Good governance at provincial level
Title: Regional Capacity Development Fund (RCD)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Afghan Ministry of Finance
Overall term: 2010 to 2017
Stabilisation of Afghanistan is largely dependent on the extent to which the Afghan Government succeeds in establishing functioning governmental and administrative structures that are recognised by the population and capable of substantially meeting citizens’ basic needs without external aid. Around 32 million people live in Afghanistan, two thirds of them in rural areas. These people require access to infrastructure and to basic services which facilitate peaceful, sustainable development, as well as social and economic growth generated by regional potential. However, Afghanistan’s governmental and administrative structures are still extremely inefficient and highly corrupt. Provincial and district administrations and elected or unelected representatives of the population are rarely integrated by the Government into planning, implementing and monitoring development measures.
The state is able to provide better services at provincial, district and municipal level.
The project team advises the Ministry of Finance, the Department for Local Government, the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development and the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission. The focus is on improving and implementing national strategies, guidelines and work schedules geared to improving government structures at local level. The project team also introduces positive experiences from other projects into the political dialogue, and supports partners with successfully shaping and implementing national programmes for local government.
In order to improve vertical cooperation between the national level and the provinces, the project promotes an exchange of information between institutions. This helps to gradually build trust. Project staff collaborate closely with the relevant authorities in the provinces of Badakhshan, Baghlan, Balkh, Kunduz, Samangan and Takhar. They advise and promote provincial administrations, encouraging them to discuss their experience with existing regulations and processes of local governance and to formulate appropriate recommendations for the political dialogue at national level. In addition, project staff keep both national partners and partners at provincial and district level informed of the framework for local policies and their implementation, for example with regard to budgetary planning. The project also advises partners on the introduction of the new provincial council law.
In addition to providing advisory services, the project supports individual development measures. These are selected in collaboration with the relevant provincial development committees. The measures also include basic and further training courses for specialised authorities and their representatives at provincial level, as well as for provincial governors and their administrations. Topics for the training courses include the integration of civil society actors in development planning, needs-based budgetary planning for implementation and maintenance, alignment with the national budgetary cycle, monitoring of development measures, and maintenance and servicing of public buildings.
The project team supports government institutions at provincial level with the introduction of communication and interaction mechanisms, with a view to initiating dialogue with the population and involving it in decision-making processes.
The consulting firm GFA supports the implementation of the project.
Since 2013, the project has worked closely with local authorities to bring about tangible improvements to basic public infrastructure in the six northern provinces of Afghanistan and has implemented many further training measures for public officials. This has been received very positively both by Afghan partners and the general public.
The Afghan Government's sense of ownership of the development process is strengthened by the fact that they are implementing the development measures on their own initiative. The projects have enabled administrations to take competent and transparent action; this fosters people’s trust in provincial administration and the state. With the aid of a fund, provincial administrations have autonomously planned, implemented and supervised many projects. Examples include the construction of a dormitory for girls in Badakhshan, roads and schools in Kunduz, a new health centre in Baghlan and flood defences in Takhar, and training for women in Balkh.
Further training measures from the previous project focusing on mentoring and coaching for public officials, train-the-trainers courses, training for managers and improving technical know-how have increased the skills and knowledge of many public officials and state employees in the northern provinces of Afghanistan. Around 18,000 representatives from provincial and district authorities, the private sector, civil society and traditional structures have now taken part in these training courses. The follow-up project will also pursue this approach and continue it nationwide at all governmental and administrative levels.