CMI is working in Afghanistan in an effort to promote citizen’s participation in the peace process by facilitating dialogue among different groups on the future of the country. The lack of a bottom-up approach in defining the future of Afghanistan was identified as a major gap during CMI’s extensive consultations among Afghan and international civil society actors, Afghan officials, international diplomats and the research community.
In Mazar-e-Sharif, Northern Afghanistan, CMI is engaging civil society, academia, women groups, media and religious leaders in a dialogue process on the causes, drivers and consequences of the conflict and, more importantly, on the prospects for peace. CMI has interviewed around 50 representatives from these groups to find out the issues they consider crucial in terms of conflict and peace, and to test the feasibility and identify potential participants for our planned approach.
The group of Afghan citizens endorsed CMI’s idea for the dialogue process and expressed their willingness to continue planning the process together. CMI has facilitated a formation of a five-person secretariat, selected amongst themselves by the Afghan participants, to draft a strategy and vision for the future work of the group. Afghanistan has been on CMI’s agenda since the beginning of 2011 and we see our process in the country as a long term commitment. Supported by funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, we hope to contribute in giving more opportunities for people’s voice to be heard in defining the future of Afghanistan. With the drawdown of international military forces in Afghanistan, support in many different forms is needed for years to come.