The Silk Road is the oldest and probably
most well known trading route in the world and has a history stretching back several thousand years. The 7000 mile route
spanned China, Central Asia, Northern India, through the Parthians
- to the present day countries of Iran, Iraq, Jordan and Syria. Although
the direction and scale of contact varied over the centuries it has always
played a role as a 'connecting' bridge between Asia and Europe, serving
as a fundamental link for exchanging cultures, crafts, ideas, technologies,
Apart from being a major
trading route the Great Silk Road was of immeasurable significance in the
establishment and maintenance of diplomatic relations. Today there
is a revival of the Silk Road Diplomacy as technological advances in information
communication systems and networks speed up the process of globalisation
and increasing interdependence. The dynamic development of political,
trade and economic relations needs strengthening if mutually advantageous
partnerships are to develop between all States on the Silk Road.
Interdependence and globalisation
has led to an awareness of the unarguable fact that no country, however
powerful it may be in military and economic terms, can face alone the challenges
that call in question the survival of the whole of mankind.
Since the collapse of the Soviet
Union and the consequent emergence of the five independent Central Asian
republics of Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, Turkmenistan, Kazakstan, and Tajikistan,
major efforts have been undertaken to revive the Silk Road for cultural
exchange, trade and tourism. The President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Askar
Akaev, has expressed the hope that it will be "possible to create
conditions for the transformation of the entire region into an area of
stability, security, friendship, co-operation and equitable partnership".
The modern day arms race, local conflicts, terrorism,
narcotic criminal activity, natural disasters and urgent unmet social needs
are major problems leading to increased awareness of the need to resolve
chronic problems by peaceful negotiation. The advantages offered
by regional integration and co-operation are clear and as information infrastructures
enable the region to access the world-wide computer networks, the power
of information technology can be harnessed in support of the drive for
economic stability and the development of business and civil society.
The Silk Road has always been
about connectivity and communication. The United States is actively promoting
Silk Road development in recognition of the strategic importance of the
countries encompassed within the Silk Road and in 1999 the U.S. Senate
adopted a Silk Road Strategy Act.
According to U.S. Senator Sam
Brownbeck who introduced the Bill to the Senate, "The Silk Road countries
of the South Caucasus and Central Asia are at an historic crossroad: they
are independent, they are at the juncture of many of today's major world
forces, they are rich in natural resources, and they are in the midst of
nation building." He indicated the best way to help create
conditions for stability and growth is by promoting regional co-operation
WOMENAID SILK ROAD STRATEGY
WomenAid International, working
in Silk Road countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus since 1994, has
implemented humanitarian, development and reconstruction programmes during
the years of great need and has remained in the region to develop programmes
assisting vulnerable women and children.
The WomenAid Silk Road Stategy
is designed to support disadvantaged women and children in Silk Road countries
through projects that:
empower women through training and capacity building;
facilitate networking and information dissemination;
support civil society development initiatives and sustainable
establish microcredit groups;
promote human rights awareness and action against violence;
develop child well-being and women’s health projects;
professional training and skills update;
provide humanitarian aid.
SILK ROAD STRATEGY COUNTRIES
The countries included in the
WomenAid Silk Road Strategy are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, China, DPR
Korea, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Syrian
Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan as well as
Afghanistan, northern India and the Balkans.
YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED
Within countries on the Great
Silk Road trade routes some of the most disadvantaged women and children
in the world are struggling to survive. Through its Silk Road Strategy,
WomenAid continues to work supportively in the region and is seeking funds
for its programmes to assist women and children of the Silk Road - from
China and Afghanistan to Palestine and the Balkans.
WomenAid International is
helping to meet their needs. You can help!