Established in 2005, the National Assembly of Afghanistan (NAA) exercises law making, oversight and representation functions. In accordance with the 2004 Afghan Constitution, it constitutes an equal branch in the tripartite system of government, with distinct and separate powers. Under a system of checks and balances, each branch is empowered to oversee and contain any abuse of power committed by the others.
In 2005, UNDP assisted the NAA to establish the structures and administrative functions to begin delivering on its mandate. Subsequently, UNDP helped to strengthen the workings of parliament and build the capacity of its leadership and members.
The secretariats of the Upper and Lower Houses of the Parliament, together with UNDP, have recognized that significant institutional reform is necessary for the Parliament to achieve its constitutionally mandated autonomy, and that capacity building is necessary to carry out these reforms.
To facilitate this, UNDP has assisted both secretariats to undertake a comprehensive self-assessment across all the departments in order to identify areas of improvement and capacity building in each department, as well as to inform a set of recommendations.
This self assessment had just been completed. Areas identified by the secretariats as needing improvement include the rapid turnover of staff, the lack of a specialized parliamentary support cadre, the need to strengthen the parliamentary institute and the need to revise certain rules and procedures.
These key recommendations will be prioritized into a set of concrete reform action plans that set out baselines and targets for achievement over the next three to five years. These action plans are expected to help all stakeholders identify priorities, improve coordination, avoid duplication and optimize the use of resources.
What we have accomplished so far?
- Supported the secretariats of both houses to complete a self-assessment and develop recommendations towards strengthening functions and processes.
- Initiated the development of a multi-year strategic plan to guide institutional development (the Reform Action Plan).
- Promoted better coordination among international partners in line with Parliament’s priorities.