Promoting political reform
Title: Open Policy Advisory Fund
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Afghan Ministry of Finance; Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission of Afghanistan
Overall term: 2010 to 2017
Decades of armed conflict have left Afghan society and state structures in ruins. The state and the public administration cannot carry out their tasks and render the services the population needs. One of the many reasons for this is the inability of state institutions both in Kabul and in the provinces and districts to enforce their powers. To make matters worse, the population has little respect for the Afghan state and its institutions due to widespread corruption.
Afghan institutions are implementing reform measures that contribute to good governance.
Since 2009, the German Government has been supporting good governance reform in Afghanistan through the Open Policy Advisory Fund. The focus is on making the public administration more efficient and on preventing corruption.
Many Afghan institutions face the challenge of introducing reform measures, but the expertise needed is often lacking. The Open Policy Advisory Fund searches for and funds the deployment of experts who can support state actors in building up modern, efficient processes in specialist departments, drawing up or improving strategies and regulations, and providing staff training. Improved organisational structures, clear internal procedures and well-trained staff enable public administrations to perform their work more professionally and contribute to more transparent government activities.
Backed by lean structures, the Fund can respond quickly and flexibly to new reform approaches. A high-level committee comprising representatives of the Afghan and German Governments sets the strategic direction. It is thus possible to quickly put into practice project ideas and training courses. The Fund also serves as a point of intersection with other programmes of German-Afghan cooperation and those of other international donors.
Preventing corruption. The Afghan anti-corruption authorities, including the High Office of Oversight and Anti-corruption and the Independent Anti-corruption Committee, have drawn on the support of specialists through the Fund. The Independent Anti-corruption Committee now conducts risk analyses for the prevention of corruption for Afghan ministries, authorities and public administrations. Ministries and their internal procedures are extensively investigated to determine their susceptibility to corruption and recommendations are developed to remedy weaknesses.
Following an upskilling initiative in finance and public administration, 30 staff members of the Afghan Supreme Audit Office perform their oversight tasks more professionally and independently issue recommendations for increasing the efficiency of processes.
Strengthening the economic position of women. Specialists support the Ministry of Labour with defining measures for removing barriers to the economic development of women. A national action plan sets out measures developed under participatory initiatives aimed at significantly increasing the contribution of Afghan women to the economy. Building on this, the national action plan has been developed further with the aim of also significantly increasing women’s participation in economic activity, and has since become a key element of the national development strategy.
Transparency in the building sector. Experts from the Open Policy Advisory Fund have conducted a study in the building sector. The data they compiled form the basis for a worldwide transparency initiative for the sector that Afghanistan joined in 2015. The initiative aims to prevent corruption in public-sector building projects worldwide through the publication of information.
Restructuring the Office of the President. In 2015, two administrative institutions were combined to form the Office of the President, which is tasked with coordinating government business. Experts from the Open Policy Advisory Fund supported the Office of the President in identifying procedures that had become redundant in the wake of the merger and made recommendations on core functions.
Administrative reform 2.0. With the support of German advisors funded by the Open Policy Advisory Fund, the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission developed the next administrative reform initiative. Implementation began in 2015 and is proceeding step by step.
National monitoring and evaluation framework. A German-Afghan team of consultants has produced a national framework for monitoring and evaluation in the civil service that has standardised and systematised the reporting system. Weaknesses can now be identified more easily and the competent authorities can rectify them wihout delay.
Stronger provinces and districts. The provincial and municipal administrations are increasingly assuming responsibility and expanding their service offering. The Independent Directorate of Local Governance has restructured its organisation and internal procedures. The Open Policy Advisory Fund has funded a workshop at which participants developed new guidelines for the provincial and district administrations.