Afghanistan, Germany debate international cooperation beyond 2014
The kick-off panel brought together Oliver Owcza, Deputy German Ambassador, and Shafiq Ahmad Qarizada, Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Finance, with Nargis Nehan, Director of Equality for Peace & Democracy, Siddiqullah Tawihdi, Director of Afghanistan Media Watch, and Masood Karokhail, Director The Liaison Office (TLO), to discuss “International Cooperation with Afghanistan beyond 2014”. The panel was moderated by Lotfullah Najafizada, Head of Current Affairs at TOLOnews.
The panel touched upon various issues, ranging from government accountability in the transition process to anti-corruption, women’s rights and the need for good news on development successes. The debate also focused on the role of civil society and the media in bringing these topics to light for the public.
Outlining Germany’s strategy for civil cooperation with Afghanistan, Owcza stressed the importance of partnership between the Afghan Government, civil society and the international community. “A lot has been achieved,” he said, answering the question of whether development cooperation makes sense, and added that, “We need to tell the good stories to convince those who do not believe we are living up to our commitments.” Highlighting the need for economic stability and sustainability, Owcza added, “If Afghanistan manages to become prosperous and self-reliant, it can tackle the problems of unemployment and under-education. The Tokyo framework will act as our compass for the next ten years. To reduce our commitment would affect progress.”
While civil society representative Mrs. Nehan agreed that Afghanistan has come a long way since 2002, she also emphasized the role of setting realistic targets for the government to achieve. She defended the Deputy Minister of Finance, saying that, “Security can affect efforts to control state institutions and reporting in the provinces. We now have to come up with methods and help the new administration put these into place to curb serious issues.” Against this background, Karokhail of TLO said, “A key aspect in facing today’s challenges lies in how civil society can bring us together to confront these problems. Social media and civil society have played a crucial role so far and grass roots organisations are taking on a great responsibility. The key lies in our youth.”
Representing the media, Tawihdi of Afghanistan Media Watch added, “One of the greatest successes in Afghanistan is the media landscape, with a vast number of outlets.” He explained that the media still need the support of the Afghan government and added, “The state should act upon criticism in the press. However, we can build on our achievements, especially in terms of the democratic freedom we have managed to secure.”
Media Meetings 2014 – Afghan Media for Social Responsibility – are a series of regular events held by Afghan-German Development Cooperation with Mediothek Afghanistan. The meetings bring together a panel of experts from the government and public sector, civil society, development cooperation and the media, to discuss important development issues with the press. The Media Meetings are held in Kabul, with events in Balkh and Badakhshan.
President Hamid Karzai expressed his gratitude to the international community for their support in rebuilding the war-torn country. He acknowledged
The UK government has pledged a grant of £47 million to fund education projects for underprivileged young girls of Afghanistan.