Sweden, FAO Strengthen Partnership For Afghanistan Peace, Socio-Economic Development

Kabul: Sweden’s International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are reinforcing their partnership through an innovative long-term development program to build resilience at community and ecosystems level, according to a statement on Thursday. The partnership will help boost local rural economies in conjunction with the on-going humanitarian response, and contribute to building peace in Afghanistan.

“The new Climate Resilient Ecological and Agriculture risks’ Management (CREAM) program aims to reinforce the humanitarian response while enhancing long-term risk reduction and resilience building based on the conflict-sensitive programming and Humanitarian-Development-Peace (HDP) Nexus approach. It is another step forward in our longstanding and fruitful collaboration with Sweden,” said Rajendra Aryal, FAO Representative in Afghanistan.

“Sweden is committed to stand by Afghanistan in these difficult times of complex humanitarian emergency. But as much as we need to provide urgent humanitarian assistance – as we are currently doing so, we also need to work with a long-term holistic perspective like the Nexus approach towards the development of the country. Building resilience is an imperative to achieve economic development and contribute to building peace. FAO has the technical expertise and reach to make it happen,” said Maria Lundberg, Head of Unit for Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, even Save the Children organization is calling for all parties in the escalating conflict in Afghanistan to abide by international humanitarian law and ensure children and schools do not become collateral damage.

Save the Children last week in Kandahar, a province in southern Afghanistan, found about 25 schools damaged in one district alone, potentially preventing almost 28,000 students from returning to their classrooms when they reopen, their statement revealed. While schools are currently closed due to the COVID-19 lockdown in the country, they must be protected as safe spaces for children, it warned.

A number of schools were burned to the ground in the northern province of Faryab, including a school supported by Save the Children which was destroyed by rockets and stray bullets on June 22. Mohammad Moradi, the headmaster of the school, told Save the Children, “Our school had 947 students and 18 teachers, and Save the Children helped us with textbooks and facilities for hand washing. Unfortunately, our school building is now gone.”

Athena Rayburn, Director of Advocacy and Media at Save the Children Afghanistan said, “Children in Afghanistan have already endured the trauma of war for too long. The destruction of these schools is a violation of Afghan children’s rights and will prevent them from being able to return to school – the only chance they have for a better future. Children play no part in conflict and yet, as is too often the case, they are paying the price for this escalating violence. The hopes and dreams of an entire generation of children are being destroyed. All parties to the conflict must ensure the protection of children and schools. Children and the places that provide them with safe haven must never become collateral damage.”

24 / June 2021
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