Aga Khan at 2018 Conference on Afghanistan
Regional cooperation and a commitment to pluralism are key to a country’s national development and stability, says Aga Khan
Geneva, Switzerland, 28 November 2018 – His Highness the Aga Khan, speaking at the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, today reaffirmed his “enduring commitment to Afghanistan, and, most importantly, to its peoples”.
The Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), joined Afghanistan’s President His Excellency Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive His Excellency Abdullah Abdullah, Foreign Ministers from numerous countries and heads of development organisations working in Afghanistan who had gathered for this conference.
“As we come together to support the National Unity Government, “ the Aga Khan said, “investing in civil society – encouraging private organisations designed to serve public goals – deserves equal attention. Such institutions can be stabilising factors and points of continuity. That is why AKDN supports the full spectrum of civil society, devoting special attention to health, education, culture, community governance, and public-private partnerships to deliver other services.”
The Aga Khan also stated that “the experience of the past seventeen years has strongly reinforced my conviction that the path to sustainable peace in Afghanistan depends heavily on two key principles – regional cooperation, which is key for national development and stability; and a commitment to pluralism – the country’s diversity must be cultivated as a source of strength. Everyone in all regions should benefit from investment that creates hope for the future. This is a guiding principle of our investment in Afghanistan”.
For the full statement, please see: Statement by His Highness the Aga Khan
According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, the Geneva Conference “is an opportunity to emphasise the importance of the development and reform agenda and the need to advance it as a constructive contribution to peace and security”. The Geneva Conference is expected to measure the impact of the US$ 15.2 billion that was committed by the international community at the previous Afghanistan conference in 2016.
AKDN and its partners have committed over US$ 1 billion in development assistance to the country since 2002. Its economic projects now span over 287 cities and districts in the country’s 34 provinces. Its social development and humanitarian work, which began in 1996 with humanitarian relief but now spans food security, education and healthcare, is focused in 61 districts in seven provinces. Its cultural programmes in Kabul, Herat, Balkh and Badakhshan have restored over 90 historic buildings.