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AUAF Hosts the Launch of United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Report for 2015

On February 9, 2016, American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) hosted the launch event for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) flagship report, Human Development Report 2015. The event was held at the International Center for Afghan Women's Economic Development (ICAWED) of the University and attended by distinguished guests including H.E. Nasir Ahmad Durrani, Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development; Dr. Ahmad Shah Salehi, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs; Mark Bowden, UN Resident Representative for Afghanistan; Manzoor Khaliq, ILO Representative for Afghanistan; Douglas Keh, UNDP Country Director for Afghanistan, Dr. Mark English, AUAF President; representatives of the private sector,  several governmental and non-governmental officials, students, faculty, and staff.

The event commenced with the recitation of Holy Quran and Afghanistan's National Anthem followed by the welcoming remarks by Dr. English.

The theme of the report "Work and Human Development" was introduced and discussed by Douglas Keh. He talked about the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are essential for the development of a country and briefly explained the chapters of the HDR 2015. He also touched upon the importance of women participation in the work force.

"Women are consistently prevented for having the choices that men have today, “said Douglas Keh. "Tradition and discrimination prevent them to do what they want to do."

Minister Durrani, in his speech, highlighted the activities of his Ministry in creating jobs and sustainable livelihood for rural Afghanistan. He shed light on the importance of community based programs, engaging communities in voluntary works, and small and medium enterprises. He said that the HDR 2015 emphasis the need for sustainable jobs and MRRD creates employment and set the environment that makes these jobs more secure and sustainable, especially for women. 

"MRRD uses human development approach to provide opportunities, build human capabilities, and enable people to live healthy & productive life," said Mr. Durrani.

In his speech, Dr. Salehi expressed his gratitude to AUAF and UNDP for providing a bigger picture of where Afghanistan stands now, and where it should be. He discussed the issues that exists in labor market of the country, and talked about labor law. He said "National Unity government has put employment opportunities as one of the top priorities, and we are striving to develop programs such as "Jobs for peace" endorsed by the President of the country."

Mr. Khaliq spoke about gender equality in labor market and said that ILO recognizes private sector and its role for creating better and more jobs, specially for women.

"ILO together with UNDP is trying to create various replicable models of decent work and productive employment generation in the areas of local economic development, and skills development," said Manzoor Khaliq.

Following the speeches, there was a panel discussion moderated by Mark Bowden. The audiences were allowed to share their comments and ask questions from panel members- Douglas Keh, Minister Durrani, Dr. Salehi, and Manzoor Khaliq. The report was shared with the audience and the event concluded with a group photo.