National Governance Forum To Review Progress on Development Benchmarks

Apr 8, 2012

UNDP Afghanistan: H.E. Senior Minister Hedayat Amin Arsala, Head of the Governance Cluster and H.E Omar Zakhilwal, Minister of Finance

Kabul, Afghanistan: Over 50 high level ministers and government officials of Line Ministries participated in the Governance Forum held on 14 March 2012 held at the Marble Palace, Sadarat, Kabul. The forum was co-chaired by H.E. Senior Minister Hedayat Amin Arsala, Head of the Governance Cluster and H.E Omar Zakhilwal, Minister of Finance.

The forum gains relevance with the upcoming Tokyo Conference scheduled to be held in July 2012 and with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIoRA) in the process of "Transition" moving towards full Afghan ownership by 2014. Based on the discussions and assessments discussed in the forum, the GIoRA will be making requests for pledges at the Tokyo conference for the implementation of the National Priority Programs (NPPs).

The Governance Forum, held over two days covered both inter-Ministerial discussions and interaction between the Government and the International Community, on the progress made on all NPPs relevant to Governance Cluster and how they contribute towards Good Governance. The Governance Cluster looks at NPPs that include Financial and Economic Reforms; National Transparency and Accountability Program; Efficient and Effective Government; Local Governance; Law and Justice for All; Human Rights and Civic Education.

The UNDP Making Budgets and Aid Work (MBAW) initiative provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Finance, the Senior Minister's office and to the Governance Cluster in organizing the event and by preparing a series of discussion papers and progress reports that can also be be used in the preparation of the upcoming Tokyo Conference. These papers focused on the six NPPs' achievements under the Governance Cluster, updates on progress towards meeting the Governance Cluster benchmarks established by the Kabul and London Conferences, the identification of some multi-sectoral priority issues and discussion of a further set of indicators to measure progress.

In line with the objective of the Forum, line ministries shared to date their respective Governance Cluster achievements based on the London-Kabul Communiqué benchmarks for Good Governance and identified and agreed on specific priorities, indicators and reforms that will further strengthen the ongoing development and stabilization of Afghanistan. The International Community has recently collated a set of indicators to help track progress for the Governance Cluster before the Tokyo conference. Ministers are currently discussing these suggested indicators as some of them overlap with existing Benchmarks.

A key achievement or benchmark for the MoF in Good Governance has been the formulation and the implementation of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Roadmap that further strengthens the transparency and accountability of Afghan Government systems and improves the budget execution rate. The MBAW Project was involved in the PFM Road map formulation and is currently assisting in its implementation.

As a way forward, a time bound and measurable proposal for 'tracking progress in Governance Cluster' was prepared with technical assistance from MBAW Project national cluster advisors. The expected achievement by 2014 is: A national-provincial budgeting process that includes all significant line ministries with input from provincial authorities, inclusive of, and linked to, a provincial planning process in which Provincial Councils are involved with the civil society.

In partnership with the Ministry of Finance, Government of Afghanistan, the UNDP Making Budgets and Aid Work Project provides technical assistance to MoF to develop institutional capacity for improved budget planning and management, policy and strategy development including aid coordination for better service delivery. It strengthens the link between ANDS and the NPPs and helps in the design of the NPPs.

Project donors : Japan, CIDA, Germany, UK-AID and UNDP

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