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Afghanistan Design Report 2017-2019

Afghanistan’s first action plan reflects domestic priority areas with ambitious commitments relating to civic participation, open contracting, and infrastructure, despite development in a fragile security environment. A balanced multi-stakeholder forum discussed and proposed commitments for inclusion in the action plan, with two commitments added after the action plan’s original submission at the request of civil society organizations. Future action plans could strengthen the involvement of a more diverse set of civil society organizations in the development process.

Table 1. At a glance

Participating since: 2017

Action plan under review: 2017-2019

Report type: Design

Number of commitments: 13

 

Action plan development

Is there a Multi-stakeholder forum: Yes

Level of public influence: Involve

Acted contrary to OGP process: No

 

Action plan design

Commitments relevant to OGP values: 13 (100%)

Transformative commitments: 3 (23%)

Potentially starred: 3 (23%)

Action plan implementation

Starred commitments: N/A

Completed commitments: N/A

Commitments with Major DIOG*: N/A

Commitments with Outstanding DIOG*: N/A

*DIOG: Did it Open Government

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a global partnership that brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive, and accountable. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. Afghanistan joined OGP in 2016. This report evaluates the design of Afghanistan’s first action plan.

General overview of action plan

Afghanistan’s first OGP action plan reflected several national priority areas. Development of the action plan took place in the midst of an unstable security environment. The plan includes commitments relating to anti-corruption, transparency, women’s rights, and public service delivery. Two commitments were later added to the original action plan at the request of civil society organizations, on open contracting and public participation in monitoring infrastructure projects.

OGP Afghanistan (OGP-A), located within the Office of the President, is responsible for implementation and coordination of OGP activities in the country. A presidential decree established the Multi-stakeholder Forum (MSF), with an even balance of government and civil society representatives, as well as one representative from academia and one from the private sector. Disagreements among MSF members challenged the action plan development initially, but relations improved throughout the process.

Civil society and government developed the action plan together in seven different thematic working groups, suggesting and putting forward commitments. A joint technical working group, composed of government and civil society representatives, then refined the proposed commitments after the consultation process. There was no written reasoned response provided on the inclusion and/or exclusion of commitments in the final action plan.

Despite some of the challenges in its development, Afghanistan’s first action plan succeeds in committing to several ambitious reforms in the country. The final version has three transformative commitments—the two aforementioned commitments proposed by civil society, as well as a commitment to increase civic participation in auditing government finances.

Table 2. Commitments to watch

Commitment description Moving forward Status at the end of implementation cycle.
1. Revising and Implementing the Mechanism of Public Partnership in Inspection Process

Revise and implement the Citizens’ Participation Mechanism in the inspection process of auditing government finances.

A future commitment could include an accountability mechanism where the public could compel the government to respond to feedback received. Note: this will be assessed at the end of action plan cycle.
12. Implementing Open Contracting

Make related information publicly accessible throughout procurement process.

The government could produce a detailed report for stakeholders on the development and progress of the open contracting standard and determine whether it should be carried forward to the next action plan. Note: this will be assessed at the end of action plan cycle.
13. Developing a Public Participatory and Supervision Mechanism for the Planning and Implementation of Road Network Projects

Develop a Community Engagement Framework that involves provincial and local representatives in road construction projects.

A future commitment could increase the participation of civil society organizations in identifying mechanisms to raise public awareness of government infrastructure projects. Note: this will be assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Recommendations

The IRM recommendations aim to inform the development of the next action plan and guide implementation of the current action plan.

Table 3. Five KEY IRM Recommendations

Work on key coordination areas of the OGP process before the development of next action plan
Expand efforts to open information on the OGP process and engagement opportunities beyond Kabul
Strengthen representation in the MSF among CSOs and work toward a gender balance
Advance a national strategy and action plan to fight domestic violence against women across the country and increase participation of women in public life
Use OGP to systematize and scale on-going reform initiatives, such as anti-corruption

 

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Filed under: IRM Report

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