Government transparency crucial to development, panellists stress in UN-back radio debates

17 Apr 2017

Government transparency crucial to development, panellists stress in UN-back radio debates

KUNDUZ - For effective economic growth in Afghanistan’s north-east region, stronger bonds must be forged between government offices and the private sector, said panellists in two UN-backed radio debates held in Kunduz and Takhar last week.

The debate panels, consisting of government officials, provincial council members and civil society representatives, discussed ways to improve coordination between government offices and the communities they serve, and deliberated over their most pressing challenges.

The objective of the debates, organized by the Kunduz regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), was to flesh out strategies to strengthen cooperation and coordination in the interest of facilitating development in the two provinces.

“Disagreements in implementing projects and programmes is natural, but shouldn’t prevent us from required coordination to achieve our goals,” said panellist Roozi Mohammad Tahir, head of the Provincial Economy Department in Kunduz.

Echoing this sentiment in the Takhar debate was Atiqulla Nazari, a business owner who underlined the importance of improving coordination in the interest of reducing corruption.

“Practicing organized and continuous coordination makes local government more accountable and reduces corruption,” he said.

Panellists in both debates recommended regular meetings to advance the discussion around coordinating more effectively on government-led programmes and projects.

Since early March, eight similar UNAMA-backed events to promote good governance in Kunduz, Baghlan and Takhar provinces have taken place, many of them broadcast via local television and radio. The recent Kunduz and Takhar debates were broadcast by local radio, reaching an estimated 300,000 people in and round the capitals of both provinces.

Takhar and Kunduz are sparsely populated, mostly rural provinces in the country’s north-east region. Both provinces share a border with Tajikistan to the north, and each have populations estimated at around one million people.

UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.

UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.