SDSN Afghanistan launched in August 2020 as a platform for universities, businesses, government, and civil society organizations to promote evidence-based solutions to help achieve the SDGs in the country. The network is set out to act on three long-term objectives: Awareness and Engagement, Teach Afghanistan, and Solutions for Sustainable Development.
Awareness and Engagement
By using platforms such as research journals and community-based campaigns, SDSN Afghanistan will raise SDG awareness in different sectors. An SDG Solutions Forum and sectoral SDG dialogues are planned to accelerate their implementation in the country. The network will also translate SDG-related documents into local languages to enhance their understanding within society. In this context, Kateb University organized the first-ever conference on the role of universities in achieving the SDGs in Afghanistan in August 2019. As a result, UNDP pledged financial support and collaboration on data sharing, the Afghan government promised political support, and the Ministry of Economy suggested the One University – One Goal Initiative, a project aimed at providing dedicated SDG-support to higher education institutions.
SDSN Afghanistan also participated in the SDSN’s 24-Hour Webinar on Happiness and Sustainability held in April 2020 with a one-hour panel discussion on the topic ‘Afghanistan Peace Process: Role of Women – Opportunities and Challenges’. The session highlighted policy options for more gender equality in the country and generated broad interest among participants from business, public sector, and civil society.
In order to support access to quality education in the country, the network will adopt a three-tier solution:
- Implement a systematic study of higher education to formulate recommendations for improvement
- Provide high quality affordable programs in public and private universities to increase access to higher education
- Train universities to improve education on the SDGs and better instruct current and future implementers
As a concrete example, Kateb University participated in the national conference on “Best Practices and Innovations of Private Schools of Afghanistan"; held in December 2019. It will work with the association of private schools to develop an SDG training program for school teachers and promote the SDGs among students and teachers.
Solutions for Sustainable Development
The decade of action to achieve the SDGs has started but Afghanistan is still in the localization phase. However, reliable data, technological support, and reporting mechanisms are missing and impede timely action on the SDGs. Therefore, SDSN Afghanistan will provide solutions for each of the above challenges by setting up an SDGs data center that supports data collection and monitoring on the SDGs while preparing a gap analysis on current policies.
SDSN Afghanistan is currently growing its membership, while engaging its Leadership Council, building strategic partnerships with businesses, and enhancing linkages with organizations to facilitate the implementation of the named objectives.