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Afghanistan Design Report 2019-2021

Afghanistan’s second action plan was co-created through strong collaboration between government and civil society. The 18 commitments cover a diverse range of thematic areas, including anti-corruption, public service delivery, and participatory budgeting. To achieve successful implementation, Afghanistan needs to ensure active multistakeholder engagement and monitoring. The plan offers an opportunity to leverage local government reform to enhance participation and accountability tools.

Table 1. At a glance

Participating since 2016
Action plan under review: Second
Report type: Design
Number of commitments: 18

Action plan development
Is there a multistakeholder forum: Yes
Level of public influence: Collaborate
Acted contrary to OGP process: No

Action plan design
Commitments relevant to OGP values: 18 (100%)
Transformative commitments: 0 (0%)
Potentially starred commitments: 0

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. Since, Afghanistan has implemented one action plan. This report evaluates the design of Afghanistan’s second action plan.

General overview of action plan

Afghanistan has experienced significant reform and development since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. However, persistent security threats continue to challenge the rule of law and the operation of democratic institutions.

Despite security threats and underlying political deadlock following the presidential elections in 2019, the co-creation process of the second action plan succeeded in meeting almost all OGP Participation and Co-creation Standards. A combination of strong civil society leadership, high-level government participation, and a transparent and rigorous consultation process resulted in 18 commitments. Those commitments built on outcomes of the previous action plan, while proposing reforms in new thematic areas. Most of the commitments are in line with ongoing national policies and other programs supported by international partners and donors.

The action plan includes themes such as anti-corruption (Commitments 1, 3, 4, 10, 12, 16), public service delivery (Commitments 6, 8, 11, 13, 14), open local government (Commitments 2, 7, 9, 10), legislative transparency (Commitment 5), beneficial ownership transparency (Commitment 4), budget transparency (Commitments 9, 15), and women’s empowerment (Commitments 17, 18). All 18 commitments are relevant to OGP values. Six are expected to yield moderate potential impact. Several commitments focus on developing and approving laws and new regulations in key policy areas. The ultimate potential of these commitments depends on to what extent the legal provisions incorporate open government principles and offer viable solutions for identified problems.

In implementing this action plan, OGP Afghanistan is encouraged to ensure active multistakeholder engagement by, for instance, maintaining regular multistakeholder meetings that include commitment stakeholders and beneficiaries. OGP Afghanistan should also consider using the forum to monitor and report on the progress of commitments.

Table 2. Noteworthy commitments

Commitment description Moving forward Status at the end of implementation cycle
2. Revision of Local Governance Law in partnership with civil society organizations

 

Amend the Taliban-era Local Governance Law with key provisions on inclusive public service delivery and participatory budgeting mechanism.

The Independent Directorate of Local Governance could facilitate pilot projects. These projects could build capacity and raise awareness of how public participation in public service delivery and budgeting at the local level work in practice. It is also important to engage civil society stakeholders working in different sectors and on different issues at the local level. Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.
4. Law on Beneficial Ownership

 

Establish a legal framework for the government to develop and implement a public registry of beneficial ownership information.

Extend opportunities for public participation in the process of developing the legal framework to more civil society stakeholders. Work better to involve private sector representatives at all stages of the process. Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.
17. National Plan on Women Empowerment

 

Develop a national women empowerment plan with civil society to mainstream the incorporation of gender in government policy making.

Establish a multistakeholder process similar to the OGP Afghanistan process. Involve civil society stakeholders and other government offices at the national and subnational levels to implement the national plan. This process can feed into the work of the Women Grand Council (which oversees implementation) and ensure synergy between these activities. Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.

 

Recommendations

IRM recommendations aim to inform the development of the next action plan and guide implementation of the current action plan. Please refer to Section V: General Recommendations for more details on each of the below recommendations.

Table 3. Five KEY IRM recommendations

Ensure active multistakeholder engagement during the implementation of the action plan, including commitment stakeholders and beneficiaries.
Facilitate wider buy-in to the co-creation process, including from thematic experts, women, and underrepresented groups.
Ensure implementation of the National Plan on Women Empowerment to advance women’s rights.
Continue public procurement reforms, and increase opportunities for citizen monitoring of contracts in vital sectors, such as construction, health, and education.
Leverage decentralization efforts to enhance local participation and accountability tools (regarding budgeting and social audits).

 

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