Skip Navigation
Afghanistan

Plan for the Establishment of a Joint Committee Overseeing the Implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy (AF0010)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Afghanistan Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption (HOOAC)

Support Institution(s): Ministries and state agencies, Civil Society Organizations

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption Institutions, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Afghanistan Design Report 2017-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?: During the last decade, Afghanistan has continued to gain the title of the most administratively corrupt country, ranked between 1st and 8th position, amongst all countries in the World Corruption Perception Index produced annually by Transparency International. Corruption is as problematic as insecurity, terrorism and drug trafficking acting to preventing the strengthening of good governance in Afghanistan.
The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has taken initiatives for the purpose of effectively combating corruption and fulfilling its commitments through accession to the United Nations Convention against Corruption as well as enforcement of the Law on Overseeing the Implementation of Anti-Corruption Strategy.; What is the commitment?: The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has recently prepared and approved the new Anti-Corruption Strategy. In order to effectively oversee the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy in Afghanistan, it was decided in the Open Government Partnership meetings that a joint committee comprised of the public sector and CSOs should be established.
The committee is supposed to oversee the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy and provide necessary recommendations for the High Council on Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption. The committee will also track the progress of the implementation of the recommendations given to the High Council and develop a knowledge product for future enrichment of anti-corruption strategies in the country. The tracking of the progress by the committee, will in part, be based on the reports submitted by the implementing agencies on their actions and achievements on the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy.; How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?: The commitment provides the opportunity for HOOAC and CSOs to oversee the implementation of the strategy on a continuous basis which will compel governmental agencies to fulfill their responsibilities in combating corruption.
First, for the implementation of the commitment, HOOAC will prepare the draft plan on the establishment of a joint committee comprised of state agencies and civil society organizations which will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the anti-corruption strategy. The joint committee will develop an action plan for the oversight of the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy.
The joint committee will enable CSOs to directly engage in the process of overseeing the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy, provision of recommendations and production of knowledge product for further enrichment of anti-corruption efforts.
It is expected that the functions of the committee will facilitate the proper implementation of the strategy and ultimately improve service delivery and Afghanistan’s standing in the World Corruption Perception Index.; Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?: This commitment has relevancy with the OGP values because it will ensure participation of CSOs in the oversight process of the Anti-Corruption Strategy. As the joint committee produces a knowledge product and makes it available to the public, this commitment relates to transparency. In terms of its relevance to accountability, the joint committee provides oversight, tracks the progress and provides recommendations to the implementing agencies.; Additional information: The implementation of this commitment is funded by the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption. This commitment is relevant to the Anti-Corruption Strategy (2017-2020).

IRM Midterm Status Summary

10. Preparing the Plan for the Establishment of a Joint Committee to Oversee the Implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has taken initiatives for the purpose of effectively combating corruption and fulfilling its commitments through accession to the United Nations Convention against Corruption as well as enforcement of the Law on Overseeing the Implementation of Anti-Corruption Strategy.

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has recently prepared and approved the new Anti-Corruption Strategy. In order to effectively oversee the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy in Afghanistan, it was decided in the Open Government Partnership meetings that a joint committee comprised of the public sector and CSO’s should be established.

The committee is supposed to oversee the implementation of the Anti- Corruption Strategy and provide necessary recommendations for the High Council on Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption. The committee will also track the progress of the implementation of the recommendations given to the High Council and develop a knowledge product for future enrichment of anti-corruption strategies in the country. The tracking of the progress by the committee, will in part, be based on the reports submitted by the implementing agencies on their actions and achievements on the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy.

Milestone activities and verifiable deliverables
  • HOOAC prepares the draft plan for the joint committee comprised of state agencies and civil society organizations to oversee the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy.
  • HOOAC holds three consultative meetings with CSO’s and relevant public departments to attain their inputs and incorporate it into the final draft plan for the joint committee.
  • HOOAC will establish the joint committee based on the approved plan.
  • The joint committee will develop an action plan for the oversight of the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy.
  • The joint committee will hold monthly meetings and provide necessary reports and recommendations to the High Council on Rule of Law and Anti- Corruption.
  • The joint committee will produce one knowledge product that highlights the challenges, existing gaps, lessons learnt and recommendations for informing future anti-corruption strategies.”

Start Date: January 2018

End Date: August 2019

Editorial Note: This is a partial version of the commitment text. For the full commitment text from the Afghanistan National Action Plan see: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/commitment/10-plan-establishment-of-joint-committee-overseeing-implementation-of-anti-corruption

Context and Objectives

This commitment aims to form a joint committee comprised of state agencies and CSO’s to oversee the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (2017-2020).

Although the government of Afghanistan has developed a comprehensive Anti-Corruption Strategy in 2017, in comparison to the scale of problems it seeks to address, the likely impact of the strategy could be limited if not administered and monitored vigilantly, particularly given the constrained timeframe. [97] Corruption cuts across various layers of the Afghan society with serious implications on state building, governance and development. [98] According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, Afghanistan scored 15/100 in 2016-17 compared to 8/100 in 2012. Nonetheless, the country is still ranked 4th from the bottom (out of 177 countries in the list). [99] According to a latest report by Integrity Watch Afghanistan, in 2018, 4.5 million Afghans had to bribe authorities in in order to be able to proceed with their demands. [100] The report ranks Afghan judicial and educational institutions as the most corrupt in the country. [101]

The government of Afghanistan ratified and joined the UN Convention Against Corruption on 25 August 2008. [102] The UN Convention is a legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument which compels countries, following the Convention’s ratification, to adopt anti-corruption laws and take steps to ensure its implementation. The NUG took a series of measures to address corruption by ratifying a number of laws, followed by developing related enforcement mechanisms. [103] The latest such measure was the adoption of the Government’s Anti-Corruption Strategy (the Strategy) on 28 September 2017. The Strategy aims to combat corruption around five priority areas, namely political leadership in anti-corruption reforms; ending corruption in the security sector; replacing patronage with merit; prosecuting the corrupt; and tracking money flows. [104] Furthermore, a presidential decree dated 27 November 2017 established the Special Anti-Corruption Secretariat (the Secretariat), which became operative as of January 2018 after the approval of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy by the High Council for the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption. [105] Although at the time of the drafting of the action plan, the HOOAC was responsible for the execution of this commitment, it has since been merged with the Attorney General’s Office. Currently, the Secretariat oversees this commitment. This amendment has not been reflected in the OGP-A Action Plan.

This commitment has relevance to the OGP value of civic participation because of the role of CSOs in the joint committee to monitor the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy. The commitment’s activities and milestones are verifiable enough to ensure its completion. Nevertheless, it is not clear where the knowledge product will be published and how the public can access it.

The IRM Researcher considers this commitment to be of moderate potential impact, with the possibility to become transformative if compounded with a clear public accountability mechanism and more clearly articulating how the commitment would improve public access to the information regarding implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy under a subsequent action plan. Although CSOs have in the past participated in anti-corruption efforts jointly with government, [106] it is the first time that both entities function under an institutionalized umbrella, with a clear mission and vision. Importantly, several members of the joint committee from the government side, including the current head of the Special Secretariat, have themselves come from a strong civil society background, particularly in the area of anti-corruption. [107] The head of Special Secretariat considers this background to be an added value for the commitment, in that it establishes better interaction and understanding between the two entities. [108] A civil society representative also confirmed this perspective, stating the synergy in the meetings between government officials and CSO’s, which consequently leads to faster and higher quality actions. [109]

Next steps

The IRM Researcher considers this commitment as a priority to be carried over to the next action plan. In terms of enhancements, the IRM researcher suggests the following issues could be addressed as technical recommendations:

  • The core recommendation for the future would be to develop a public accountability mechanism to complement the implementation oversight of the Anti-Corruption Strategy and compel the government to address the committee’s and/or public’s recommendations and concerns.
  • Clearly specify the scope and timeframe for visits to ministries and/or other sites, where a mandate for access to information for civil society may be needed.
  • Clearly specify how the knowledge product would be disseminated, and what form the product itself would take. The IRM Researcher suggests that the knowledge product be made available to public on the website of all relevant stakeholders to this commitment, including websites of government bodies and CSOs.
[97] UNAMA. (May 2018). Afghanistan’s Fight Against Corruption: From Strategies to Implementation. Retrieved on 7 November 2018, from https://unama.unmissions.org/sites/default/files/afghanistans_fight_against_corruption_from_strategies_to_implementation-14_may_2018.pdf
[98] Torabi, Y. (July 2012). The growing challenge of corruption in Afghanistan (Occasional paper, No. 15, The Asia Foundation). Retrieved on 23 January, 2019, from https://asiafoundation.org/resources/pdfs/FNLcorruptionchapterOccasionalPaperJuly30.pdf
[99] Transparency International. (21 February 2018). Corruption Perception Index 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2018 from https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2017
[100] Daily 8 AM (9 December 2018). Integrity Watch Afghanistan: 4.5 million people have bribed government officials in one year. Retrieved on December 13, 2018 from https://8am.af/transparency-watch-4-5-million-people-have-been-bribed-this-year-by-government-officials/?fbclid=IwAR3ERQ_wO9hpnCw3QWtNIi6cyl34PNqM-GfQyp2lPOHVkkTDNEpzqzdjGQ8
[101] Ibid.
[102] United Nations General Assembly. (2003). UN Convention Against Corruption. Retrieved November 27, 2018, from https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/corruption/ratification-status.html
[103] UNAMA (May 2018). Afghanistan’s Fight Against Corruption: From Strategies to Implementation. Retrieved November 27, 2018, from https://unama.unmissions.org/sites/default/files/afghanistans_fight_against_corruption_from_strategies_to_implementation-14_may_2018.pdf
[104] Ibid.
[105] IRoA, Office of Chief of Staff for the President. (4 April 2018). Special Anti-Corruption Secretariat holds first session with government representatives. Retreived November 28, 2018, from https://ocs.gov.af/en/news_details/95
[106] Personal interview, Assessment and Evaluation Manager, Special Anti-Corruption Secretariat, 18 October 2018, Kabul.
[107] Dr. Yama Torabi, the current Head of the Special Anti-Corruption Secretariat, previously served as the founder and director of Integrity Watch Afghanistan. For further details, please see: https://asiafoundation.org/resources/pdfs/FNLcorruptionchapterOccasionalPaperJuly30.pdf
[108] Personal interview, Head of Special Anti-Corruption Secretariat, Office of the President, 18 October 2018, Kabul.
[109] Skype (follow up) interview, Director, Afghanistan Democracy and Development Organization, 4 November 2018, Kabul and Italy.

Commitments

  1. Mechanism of Public Partnership in Inspection Process

    AF0001, 2017, Capacity Building

  2. Law on Processing, Publishing and Enforcing Legislative Documents

    AF0002, 2017, Legislation & Regulation

  3. Courts to Address Violence Against Women

    AF0003, 2017, Gender

  4. Public-Police Partnership Councils

    AF0004, 2017, Capacity Building

  5. Registering Assets of Government Officials

    AF0005, 2017, Asset Disclosure

  6. Scheme for Establishing Health Service Accreditation Entity

    AF0006, 2017, Capacity Building

  7. Urban Improvement National Policy

    AF0007, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport

  8. Protection Policy for Women Under Conflict and Emergency Situations

    AF0008, 2017, Gender

  9. Civil Society Monitoring Plan for Education and Higher Education

    AF0009, 2017, Education

  10. Plan for the Establishment of a Joint Committee Overseeing the Implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy

    AF0010, 2017, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  11. Strengthen the Information Mechanism in 60 Governmental Agencies

    AF0011, 2017, Capacity Building

  12. Implementing Open Contracting

    AF0012, 2017, E-Government

  13. Public Participation in Road Network Projects

    AF0013, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport