Second PPG Meeting Minutes
13 Aug 2017
Partnering for Public Good
2nd Joint Working Group Meeting on the PPG Summit priorities 2016/2017
Kabul- 30 January 2017
Afghanistan Institute for Civil Society (AICS) facilitated the second Partnering for Public Good (PPG) Working Group meeting on 30 January, 2017 at Kabul Star Hotel in Kabul. The main objective of the meeting was to measure progress made for each PPG priorities and the PPG working group work plan 2016/2017. The meeting was attended by 21 members (2 women, 19 men) representing CSOs from Kabul and zones (north, northeast, west, central highlands and southeast), government, media and UNAMA. During the meeting PPG working group member organizations shared their progress, discussed challenges and opportunities, updated the work plan to be followed by them, and agreed on contributions of each participating organizations to partner for achieving better results.
Mr. Maiwand Rahyab, Executive Director of AICS, welcomed the participant and provided background on the PPG initiative for updating the new members of this working group (zonal reps, Afghanistan National Education Coalition, and Gender Committee of Afghan Women Network) on this initiative. Following that, Mr. Azizurrahman Tasal, Policy Engagement Director of AICS facilitated the session. He and the members of PPG working group shared the progress made on each relevant priorities committed in the first PPG working group meeting in October, 2016, which are as below:
- AICS met with Dr. Alema, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation. The purpose of the meeting was to get apprised on the status of the ministry program and strategy on the Afghan refugees returnees and outside the country and as well as IDPs. The ministry shared its relevant achievements and plan towards Afghan refugees and IDPs. The meeting attended by AICS and number of PPG working group with the Dr. Alema on December 18, 2016. The meeting was organized in collaboration with Ms. Samira Hamidi, a member of PPG Working Group from Afghan Women Network;
- AICS met Afghanistan National Standard Authority on 17 January, 2017. During the meeting, AICS Executive Director presented PPG objectives and priorities as well as purpose of the meeting with ANSA to ANSA Director General. Subsequently, ANSA Director General briefed the participants about afghan government standardization and certification processes, progress made by ANSA as well as future plans and the existing challenges of ANSA to institutionalize standardization in Afghanistan. Besides, ANSA Director General demonstrated his and ANSA’s commitment to cooperate with AICS and PPG working group members to jointly monitor the standardization and certification process of imported goods. It was also decided that technical members from both PPG working group and ANSA will meet to agree of specific terms of cooperation and coordination in near future. This meeting was also attended by ACBAR and ACSFo as members of PPG working group;
- AICS met with Afghanistan National Education Coalition on 12 January, 2017 (attended by AICS, ACBAR, ANAFAE), and with Afghan Women Network on 15 January, 2017. The purposes of the meetings were to handover a PPG priority area on “Contextualize curricula of the both private, and government basic and higher education institutions in order to meet current tangible challenges of the country” to the Afghan National Education Coalition, and a PPG priority area on “Reform administrative policies and procedures to address gender inequalities – such as safe working/anti-harassment guidelines” to Afghan Women Network (attended by AICS, ACBAR, Oversight and Access to Information Commission). In addition, AICS requested them to introduce a focal point from each of their working groups to attend quarterly PPG Working Group meetings and report on their relevant progress in these two PPG priority areas. As a result they attend this PPG working group meeting, shared their progress on the priorities and committed to partner for the priorities implementation;
- AICS encouraged local CSOs of all zones to transparently elect two CSO representatives (main representative and alternative representative) from active, and eminent CSOs of their respective zones to regularly represent their zones in PPG Working Group quarterly Meetings in Kabul. As a result, CSOs of five zones (North, Northeast, West, Central Highland and Southeast) were able to elect their representatives through elections processes initiated and led by CSOs in their respective zones. These representatives were then officially introduced to AICS. As a result, these five zonal representatives were able to attend this second PPG working group meeting (on January 30 in Kabul);
- AICS met with a member of the committee (established of PPG working group) on “Identifying the number of and measuring the effectiveness of signed MoUs between CSOs and Government”. So far, the approach of identifying the number of and measuring the results (through email and face to face meetings with the CSOs itself, government and parliament) have been identified;
In addition, number of other relevant progress that enables environment for CSOs shared by the participants. For instance, based on indicator 24 of the Brussels Commitments, the government have to ensure CSOs financial viability as a result of which a working group is established by Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Finance; led by Ministry of Economy to address the issue, and exemption of CSOs registered with Ministry of Justice to fill-out the declaration form for taxation.
Thereafter, challenges, opportunities and future activities discussed. According to the PPG working group, weak communication and coordination between CSOs in Kabul and provinces, propaganda of number of people on CSOs-especially in Herat province, and poor government commitments in implementing MoUs for enabling environment for CSOs are the critical obstacles which impedes CSOs activities and sustainability in the country. According to a participant, signing MoUs will not result in enabling environment for CSOs till a decree is not issued by the president for fair implementation. Meanwhile, number of another zonal participants said that most of CSOs remain uninformed of number of MoUs signed in Kabul between CSOs and government, even though the most general one signed between Civil Society Joint Working Group, and Administrative Office of the President, and the progress if any.
As a result, the comments and feedback noted down for updating the PPG working plan work plan for implementation and follow-up actions. Thereafter, the following recommendations made to be following by AICS in collaboration with PPG working group:
The following activities should be achieved by AICS in collaboration with PPG working group:
- AICS in collaboration with the assigned committee (AICS, Samira Hamidi, and Jawid Shakib) from the PPG working group members should follow-up on identifying the number and measuring the result of MoUs signed between CSOs and government. Following that, efforts should be made by PPG working group to influence the government to issue a decree for effective implementation of MoUs between government and CSOs;
- The priority “SUPPORT FOR AFGHAN REFUGEES LIVING OUTSIDE OF AFGHANISTAN AND ASSISTANCE FOR RETURNEES” will be handover to ANCB, as they volunteered to be a focal point for this priority implementation based on their sufficient experience in this priority. Therefore, AICS will further communicate with ANCB on this priority to handover to ANCB;
- AICS in collaboration with the PPG working group should communicate with the Oversight Commission on Access to Information to be a focal point for the priority “IMPLEMENT ACCESS TO INFORMATION LAW” and provide updates on the progress to the PPG working group;
- AICS should also encourage CSOs in east and south of Afghanistan to introduce their representative to the PPG working group through a transparent election to the future PPG working group meetings;
- AICS should update the work plan based on the comments and feedback of the PPG working group and share with the members for follow-up actions.