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Afghanistan

Public Participation in Road Network Projects (AF0013)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Afghanistan Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Public Works

Support Institution(s): Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Justice and Municipalities., Different social entities, Local Councils, Religious Scholars of Masjids, Medias and International non-governmental organizations.

Policy Areas

Infrastructure & Transport, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery, Subnational

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: Access to Information Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Developing a Public Participatory and Supervision Mechanism for the Planning and
Implementation of Road Network Projects
It will be both monitoring and participation mechanism through people or community engagement
process. In other words, the people will be engaged in planning and implementation phase of the
project to monitor the project in order to ensure transparency in the project execution. In terms of
participation, MoPW is committed to involve and to utilize local labor and local population in
projects particularly maintenance of the project. Hence, the engagement process will be carried out
systemically through involving the local representatives of community. In this regard, MPW has
developed community engagement framework which describes the role of local community
precisely in projects.
Ministry of Public Works
Entity/Main
Implementing
Organization
Description of Commitment
Based on the estimations conducted by the Ministry of Public Works, it
indicated that the development and supply of transport infrastructure doesn’t
meet public’s demand. It means that there is an imbalanced development
compared to demand for transport infrastructure.
The second challenge to be addressed remains the poor quality of transport
infrastructure in particular highways, urban roads, bridges and culverts. For
example, roads are being built in Afghanistan, which destroy within six
months or one year.
The third problem is slow development and supply process of transport
infrastructure in Afghanistan. Most of the infrastructure projects are not
executed within specified time period, and last longer than the contracts
period.
The fourth problem is the operation & maintenance of transport
infrastructure. Both government and public have neglected in this regard.
The fifth problem is lack of priority infrastructure projects identification.
Since limited resources are available for development of infrastructure, so
according to financial principles, the limited resources should be allocated to
prioritized projects.
Sixth, political interventions in selection and implementation of road projects
and lack of specific standards in this regard, plus, high cost of infrastructure
development in Afghanistan are the main factor which not only slow the road
development process, but retards the national development as well.
What is the
general problem
that the
commitment
focuses on?
To address the aforesaid problems, MPW is greatly committed to engage
provincial representative and local community in project selection and
execution process. In this regard, MPW has come up with community
engagement framework. Under the framework, MPW is patronizing the
engagement of local communities to identify and select projects. This would
facilitate MPW to strengthen a strong government/communities’ partnership
via injecting the sense of ownership rights to communities having influence on
identification and selection of projects.
In addition to that MoPW is also working to involve civil society particularly
integrity watch of Afghanistan (IWA) to monitor MoPW activities. In this
regard, MoPW has drafted MoU with integrity watch of Afghanistan in order
to ensure transparency in MoPW activities. In coordination with MoPW, local
communities, and volunteers, IWA will monitor all operational activities of
MoPW associated with procurement process, project selection, project
execution, and contract allotment to the bidders in order to ensure that all
processes are being followed in a transparent manner. And MoU will get sign
once finalized. Below is the framework of community engagement
I. Government
As main Infrastructure entity, Ministry of Public Works will embark on
provincial connectivity program by engaging local community in all the
prioritized provinces. This engaging process will be done through provincial
and district representatives. Once the engagement process starts, the local
community will be allowed to vote as to whether agree on government
proposed project (Projects selection indicators) or to propose the desirable
projects in that area.
What is the
commitment?
Community
Engagement/Consultation
Government
(MPW)
•MPW will lead this
consulation by engaging
Provincial and local
presentatives
People's
Representatives
•Provincial rep. will closely work
with MPW in order to enure the
active participation of local
community in project execution
process
Local
Community
•The desirable project will
be identified by the Local
community
Project
Implimentation MPW will
implement
the project
based on
local
community
recommenda
tion
II. People's Representatives
People's Representatives engagement process will play an imperative role in
building relationship between local population and governments. Here,
People’s representatives both provincial and district will closely work with
MPW to facilitate local community engagement in order to ensure active
participation of local population in project selection in each area. Thus, this
process will immensely help to identify the community-based demand in term
of project selection.
III. Local community
Local community has always been a great focus for the government. Therefore,
this process will greatly depend on local population’s demands in terms of
project selection. In this process, the desirable projects will be identified and
selected by the community through local engagement process. Thus, the choice
will be given to local community in term of project selection in their areas by
the government.
IV. Project execution
In this phase, the government will not only implement all those recommended
projects in prioritized districts but also will monitor the project implementation
process in coordination with local community. To do so, MPW and local
community will work closely in project execution phase.
The name of the program is “Provincial Roads Connectivity Program
(PRCP)”. Under this Program the people or community consultation and
engagement will take place through a proper mechanism. MoPW will entice
representatives at provincial and district levels before embarking on projects.
Initially, MoPW will engage the representatives and local community in
project selection process, once the process done; then they will monitor the
implementation phase of projects in order to ensure the transparency in the
project activities. After completion of both selection and implementation
phases, the community will participate in the maintenance of the project by
utilizing local labor and resources. Hence, in this way, the following outcomes
will be derived; (1) people will consider the projects of their own which will
immensely help in completion of the projects at time, (3) will enhance trust in
Government by involving people in the projects, and (3) local economy will
be improved.
Provincial Road
Connectivity
Program
MoPW will work with Civil Society in accordance to memorandum of
understanding. The main objective of the work and meetings are to ensure that
all projects of Ministry of Public Work are done in transparent way. Further,
the suggestions and ideas will be exchanged associated with MoPW operations
such as procurement process, project selection, project execution, and contract
allotment to the bidders, service improvement, and tacking corruption.
Purpose of
Working with
Civil Society
After the thorough prioritization of projects via applying technical
methodology, in which the criteria and indexes have been set. Once, the
prioritization process is being completed; the consultation process will get
start at this stage. Under the consultation process, MoPW will involve people
in the monitoring of the projects in order to ensure transparency in project
delivery.
Purpose of
Public
Consultations
By developing the public participatory and supervision mechanism in
consensus with representatives of civil society and all related entities will not
only set a specific standard for development of transport infrastructure, but
also strengthens Government/public partnership in supervising and
monitoring from start to end process of projects development, including
selection, implementation and maintenance of road network will be feasible.
First; providing opportunity for public participation in projects’ selection will
cause to allocate the resources to projects which are priority on the basis of
defined indicators. Second; public monitoring will lead to development of
road network projects with allocated resources, given time, and certain
quality. Third; Creating a sense of ownership, commitment and
responsibility will encourage public to cooperate in maintenance of
completed road projects with the government.
How does
commitment
work in solving
the problem?
This commitment is linked to public participation and assurance of open
government transparency. First; people and representatives of civil society
get involved in prioritization of projects. The prioritization of projects would
be done with consensus of public and where to allocate the limited financial
resources. This is related to the commitment to open government public
participation.
Second; public monitoring will force in-charge authorities to develop the
projects with specific resources, and with certain time and quality. In this
case, the purpose of transparency of open-governance will be ensured.
Why is this
commitment
linked to the
values of open
government
partnership?
Ministry of Public Works (MPW) in association with Open Government
Secretariat of Afghanistan (OGPA)
Lead
organization
Representatives from civil society and OG P will be the members of this
working group. The MoPWs will have the leading position, the members
selection process will take place in coordination with the stakeholders.
Working Group
Structure
Commitment Pattern (Continuos)
Funds for the implementation of this commitment …….
This commitment relates to sustainable development, strategy of
Ministry of Public Works, and regulation maintenance of public
benefit assets
Additional Information
Important activities (with expected and measurable results) Start Date End Date
Creating a working group to arrange a draft 07/09/2018 20/09/2018
Ministry of Public Works in coordination with its stakeholders such as
Ministry of Transport (MoT), Municipalities, Ministry of Urban
Development and Housing (MUDH), Ministry of Communication and IT
(MoCIT), Ministry of Rehabilitation and Rural Development (MRRD),
and Ministry of Industry and Commence (MoIC) has plan to develop a
joint working group on developing people engagement mechanism At
first phase, the MoPW and its stakeholder will draft a background paper
in this regard in order to develop terms of reference for each stakeholder.
Under the ToR, each stakeholder will have distinguish responsibilities to
engage people in the projects in order to retain transparency. Below are
the responsibilities
No Purpose Organization Date
1 Discussion on people
participation on
regulations
development process
MoT 20/11/2018
2 People participation
on project selection
Municipalities 27/11/2018
3 People participation
on project selection
MUDH 05/12/2018
4 Discussion about the
MoU on joint project
implementation
mechanism
MoCIT 12/12/2018
5 Discussion about the
Urban Development
Policy
MRRD 19/12/2018
6 Public awareness MoIC 27/12/2018
Developing draft of the framework for provincial roads connectivity 20/09/2018 30/10/2018
program in partnership with the people
Engaging people as partner in provincial roads connectivity program will
have the following exclusive outcomes: (1) taking advice of local
population in project selection and implementation process in order to
meet their ultimate demands associated with connectivity, and economic
development, (2) enhancing local cooperation by considering local
population as key partner in the projects, (3) ensuring security of the
projects by engaging local population in the projects, and (4) reducing
poverty ratio particularly at district level by utilizing local labors.
Organizing an advisory meeting with relevant civil society 30/10/2018 20/11/2018
The sole purpose of advisory meetings and working with civil society
particularly Integrity Watch of Afghanistan (IWA) is to retain
transparency in MoPW’s operations. Hence, meeting and working with
IWA will have the following outcomes: (1) engaging people in project
execution phase through a systematic approach at district and provincial
levels in order to ensure transparency in project implementation, (2)
involving IWA in project execution, contract allotment to the bidders in
order to tackle corruption (3) providing people access to information
associated with all operations of MoPW, and (4) publishing the
monitoring and transparency report to the citizens in order to make sure
that the people-oriented services are executed and monitored in a
transparent way.
Arrange an inter-ministerial meeting with involved entities in this regard 20/11/2018 10/01/2019
Despite the community engagement, an appropriate coordination
mechanism need to be established amongst the government entities in
order to implement integrated infrastructure project efficiently. Under this
mechanism, multiple government entities will get together before
embarking on integrated infrastructure projects. In other words, in these
meetings; every entity will share its plans and responsibilities associated
with integrated infrastructure project based on theirs ToR. Hence, these
meetings will immensely help to ensure that all facilities including power,
internet connectivity, water, sanitation, and irrigation are being
considered while implementing integrated infrastructure project.
10/01/2019 25/01/2019
Finalizing the framework
25/01/2019 25/04/2019
Start of public consultation process with 10 priority provinces
Developing budget plan 25/04/2019 10/05/2019
Once the projects are selected and prioritized by applying all technical
criteria/indexes, the projects will be categorized as A, B, and C. Then
the ministry will develop budget plan based on project category. In other
words, the budget will be allotted based on category and importance of
the project.
Contact:
Focal point in executing entity Sakhi Mohammadi
Designation, section or department (Plan and Policy Director of Ministry of Public Works)
Email address and phone number Email: haghjo721@gmail.com Mob:0795663040
Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Urban
Development, Ministry of Justice and Municipalities.
Other related entities, governmental
related entities
Different social entities, Local Councils, Religious Scholars
of Masjids, Medias and International non-governmental
organizations.
Civil society organizations, private
sectors, multi-aspect parties, work
groups

IRM Midterm Status Summary

13. Developing a Public Participatory and Supervision Mechanism for the Planning and Implementation of Road Network Projects (addendum)

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

“Based on the estimations conducted by the Ministry of Public Works, it indicated that the development and supply of transport infrastructure doesn’t meet public’s demand. It means that there is an imbalanced development compared to demand for transport infrastructure.

The second challenge to be addressed remains the poor quality of transport infrastructure in particular highways, urban roads, bridges and culverts. For example, roads are being built in Afghanistan, which destroy within six months or one year.

The third problem is slow development and supply process of transport infrastructure in Afghanistan. Most of the infrastructure projects are not executed within specified time period, and last longer than the contracts period.

The fourth problem is the operation & maintenance of transport infrastructure. Both government and public have neglected in this regard.

The fifth problem is lack of priority infrastructure projects identification. Since limited resources are available for development of infrastructure, so according to financial principles, the limited resources should be allocated to prioritized projects.

Sixth, political interventions in selection and implementation of road projects and lack of specific standards in this regard, plus, high cost of infrastructure development in Afghanistan are the main factor which not only slow the road development process, but retards the national development as well.

To address the aforesaid problems, MPW is greatly committed to engage provincial representative and local community in project selection and execution process. In this regard, MPW has come up with community engagement framework. Under the framework, MPW is patronizing the engagement of local communities to identify and select projects. This would facilitate MPW to strengthen a strong government/communities’ partnership via injecting the sense of ownership rights to communities having influence on identification and selection of projects.

In addition to that MoPW is also working to involve civil society particularly integrity watch of Afghanistan (IWA) to monitor MoPW activities. In this regard, MoPW has drafted MoU with integrity watch of Afghanistan in order to ensure transparency in MoPW activities. In coordination with MoPW, local communities, and volunteers, IWA will monitor all operational activities of MoPW associated with procurement process, project selection, project execution, and contract allotment to the bidders in order to ensure that all processes are being followed in a transparent manner. And MoU will get sign once finalized.

Milestone activities and verifiable deliverables
  • Creating a working group to arrange a draft
  • Developing draft of the framework for provincial roads connectivity program in partnership with the people
  • Organizing an advisory meeting with relevant civil society
  • Arrange an inter-ministerial meeting with involved entities in this regard
  • Finalizing the framework
  • Start of public consultation process with 10 priority provinces
  • Developing budget plan”

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/sites/default/files/Afghanistan_Action-Plan_2017-2019_EN_UPDATED.pdf

Context and Objectives

The aim of this commitment is to involve provincial representatives and local communities in the process of identification, prioritization, selection and execution of the road construction projects by developing a Community Engagement Framework.

Afghanistan relies heavily on road networks as its primary means of transportation. However, despite the rapid and expanding network, road infrastructure remains underdeveloped. [128] Out of a length of about 6,472 km of the national highways, only 3,720 km is paved. Out of a total of about 1,874 km of provincial roads, only about 732 km are asphalt. Importantly, considering that a majority of the population lives in smaller rural communities, district roads play a major role. However, only 21% of the district roads are paved. This can severely affect service delivery to the public, especially in certain mountainous provinces such as Noristan. [129]

Under the leadership of Mr. Yama Yari, [130] the Minister for Public Work (MoPW) and current Minister for Transportation, Afghanistan’s infrastructure is going through a major overhaul. Following the development of a number of strategic documents, such as the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF), [131] the MoPW has developed a five-year strategic plan (covering 2019-2023) for transport infrastructure. The plan aims to establish an integrated transport network infrastructure to facilitate the country’s economic growth and development by expanding its access to domestic, regional and international markets. Considering that Afghanistan is a landlocked country, the main target of the new strategy is road connectivity. [132] Since 2002, the international donor community has spent over four billion dollars rebuilding and expanding Afghanistan’s road network. Nevertheless, road infrastructure remains underdeveloped. There are different reasons for this failure, but according to the new leadership of the MoPW, “lack of strategic direction and an holistic view to institutional development were the main reasons.” [133] The holistic view to institutional development also includes, among other parameters, the engagement of local communities in the process, an issue that was emphasized emphatically by the government representative interviewed by the IRM researcher. [134]

This commitment is relevant to the OGP values of access to information and civic participation. The commitment entails providing information to the public through advisory meetings as well as publishing a report monitoring project implementation. The commitment is relevant to civic participation because of citizens’ and CSOs’ direct engagement in the framework.

The IRM Researcher considers the overall milestones and activities of this commitment to be verifiable. However, certain activities are rather vague. As an example, activity 2 states: “Developing draft of the framework for provincial roads connectivity program in partnership with the people.” This is a broad statement, without specifying who the “people” is in this context, where and how will they be allocated, through which mechanism the consultation will take place, etc. Another activity suggests the establishment of a coordination mechanism among various official entities to seek their consultation on the integrated infrastructure projects. It is, however, not clear why there is the need for another inter-ministerial coordination mechanism when activity No. 1 also suggests the creation of an inter-ministerial joint working group. In addition, the proposed activities do not suggest any measures as to how the initiative will be delegated at the local level within various provinces.

The potential impact of this commitment could be transformative. MoPW plans to engage provincial representatives and local communities during the selection and execution of road construction projects. Moreover, at the implementation phase, MoPW will consult with communities on hiring local labor forces, thus trying to provide job opportunities as well. The commitment further envisages a monitoring role for CSOs, together with local communities, during the entire process—from procurement to project selection to implementation—to help prevent corruption. At the core of the framework lies the following: a) creating awareness among the local population about the importance of road construction, i.e., transformation in their lives due to improved connectivity; b) creating a sense of ownership among local communities about construction projects; and c) de-politicizing construction projects and instead focusing on enhancing construction work from technical and professional points of view. [135] At the time of the interview, IWA was in the process of signing a MoU with the Ministry of Public Work on its role as per this commitment, formalizing engagement with civil society. [136]

Next steps

The IRM Researcher considers this commitment to be very ambitious, with the potential to become even more effective taking into account the enormity of the problems mentioned earlier in relation to road constructions and the potential role local communities can play in this process. The commitment has the potential to become relevant to more OGP values than civic participation that could be addressed in the next cycle. It should therefore be prioritized and carried on to the next action plan with the following suggestions for its improvement:

  • Activities and milestones would benefit from more precision, as several of them are relatively vague. The MoPW would benefit from specifying in greater detail how it plans to reach out to citizens and CSO’s at the community and provincial levels.
  • Engage CSOs in working groups and coordination mechanisms from the onset, instead of incorporating them at the post-draft framework stage.
  • For the next action plan, the IRM researcher suggests that the MoPW together with CSO’s identify specific mechanism/s for raising public awareness or otherwise making information on road infrastructure and related government activities available to citizens. The representative interviewed by the IRM Researcher placed emphasis on raising public awareness of the project and the importance of road connectivity. However, this activity has not been incorporated into the current action plan. [137]
  • To instill the element of public accountability in this initiative, the MoPW could develop a mechanism whereby the public can have the opportunity to express dissatisfaction with road construction activities, particularly at the district level, or if members of the public observe a violation of rules and regulations by, for example, a construction company or other public/private actors.
[128] IRoA, Ministry of Public Work. (May 2018). 2019-2023 Strategy: A connected Afghanistan that plays a fundamental role in regional transport through a Sustainable Road Network. Retrieved on November 30, 2018, from http://mopw.gov.af/Content/files/MPW%20strategy%20(2019%20-2023).pdf
[129] Ibid.
[130] Interview participants mentioned his name several times as an initiator and strong proponent of the OGP process in Afghanistan.
[131] Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF) is a five-year (2017-2021) strategic plan to achieve self-reliance by providing jobs and other infrastatural servinces to citizens. Retrieved November 30, 2018, from: http://moec.gov.af/Content/files/ANPDF_English.pdf
[132] IRoA, Ministry of Public Work. (May 2018). 2019-2023 Strategy: A connected Afghanistan that plays a fundamental role in regional transport through a Sustainable Road Network. Retrieved on November 30, 2018, from http://mopw.gov.af/Content/files/MPW%20strategy%20(2019%20-2023).pdf
[133] Ibid, p.8.
[134] Personal interview, Director of Policy and Planning, Ministry of Public Work, 27 October 2018, Kabul.
[135] Ibid.
[136] Ibid.
[137] Personal interview, Director of Policy and Planning, Ministry of Public Work, 27 October 2018, Kabul.

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