Important Decisions at Afrin’s Economic Conference [2015]

This report from Terast Judy appeared first if ANHA, 9th October, 2015

The first Democratic Economy Conference in Afrîn has finished with a number of decisions to develop the economy in Afrîn, make the region economically independent and to prepare a draft to submit at the Economic Conference for Rojava’s three cantons, which will be held on 18th October in Cizîrê.

The conference was the first of its kind in Rojava, and was held in Afrîn’s Centre for Culture and Arts. The attendants were representatives and deputies from the economic committees, the executive body in Afrîn, Customs Administration, Investment Advise Bureau, the People’s and Women’s Protection Units, industry and trade chambers, civil society institutions, organisation of human rights, Rojava Centre for Strategic Studies, the Democratic Union Party, the Yezdi association and the organisation of families of martyrs.

During the economic conference, which started on Thursday morning, many discussions were held and economic studies were submitted by specialists. The participants discussed mechanisms for developing the economy in Afrîn.

There were readings of the leader of the Kurdish people, Abdullah Ocalan’s ideas about economy and some of his suggestions to solve the problems of society that result from the economic practices of the nation-state and the capitalist system.

There were also some short lectures by specialists about the ways to deal with the economic problems, potential resources and how to invest them in a sustainable way.

The first lecture was delivered by Dr Ahmed Yousef, president of the Trade and Economy Council, about the developing approach in Rojava, which he called ‘ecological development’, which is based on economy, politics, environment, history and society.

Yousef said that ecological development equates the social profit with the economic profit and takes it as a basic standard, through activating the role of society in economy, building social and economic units, protecting natural resources and adopting environmentally-friendly technology.

There was another lecture by engineer Murad Rashid, member of the Committee of Urban Development, about the reality of housing, public services, and the ways to develop them in the region.

Rashid said that the whole region is suffering from high prices in real estate, as a result of the high cost of residential buildings, also because of the growing demand for residential apartments which is creating many problems with public services and infrastructure, which are under pressure due to the absence of any plan to develop real estate and improve the economy.

Nojiun Osman Yousef, an engineer specialised in telecommunications, talked about ways to develop information technology and communication, appreciating the role of telecommunication at the present time. He mentioned a list of procedures to be done, most importantly developing automation software, increasing electronic sevices for people, getting electronic equipment and making the necessary legislation for it, and launching an electronic education programme in Afrîn University.

Engineer Suleyman Abdul Fattah Suleyman gave a lecture about studying the methods to develop energy projects in Afrîn by using renewable energy to achieve environmental improvements and develop society, industry and agriculture.

The economic researcher and specialist Jalnak Omar gave a lecture about the role of the cooperative economy in developing agriculture and industry. He talked about adopting the philosophy of the cooperative economy that is based on the principles of unity, strength and work. Omar pointed out that the cooperative economy forms a special organisational tool that can contribute greatly in solving the problems of production, funding, marketing, distribution, and consumption, and it is effective and fair to all the sides of the economic process, and can be considered a democratic alternative for globalisation, capitalism and state socialism.

Economist Abdullah Yousef gave a lecture about the importance of tourism in developing the economy, referring to the most important tourist attractions and the cultural and healing significance of the region.

Also, Faisal Ali, economist and a commander of the People’s Protection Units, gave a lecture about the role of integrated economic policies in building the wartime economy in Rojava.

The lectures were concluded with a final lecture by Risan Qosho about natural resources in Rojava in terms of growth and sustainability, in which he referred to the economic policies that should be adopted in order to obtain the optimum investment of the economic resources.

There were many discussions among the attendants about the proposals in the conference, and their economic significance and influence on the region.

There were a number of recommendations for the democratic economy conference on the level of the three cantons in Rojava: Cizîrê, Kobanê and Afrîn, that will be held in Cizîrê on 18/10/2015, which were…

  1. Adopt a clear development approach that ensures the integration of society and the environment, called the approach of ecological development.
  2. Open a special economy academy to become the centre for planning and ecological development.
  3. Change the Centre for Economic Development to become the Centre for Planing and Ecological Development.
  4. Adopt indicative planning in the fieldwork of the private sector.
  5. Accomplish functional integration among the institutions of the Self Administration and communes and the Centre for Ecological Development.
  6. Make socio-economic plans at the level of the cantons and adopt the commune system as the foundation of economic development.
  7. Propagate the idea of cooperation in society, and highlight the importance of cooperative work through seminars and workshops.
  8. Offer financial and moral support for cooperative societies in order to improve the quality of their services.
  9. Establish a centre for agricultural studies to find ways of increasing productivity and deliver the findings to the cooperative societies.
  10. Give common agricultural land to cooperative societies with symbolic prices, prioritising farmers who do not have any land.
  11. Regulate the domestic economy sector and provide it with the necessary information and assistance.
  12. Enhance competitiveness and fight monopoly.
  13. Reduce the random spread of internet companies by establishing a company with public ownership.
  14. Take advantage of the infrastructure of the communications equipment in the region in order to develop the internet and communications systems.
  15. Determine appropriate places to establish plants for renewable energy in Afrîn.
  16. Ensure that the diesel-powered generators work on a capacity of no less than 10 mega volts, and ensure that they are cooperatively owned.
  17. Encourage citizens to use renewable and environmentally-friendly energy.
  18. Make accurate studies to locate the archaeological sites and determine the natural environment of each site.
  19. Preserve tourist attractions in the region.
  20. Consider the environmental consequences of all economic projects.
  21. Locate the places where urbanisation is allowed.
  22. Form a regional committee of engineers whose job is to create master plans for the villages in the region that don’t have master plans.
  23. Encourage village and urban life, away from city centres.
  24. Oblige builders not to sell residential buildings without furniture.
  25. Encourage people with capital in the region and in the diaspora to invest in Rojava, and provide the necessary facilitation for it.
  26. Establish sewage networks in all the villages of the region and build recycling centres for the waste material of the factories.
  27. Secure agricultural equipment to implement greenhouse projects in order to enhance agriculture and provide scientific supervision for it, especially because their efficiency has been proven.
  28. Take advantage of the coarse straw by establishing agricultural fungi farms.
  29. Take advantage of the water in Medanki by raising fish in floating cages.
  30. Take advantage of the water in Jeft to provide manure for agricultural land in a scientific way.
  31. Establish a house for seed multiplication.
  32. Establish a special centre for olives.
  33. Support women’s communes by all ways and means that lead to their success.
  34. Establish special cooperative societies for women.
  35. Train and raise awareness among women so that they realise their economic role in history.
  36. Spread the education of war economics among the people of the region through all available means.
  37. Activate and develop the communal economy which will lead to self-sufficiency in basic needs.
  38. Raise awareness about consumption.
  39. Work towards developing employment programmes.
  40. Develop the Emergency Council in order to provide military equipment and provide basic services during the war.
  41. Work towards the remote management of war without getting involved in it directly.
  42. Consider the rights of the next generations to have access to natural resources.
  43. Adopt economic policies that focus on avoiding local and foreign debt and the accumulation of interest in the general budget.
  44. Support clothes manufacturing.
  45. Develop a plan to bring back the people of the region who are abroad.