Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise and draw the attention of the House to an essential initiative supported by Canada.
With support from the DFAIT human security program, Alternatives, a Montreal based NGO, hosted a series of public, civil society and government consultations from April 6 to 9 in Montreal and Ottawa. The discussions engaged over 700 civil society and government representatives as well as interested members of the public on the difficult topic of the role played by energy politics in the conflict in Afghanistan.
Alternatives has been supporting peace building efforts in south Asia for over a decade by working with various civil society organizations in the region. This necessary dialogue has helped promote a better understanding of the social and political conditions in south and central Asia through a discussion of the risks and outcomes of the conflict in Afghanistan, particularly the issue of oil and economic development. The participants welcomed new perspectives on how to deal with this many sided crisis, with the aim of assisting the people of Afghanistan in the complex task of reconstruction and peace building.
Issues critical to conflict and peace building in central Asia, such as the role energy politics play in conflict and how to preserve the independence and economic viability of the central Asian republics without triggering economic and political upheaval, are crucial to human security. By continuing to work together we can build lasting peace and stability in a volatile region.
I congratulate Alternatives on this successful conference.