Objectives of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Accession to Open Government Partnership
The National Unity Government (NUG) of Afghanistan has been initiating clusters of reform packages since taking office in 2014. Good governance and transparency are the driving forces behind the reform initiatives. Demonstrating unprecedented level of political will, H.E. President Ghani announced a series of commitments at the London Anti-Corruption Summit in May 2016 to strengthen transparency and curb corruption. International cooperation is the common theme amongst Afghanistan’s commitments that will enable interested parties to join forces with relevant stakeholders and civil society organizations at national and international level and work towards better and open governance.
Further to the above efforts, the government of Afghanistan, as an eligible country, submitted its letter of intent to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in December 2016, which was another bold step striving towards transparency, partnership and good governance.
The accession of Afghanistan to this significantly important international partnership reflects the strategic approach of the government towards fighting corruption and open government. This is a clear demonstration of Afghan government’s multifaceted strategic endeavor and adherence to the principles of transparency in governance and citizens’ engagement in policy and decision-making processes.
The government of Afghanistan is focusing its efforts on the implementation of open governance by institutionalizing transparency in government entities and placing emphasis on (a); fostering public participation in decision-making, prioritization efforts and fight against corruption, and (b); promoting innovations by harnessing new technologies in the operation of government agencies.
Based on democratic principles and values enshrined in Afghan Constitution that are in compliance with the United Nations’ Charter, International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Convention Against Corruption, London Conference pledges and other conventions, the Afghan government is consistently striving to ensure and strengthen promotion of open and good governance.
Strengthening and promoting culture of transparency in activities of institutions and delivery of services, public participation in government decisions; promoting accountability and responsibility among authorities, and strengthening optimum use of modern technology are considered to be the fundamental indicators of open governance that can be utilized as effectively preventative measures to fight corruption.
The Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, in accordance with its national and international obligations, and considering the impacts and outcomes from pursuing multilateral approaches towards managing domestic challenges through international cooperation and interactions, has become a member country of OGP. Afghanistan’s membership will lead to increased confidence and optimism at national level by allowing the people to take part in the governance and decision making process.
During the past 2 years, despite challenges, the Afghan government has had considerable success in several areas pertinent to good governance such as public procurement reform, public finance and taxation reform, laws and regulations, prosecution and trial of large scale corruption cases by the newly created Anti-Corruption Justice Center. These efforts resulted in Afghanistan moving up in the scoring of Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International as the only country that has had improvement in 2016.
The Afghan government is committed to continue to deliver on its commitments to the nation and the international community in regards to good governance and effective public service delivery in particular by putting forth efforts to implementing e-governance reforms such as electronic government procurement and several other electronic systems of public service delivery that all will result in creation of corruption resistant systems of service delivery.
Moreover, in the light of its aspirations of OGP membership, the Afghan government will work together with the civil society and other stakeholders to develop its action plan geared towards implementation of OGP principles.
To conclude, the government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan assures its highest consideration and acknowledgement to OGP steering committee including of government representatives, civil society organizations and the OGP secretariat for acceptance of Afghanistan’s membership request and looks forward to working together towards the common vision of this multi-stakeholder initiative with the spirit of mutual and multi-lateral cooperation amongst member countries.