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Afghanistan Implementation Report 2017-2019

Despite a fragile security situation, Afghanistan successfully implemented the majority of its first national action plan. Strong executive support and close collaboration between government and civil society representatives contributed to notable open government gains. Significant reforms occurred in the areas of open contracting and civil society monitoring of the National Anticorruption Strategy’s implementation and of road infrastructure projects.

Table 1. At a glance

Participating since: 2017

Action plan under review: 2017–2019

Report type: Implementation

Number of commitments: 13

Action plan development

Is there a Multistakeholder 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: 3

Completed commitments: 5

Commitments with Major DIOG*: 3

Commitments with Outstanding DIOG*: 0

Level of public influence:  Collaborate

Acted contrary to OGP process: No

 

*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 2017. Since 2017, Afghanistan has implemented one action plan. This report evaluates the implementation of Afghanistan’s first action plan.

General overview of action plan

OGP Afghanistan made significant implementation progress due to dedicated management, competent staff, and improved interaction between the government and civil society organizations (CSOs). Strong support from the executive branch of government also facilitated implementation.

Through this action plan, citizens gained greater access to government-held information, such as public procurement documents. However, this action plan is most notable for its advancement of public participation. The government established new channels for civil society participation in several government processes, such as audit investigations, the drafting of new legislation, and higher education administration.

The public and civil society also influenced major national policies regarding urban development, women in conflict and emergency situations, and anticorruption efforts. Furthermore, traditionally closed institutions, such as the Supreme Court and Ministry of Public Health, became more amenable to transparency and public participation. The government’s full implementation of these policies and continuation of civic participation in government processes will determine the long-term open government impacts of this action plan.

  • A starred commitment must meet several criteria:
  • The commitment’s design was Verifiable, Relevant to OGP values, and had a Transformative potential impact. As assessed in the Design Report.
  • The commitment’s implementation was assessed by IRM Implementation Report as Substantial or Complete.

Based on these criteria, Afghanistan’s action plan has three starred commitments:

  1. Commitment 1: Revising and Implementing the Mechanism of Public Partnership in the Inspection Process
  2. Commitment 12: Implementing Open Contracting (addendum)
  3. Commitment 13: Developing a Public Participatory and Supervision Mechanism for the Planning and Implementation of Road Network Projects (addendum)

 Table 2. Noteworthy commitments

Commitment description Status at the end of the implementation cycle.
5. Registering, Publishing, and Reviewing Assets of 100 High-Ranking Government Officials

Register, publish, and review assets of 100 high-ranking government officials in collaboration with CSOs.

This commitment saw limited completion at the end of the implementation period. The government registered the assets of 100 high-ranking officials, but the register remains in the review phase. A main constraint in the implementation process is a lack of cooperation from nine public directorates upon whom the review process is contingent. CSOs reported limited involvement due to the government’s claim that the process must remain confidential.
6. Develop and Implement Health Service Accreditation

Develop a scheme and establish the Health Service Accreditation Entity, and accredit 20 health centers.

This commitment saw limited completion at the end of the implementation period. The Cabinet approved the scheme and the entity was established with its own budget. However, no health center has been accredited because the Health Service Accreditation Entity must first be accredited by the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua). A Ministry of Public Health technical team undertook a study trip to Jordan to observe that country’s accrediting entity. This exchange underscored a need to first conduct training on ISQua standards before seeking accreditation.
12. Implementing Open Contracting (addendum)

Improve access to procurement information and engage citizens in the procurement process.

This commitment was completed at the end of the implementation period. The Open Contracting Data Standard was applied in the publication of information at all stages of the contract cycle in machine-readable format. The government made information available in Dari, Pashto, and English on a dedicated web portal. Stakeholders also held training sessions on the public procurement system. At baseline, limited information was available. Citizens can now conveniently view a range of information on the public procurement cycle. At the end of 2018, the public could access 75 percent of procurement information. This success can be furthered by publishing 100 percent of procurement information and expanding similar systems across other public entities.
13. Developing a Public Participatory and Supervision Mechanism for the Planning and Implementation of Road Network Projects (addendum)

Develop an engagement framework to involve local communities in identifying, prioritizing, selecting, and executing road construction projects.

This commitment was substantially complete at the end of the implementation period. A working group developed an engagement framework involving local communities, and several multistakeholder meetings took place to incorporate feedback on the framework. However, because of political and administrative transitions, and the fragile security situation, public consultations on the final framework could not take place. In addition, stakeholders did not develop a budget plan to implement the projects. Despite these shortcomings, the involvement of citizens and CSOs in the development of the framework signaled a major improvement in opening government. For the first time, a responsive platform was established whereby citizens could engage and express their opinions and concerns to relevant government officials on the planning of infrastructure projects that would affect their daily lives.

 Five Key IRM Recommendations

The IRM key recommendations are prepared in the IRM Design Report. They aim to inform the development of the next action plan and guide implementation of the current action plan. In Afghanistan’s 2017–2019 Design Report, the IRM recommended the following:

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 multistakeholder forum among civil society organizations 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 ongoing reform initiatives, such as anticorruption efforts.

 

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