Photo:“Jaggery or Gura (ګوړه) is a product of sugarcane and more unrefined than sugar. This variant is a pure delicacy as it has dry fruit in the mix and is produced in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar among other areas. Gur is used in Ayruveda medicines too but is great with green tea”
In the last weeks, -since the rise to power of the Taliban’s- we have repeatedly heard and read deep concern about women´s rights and in general, human rights guarantees. Although it is important to acknowledge both sides of the story, in the end, looks more about Media stories rather than the pure reality of a country struggling for gaining stability within worrying economic-financial perspectives, and the threat of terrorism (that traditionally have been associated as Taliban´s action).
Internal divisions, ethnically and politically as well as ages of an imposed foreign military presence create the idea of a pseudo-stability only built through foreign codes. Is it true that efforts were made to keep certain levels of peace, however, not to keep their economy up or/and prevent terrorist attacks. The latest continues now, without the leadership from the Taliban’s, and the economy struggles with the only hope that foreign aid is available. There is no worse way to boost a resilient society than to keep them dependant on external aid, however, it seems that is the expectation, not to give power to local capacities and resources.
If so, Afghanistan may not be empowered to build a balanced society as external aid is not being allocated on natural resources, instead, foreign projects that in the end, hold the weakness of being part of a political agenda. It is true, a biased one, that leads to the current situation, taking over their natural resources instead of helping them to exploit it on their own. Lack of local production and investment to empower is the big failure that makes any attempt to “help” an intrusive gesture on their sovereignty. This is the real loss for good governance that is making the current democratic structure simply useless.
The Taliban’s Government is showing political will to negotiate and change, maybe aware of their need to boost their economy and find a way out for a devastated country within a post-war scenario.
A challenging peace process demand: tolerance from the international community, trust in their leaders, financial aid to empower -breaking the vicious circle of dependency- and alignment with the SDGs within enough flexibility to make the Afghan society build their own capacities according to their tradition.
Solidarity from the international community towards a Nation that is struggling with internal divisions and the remains of biased foreign interests supposes delivering tools to get empowered and not creating more vulnerability and sense of dependence. Is a political process enough difficult to add more pressure by external interferences.
For the correct and effective achievement of the SDGs, we do need to take into consideration the particular needs of each community, even if that may lead to confrontation Lets take into account that local needs are not necessarily aligned within the traditional meaning of Global goals in the sense of western values.
One of the main burdens that are facing is concerning women’s policies, however, is extremely relevant to listen to the Government: “no women teachers had been laid off, and that this was “a positive message to the world that we are working on a mechanism. We not working on deleting them from schools or/and universities.”
“it would announce good news soon on older girls bemost external aid has been halted… allowed to go back to school, but urged the international community to help it fund the process as most external aid has been halted.
The importance to support women in Afghanistan is also about showing how the “new normal” is happening within positive outputs according to their traditions, culture, and religion. Respecting their idiosyncrasy is a way to help them in their challenging peace process.
The capacity to join efforts through networking, exchange with local women organizations, and the openness from the Government to dialogue is one of those capacities to power instead of the continuity of a “war” against a Government that currently, have repeatedly expressed political will to interact with the world and not isolate themselves. Mainly because is part of the political focus of the region.
Education plays a fundamental role to build a new society that gets out of war and poverty. In fact, “UN agencies report that by this winter 23 million of the country’s 38 million population will not have enough food. Further estimates suggest that by the middle of 2022, as many as 97% of the Afghan people will be living on less than $1.90 per day – up from today’s level of around 50%.
Furthermore, a UNESCO report said that external aid represented almost half of the Education budget in 2020. A confirmation that no matter how is in power the country is vulnerable and weak without capacity -although natural resources- to become resilient.
Currently, we strongly believe that the achievement of the SDGs is challenging not precisely at the political level but in real terms. Recent public statements made it clear that changes do not supposes undermine international standards, at least for the Education system:
“The changes will be according to international standards in physics and chemistry and biology and all these science subjects,” Hashimi said, adding that no changes had been made yet to the curriculum. He said ministry officials had been working closely with international agencies, which he said had reacted positively to the parts they had seen”
A true expression of the political will to switch their Education system into their particular standards, but at the same time, within the capacity to negotiate Global Goals and get aligned with the international community. A goal that demands time, allocation of external resources, and an open-minded Government to see the change and comply with the requirements of the SDGs, not necessary to impose rules and cultural codes externally. In any case, only by following the traditional procedures of any member of the United Nations.
There is a strong responsibility and generosity from the international community to empower Afghanistan and their people: tolerance to understand, listen to adapt, exchange to boost a self-sufficient Nation, and finally getting into a flexible scenario within the political will to negotiate a flexible SDGs framework.