual support,

expressing the conviction that the development of multi-faceted cooperation with the active participation of women and girls at all stages, at a qualitatively new level, meets the long-term interests and needs of the Central Asian states and Afghanistan, and will also serve as a key factor for ensuring human-centered peace, stability and sustainable development both in Central Asia and in Afghanistan,

acknowledging the importance of effective implementation of women-related national programs in Afghanistan including the Women’s Economic Empowerment Program (WEEP) and the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA), as well as regional initiatives for women’s empowerment including those under Regional Economic Cooperation Conferences on Afghanistan (RECCA) and the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process (HoA-IP),

acknowledging the important role of women in peace-building and conflict prevention processes and focusing on the empowerment of women in political decision-making and their inclusion in all aspects of development,

reaffirming the commitment to further cooperation of the Central Asian countries and Afghanistan with a particular focus on the inclusion of women and girls in all aspects of international cooperation and development initiatives,

reaffirming that the realization of the right to education, access to quality and inclusive education contributes to the achievement of the gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls in the region,

highlighting that the existing gaps in women and girls education and employment in Afghanistan are solvable, and the current low female labor force participation rate in Afghanistan can be increased through the National Unity Government approaches and policies in place, with the support of regional and international community,

especially if barriers and negative social norms resulting in women’s vulnerability and a low position in a family and society as a key factor for women’s human rights violation are addressed efficiently by the state’s actions and assistance by development partners,

while committing to hold such events in support of women`s empowerment in Afghanistan on a regular basis, including the sharing and use of insights from these events and the engagement in mechanisms of accountability to ensure the impact of all actions taken,

reaffirming that the governments have the primary responsibility for the follow-up of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the regional level,

reaffirming that the promotion and protection of, and respect for, the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls including the rights to development is crucial for women economic empowerment and should be mainstreamed in all policies and programs,


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