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NATO Young Leaders Forum on Afghanistan (Bratislava, Dec. 2012)


CENAA in cooperation with NATO Public Diplomacy Division and Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic  hostedon 9 – 13 December 2012 in Bratislava the 7th NATO Youth Leaders Forum on Afghanistan.

NATO Young Leaders Forum on Afghanistan is annual forum that aims at bringing together young leaders from Afghanistan and various NATO member and partner countries in order to enhance mutual understanding, to allow them to establish sustained contacts among themselves and discuss the future of Afghanistan in the view of young generations. One of the main objectives of this international forum is the preparation of young professionals from Afghanistan to be able to take over responsibility for security and governance of Afghanistan. Interactive discussions and lectures led by top speakers from various international and Slovak organizations will therefore focus on open exchange of ideas and interaction of participants from different backgrounds.

Participants of the NATO Young Leader Forum on Afghanistan attended lectures and discussions with various international and Slovak top speakers, such as  NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Kolinda-Grabar Kitarovic, former Deputy Special Representative of the EU to Afghanistan and Pakistan Michael Semple and many others. Participants also connected through videoconference with UNAMA and watched the documentary movie of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic „Lone Soldier in the field“. At the end of the forum they visited also National Council of the Slovak Republic.

During the forum participants have adopted Declaration on the future of Afghanistan.

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In the declaration, which will be sent to NATO Secretary General Mr. Rasmussen and the Afghan President Mr. Karzai in the upcoming days, professionals from all around the world require number of reforms in the area of good governance, security, economic and social development. According to young leaders Afghanistan in the upcoming years should be able to defend its citizens against threats; capable of governing its political affairs; and successful in achieving sustainable growth and development.

In order to avoid electoral fraud during the 2014 Presidential elections, young leaders suggest collecting data on population and introducing electronic identity cards. They also believe human-rights enforcement is very low and corruption poses serious threat. Participants of forum welcome the growth of the ANSF both qualitatively and quantitatively and suggest focusing on the local level and the cooperation of the Afghan and Pakistani military and intelligence communities.

”We are concerned with: the lack of economic growth; high inflation; unemployment of women; the influence of the shadow economy and the fiscal constraints of the Afghan Government“, say young leaders and stress the importance of the support of the international community in stabilising Afghanistan.

Despite that there has been the positive trend in eliminating poppy cultivation in several Afghan provinces, representative of 25 countries suggest devising solutions that affect both the supply and demand sides.

Declaration has been signed by all participants at the end on the 4-day long conference, which enabled them to discuss the most pressing issues of Afghanistan in regard to Alliance´s troop withdrawal and the termination of NATO ISAF mission in 2014.

FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 7th NATO YOUNG LEADERS FORUM ON AFGHANISTAN