Civil society, provincial authorities forge ties in Afghanistan’s north

23 Dec 2018

Civil society, provincial authorities forge ties in Afghanistan’s north

SAR-E-PUL - A strong partnership between government and civil society is a critical necessity for improved service delivery, good governance and rural development, said participants at a UN-backed event in the northern province of Sar-e-Pul.

More than 60 civil society representatives, government officials, tribal elders, journalists and academics came together at the event to discuss ways to strengthen civil society’s engagement with provincial authorities. The event was organized by UNAMA’s Mazar regional office to foster conversation around government services and economic development, particularly in remote districts.

“This event is intended to help institutionalize a culture and tradition of face-to-face dialogue and honest engagement between the people and the government in the interest of delivering essential services throughout the province,” said Hekmatullah Haidari, a civil society representative.

Sar-e-Pul, a mostly mountainous and province, consists of nearly 1,000 villages spread across seven districts. In recent years, residents have faced insecurity that has displaced hundreds of families and affected services such as health and education.

During the event’s lively discussion, participants made several recommendations, including addressing the security situation and developing a systematic work plan between civil society and provincial authorities for effective planning, monitoring and implementation of development programmes.

For their part, the provincial authorities participating in the event welcomed the efforts of civil society in calling for good governance and supporting better engagement around development programmes.

“This is a fine example of a civil society that cares for the public and holds government accountable,” said Abdullah Akbari, a representative from the governor’s office. “I appreciate your findings and recommendations and promise to take them into consideration.”

The event was organized by UNAMA’s Mazar regional office as one of many other similar programmes, events and initiatives resulting from UNAMA reaching out to a range of groups across the country to create spaces, both physical and on social media, for them to come together and discuss issues that are of critical importance to them, and to strategize on the best way forward.

In accordance with its mandate as a political mission, UNAMA supports the Afghan people and government to achieve peace and stability. UNAMA backs conflict prevention and resolution, promoting inclusion and social cohesion, as well as strengthening regional cooperation. The Mission supports effective governance, promoting national ownership and accountable institutions that are built on respect for human rights.

UNAMA provides 'good offices' and other key services, including diplomatic steps that draw on the organization’s independence, impartiality and integrity to prevent disputes from arising, escalating or spreading. The Mission coordinates international support for Afghan development and humanitarian priorities.