Qatar committed to Afghanistan’s development, prosperity, says Assistant FM

Qatar committed to Afghanistan's development, prosperity, says Assistant FM

Bali, The Gulf Observer: Indonesia, in partnership with Qatar, organised an International Conference on Afghan Women’s Education, in Bali. Qatar was represented at the conference by Assistant Foreign Minister H E Lolwah bint Rashid Al Khater.

The Conference was attended by more than 40 countries, in addition to a large number of educational organisations and institutions, the private sector and figures.

It saw the attendance by representatives from the United Nations, the European Union, Unesco, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the World Islamic Bank, as well as a number of officials, including Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia H E Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkiye H E Mevlut Cavusoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway H E Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands H E Wopke Hoekstra, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina H E Bisera Turkovic, Minister for Pacific Peoples and Associate Foreign Affairs Minister of New Zealand H E Aupito William Sio, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates H E Sarah Al Amiri, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia H E Walid Abdulkarim Al Khuraiji, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) H E Roza Otunbayeva, and Australia’s Special Representative on Afghanistan H E Senator Fatima Payman.

Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah bint Rashid Al Khater said that the conference affirms commitment and coordination of efforts to support the people of Afghanistan, noting that Qatar is committed to the development and prosperity in Afghanistan, in a way that provides opportunities for both men and women.

In a speech before the conference, she said that education is an Islamic religious obligation that includes women and men, which we saw in the biography of the Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace, adding that Islamic countries must reveal these facts about the sublime values and teachings of the true Islamic religion. She said Qatar has so far pledged more than $75m to support Afghanistan, underlying its commitment to a number of projects to support Afghan women, including scholarship programmes, funding training programmes in Afghanistan in various fields, including the medical sectors, hosting the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) in Doha to continue its work, and supporting the reopening of girls’ schools in Afghanistan.

She stressed that these projects in themselves are not enough to make the difference that is intended to be achieved, noting the importance of the International Conference on Afghan Women’s Education, which she considered an opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences and explore how to build a coordinated and comprehensive long-term strategy that will support all women in Afghanistan.

The Assistant Foreign Minister expressed her pleasure to hear more about the initiatives of other countries and stakeholders participating in the conference, and urged all participants to continue the important work they are doing and expand these projects.

The Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed the importance of the Conference to review the development in Afghanistan and reaffirm the support for the Afghan people without exception, in addition to reaffirming support for women’s rights, especially their right to education.

She explained that there are more than 11 million Afghan women and girls in dire need of humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, noting that the restrictions imposed on women may cost the Afghan economy $1 billion or 5 percent of the gross domestic product, according to the United Nations Development Programme, pointing out that Afghanistan ranks last among 156 countries according to the 2021 Gender Gap Index issued by the World Economic Forum.

The representatives of Turkiye, Pakistan, the Netherlands, Norway, Britain, the United States, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan thanked Qatar and Indonesia for organising this conference, which sheds light on Afghanistan and put women’s education at the top of its agenda.