In collaboration with the Training Human Rights Association for Afghan Women and the Open Government Partnership Secretariat, Integrity Watch Afghanistan facilitated a consultative workshop in eastern provinces to hear about governance issues faced by the people there. Government officials, civil society and members of the community participated in the event. The views expressed by the people will be collated and included in the National Action Plan II of the Open Government Partnership.
Speaking at the workshop, Shah Mamoud Miakhel Governor of Nangarhar emphasized that open governance principles need to be imbedded in government departments and said: “people play a crucial role in holding government officials to account by playing their part in participating and monitoring government affairs”. The top public official in the province pointed out to the participants that the government in Nangarhar have now made it easier for the people to access information. He also confirmed that they are holding open hearing sessions to listen and address various problems faced by the people.
Sayed Ikram Afzali, Executive Director of Integrity Watch, highlighted the role of people in fostering an environment of open government and emphasized that active engagement by the people in their government encourages and improves accountability. Encouraging people to partake in the local government, Mr. Afzali urged the participants to list some of the important issues faced by them which could be resolved by the government in the coming two years.
Referring to the first National Action Plan, Roshan Sirran, Director of the Training Human Rights Association for Afghan Women, pointed out that NAP-I had been able to address some important issues for Afghan women. As far as the second National Action Plan was concerned, Ms. Sirran expressed her satisfaction with women participants of the workshop considering the role & importance of women in achieving open government.
Participants broke into working groups to further discuss some important issues which they believed should be included in the National Action Plan-II. Some of these important issues included the improvement of healthcare services, increasing access to quality education and achieving reforms in policing.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a global initiative that was established in 2012 where government and civil society co-create commitments to open up governments and make them more transparent & accountable. Afghanistan joined the initiative in 2016 and subsequently developed its first National Action Plan (NAP) in 2017. Integrity Watch has been working with the Government of Afghanistan and other civil society actors to co-create the NAP II for 2020 to 2021.