Local governance efforts in Afghanistan are threatened by insecurity, limiting government access and provision of public services in many districts. In addition, local services are often implemented without considering the priorities of local people and with limited oversight. For peacebuilding and state building, it is vital are to consider not just what services are delivered, but also how they are delivered. Citizens must feel that their voices are being heard.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) have been working together on sub-national governance since the IDLG’s inception. From 2006, our Afghanistan Sub-National Governance Programme (ASGP) supported the establishment of IDLG, a central government entity responsible for monitoring and administering local government structures. These structures include 34 provinces incorporating over 300 districts, an elected Provincial Council for each province and some 150 municipalities.
In October 2015, based on lessons from the ASGP, UNDP initiated a four-year Local Governance Project (LoGo) with funding from the European Union, Switzerland, Sweden and Italy. The project, which aims to improve service delivery and enhancing the accountability and transparency of the local government, provides support to IDLG, 13 Provincial Governor’s Offices (PGOs) and Provincial Councils (PCs), 22 Municipalities (8 provincial and 14 district) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in 17 provinces.
Improved inclusive, accountable and transparent service delivery: LoGo supports national and provincial levels in participatory provincial planning and budgeting processes and participation of local citizens in planning and monitoring of services. The project also supports construction of women-friendly citizen service centres; these serve as one-stop shops to provide services to local citizens.
Municipalities generate more revenue and improve service delivery: Municipalities are required generate their own revenue to finance their day-to-day operations including service delivery to citizens. The project supports municipalities to increase municipal revenue generation. In addition, the project raises awareness of citizens (including women) on participation in municipal planning and monitoring of service delivery. The project also supports establishment of localised structures such as Municipal Advisory Boards (MABs) and School Municipal Committees (SMCs) to work with municipal authorities and local citizens in monitoring service delivery. The one-stop citizen service centres, mobile service centres and local service delivery projects aim to increase municipal service delivery to citizens.
Civil society and citizens have improved oversight capacity: LoGo is also improving the ability of civil society (including women’s groups) to participate in planning at sub-national and municipality levels. The project conducts trainings and supports civil society to raise awareness among local citizens on their roles and responsibilities, the responsibilities of government entities in service delivery, and how to conduct monitoring of service delivery. These activities will encourage citizen participation and improve relationships between the local people and government entities.
Support to development of policy and regulatory frameworks: LoGo also assists the IDLG in developing policy and regulatory frameworks for sub-national and local governance and rolling out these policy and regulatory frameworks. The project also supports development of ICT systems and e-platforms for sub-national and local governance.
What we have accomplished so far?
More accountable provincial governors’ offices/councils:
- provincial development plans developed in 9 provinces
- Citizen Service Centres established in 5 provincial governors’ offices
Municipalities are better funded and more accountable:
- 19 municipalities have achieved ≥ 10% increase in revenue generation in one fiscal year
- municipal plans developed in 20 municipalities and CSCs established in 3 municipalities
Civil society and citizens have improved oversight capacity:
- CSO networks established in 10 provinces and involved in planning and oversight
- Citizens sensitized on citizen roles and responsibilities, social audit, access to information and anti-corruption
IDLG enabled to improve local government accountability and service delivery:
- IDLG was supported to develop policy and regulatory frameworks to improve local government accountability
- ICT systems and e-platforms for sub-national and local governance developed