Civil Society Advisory Committee to UNDP Afghanistan launched
Kabul: “The Afghan civil society is ready to play a meaningful role in supporting UNDP efforts for building a strong and resilient Afghanistan with institutions that foster accountability and good governance, and deliver quality development results for the citizens”. This was stated by Abdul Khaliq Zazai, head of the Accessibility Organization for Afghan Disabled (AOAD), one of the members of the Civil Society Advisory Committee (CSAC) to UNDP Afghanistan that met for its inaugural consultation, here today.
Fifteen national and international representatives were selected out of the leading civil society organizations that are active across a range of development and humanitarian programmes in Afghanistan to be part of this advisory body, following an intense process of consultation, taking into account their different areas of expertise, a balance of men and women, and the inclusion of youth representatives. Prominent among those present included the Afghan Women’s Network (AWN), Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU), Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR), The Liaison Office (TLO) and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) - Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Mark Bowden expressed the hope that “this process will facilitate a synergistic two-way relationship between UNDP and the Afghan civil society: this advisory body will provide UNDP with strategic and substantive guidance on policy and programme strategies, will guide our choices, will monitor the relevance of our interventions, and - most importantly - will serve as a platform provided by UNDP Afghanistan to give a stronger voice to the Afghan civil society……The Committee will contribute to strengthen our partnership with the Afghan civil society through the development of joint initiatives including monitoring and evaluation of our programmes, as well as joint programmes, advocacy and communication activities”, Mr. Bowden noted.
Opening the deliberations, the UNDP Country Director, Mr. Alvaro Rodriguez observed that the success of development depends on both a robust state and an active civil society with healthy levels of civic engagement. “Promoting civic engagement will be integral to the work of UNDP in all its priority areas of focus”, Mr. Rodriguez said. He said partnering with civil society “can help contribute to the effectiveness of development interventions, especially with respect to marginalized and vulnerable groups”.
Around the world, UNDP seeks to engage with civil society to promote the Millennium Development Goals. Engagement with civil society is critical to national ownership of development processes, democratic governance, and the quality and relevance of official development programmes. UNDP believes civil society can contribute to build nations that can withstand crisis, and to drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for all.
Over the years, UNDP support in Afghanistan has spanned such milestone efforts as the adoption of the Constitution, building capacity for presidential, parliamentary and provincial council elections; and, institutional development through capacity-building support to the legislative, the judicial and executive arms of the state, and key ministries, government agencies and commissions at the national and subnational levels.