On February 25, 2021, Afghanistan Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN Afghanistan) secretariat hosted its first ‘Members’ Consultation Meeting’ under an orientation and networking themed session. More than ten participants from academia, research institutions, and advocacy organizations which included Mr. Mohammad Rahim Jami, Senior Campaign and Advocacy Manager at Watch on Basic Rights Afghanistan Organization; Mr. Sultan Ali Rahimi, Deputy at Women and Children Legal Research Foundation; Mr. Abdul Rahman Hameed, Chancellor of Ghalib University; Mr. Ajmal Kakar, Head of Economics Division at National Centre for Policy Research (NCPR); Mr. Nasir Ahmad Farahmand, Vice-chancellor for Academic Affairs at Jami University; Mr. Navid Hameedi, Relationship Coordinator at Cheragh Medical Higher Education Institute; Mr. Zia Shefaie, Vice-chancellor for Academic Affairs; Mr. Mohammad Shams Formuly, Sustainability Engagement Coordinator at Kardan University; Ms. Meena, Committee member of Planning, Fundraising, and Monitoring at Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (CHA); Mr. Samiullah Hamidee, Research Director at Bost University, Mr. Wali Farhat, Network Manager at SDSN Afghanistan, Ms. Dorothea Struber, Focal point for some regional and national SDSN networks, and some colleagues at SDSN Afghanistan attended the meeting. The meeting objective was to provide a space for the network’s members to be introduced to each other; be informed of the work of UN SDSN and SDSN Afghanistan; gain an overall understanding of the member institutions’ situation in regard to SDG principles and SDSN Afghanistan programs; and brainstorm for further joint-programs in collaboration with the members.
Mr. Farhat, network manager of SDSN Afghanistan, kicked off the meeting by welcoming the participants. In following, Dorothea Struber, the focal point of some of the regional and national SDSN networks, who also congratulated all the members for joining the SDSN, began by providing information regarding the activities of the network, its mission and previous initiatives taken by the SDSN secretariat. Ms. Struber said that through working together as a network, the aim is to start the work of the SDGs on the ground despite all the challenges. Her emphasis was that through SDSN Afghanistan, the members will be deeply involved with the work of sustainable development and the SDGs, and she hoped that for future cooperation with all members of the SDSN Afghanistan.
On behalf of the SDSN Afghanistan team, Mr. Farhat briefly presented the work of SDSN Afghanistan including the network background, objectives, programs, and past projects. Mr. Farhat highlighted the role of Kateb University, as the first member of SDSN from Afghanistan, in establishing SDSN Afghanistan in March 2020 after organizing the “Role of Universities in Achieving the SDGs in Afghanistan” in September 2019. He then briefed about the three main programs of SDSN Afghanistan which are 1) awareness and engagement, 2) teach Afghanistan, and 3) solutions for sustainable development. Furthermore, he gave detailed information about how members can get involved with SDSN Afghanistan under its seven objectives and three main programs.
Next, Mr. Shefaie, C0-chair of SDSN Afghanistan and Vice-chancellor for Admin and Finance at Kateb University shed light on the importance of cross-sectoral partnerships among different SDG stakeholders in Afghanistan. He mentioned about lack of action in the area of sustainable development and the SDGs in particular climate change. From his point of view, there is a gap among different stakeholders in Afghanistan, and most policy and planning of these stakeholders are not aligned to the SDGs. He then stressed on the essential role of SDSN Afghanistan as an engagement platform for all the SDG stakeholders in Afghanistan. In addition, there is a need for further collaboration among government entities, academia, national and international partners.
Then, the participants were invited to join breakout rooms to brief their group members about their organization/institution, their activities, and how they together can collaborate to lead the SDG related initiatives in Afghanistan. The structure of group discussions was as follow:
Group discussion (a): The participants were from Kateb University, Bost University, Watch on Basic Rights Afghanistan Organization (WBRAO), and Women and Children Legal Research Foundation (WCLRF).
Group discussion (b): The participants were from Kardan University, National Centre for Policy Research (NCPR), Cheragh University, Jami University and Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (CHA).
After group discussions, one representative from each group briefed all the participants about the key points of their discussion and how their activities share common goals in furthering the work of the SDGs in Afghanistan.
Moving forward, SDSN Afghanistan is considering to implement the “Assessment for Learning” project at the national level to assist Afghan universities in developing their “SDG Capacity Building plan” for aligning and integrating the SDGs into their university’s structure and programs.
For more information, please regularly visit the resource section of our website when the full report is ready. If you want to get involved with SDSN Afghanistan, please email firstname.lastname@example.org