Third PPG Meeting Minutes
13 Aug 2017
Partnering for Public Good
3rd Joint Working Group Meeting on the PPG Summit
Kabul-24th May 2017
Afghanistan Institute for Civil Society (AICS) facilitated the 3rd Partnering for Public Good (PPG) Working Group meeting on 24th May 2017 at Park Star Hotel in Kabul. The main objective of the meeting was to measure progress made against each PPG priorities and the PPG working group work plan 2016/2017. The meeting was attended by 21 members (4 women, 17 men) representing CSOs from Kabul and zones (north, northeast, west, central highlands and southeast), government and media. During the meeting, PPG working group member organizations shared their progress, discussed challenges and opportunities, updated the work plan, and emphasized on contributions of each participating organizations to partner for achieving better results.
Mr. Maiwand Rahyab, Executive Director of AICS, welcomed the participants and provided background information on the PPG initiative. Mr. Rahyab talked about some challenges facing the working group in terms of following up and making all the participants attend the meetings and implement collective tasks regularly. Following that, all the participants briefly introduced themselves and then AICS Policy Engagement Director facilitated the meeting. He and the members of PPG working group shared the progress made against relevant priorities committed in the first PPG working group meeting in January 2017, which are as below:
- Khalil Raufi briefed the attendees about progress made in terms of MoU implementation which has been signed between CSOs and government; CSJWG met with President Ghani on 6th May. President Ghani assured CSJWG that CSOs must be involved in monitoring every area and CSOs should cooperate with the electoral commissions technically. CSOs have successfully monitored the recruitment process by Independent Administrative Commission. While things are better in the center, in rural areas of Afghanistan local authorities do not cooperate with CSOs. Later on, Mr. Fayaz Director Civil Society Department of Office of Administrative Affairs talked about Afghanistan’s membership in OGP (Open Government Partnership) and active involvement of CSOs. A joint secretariat will be formed of CSOs in terms of OGP (Open Government Partnership).
- AICS has conducted 3 roundtables in Herat, Mazar, and Bamiyan and planning to conduct the forth RT in Kandahar after the month of Ramadan. The recent roundtable conducted by AICS was in Bamiyan and the subject of discussion was “Coordination and Collaboration among CSOs and Government”. All Round Table reports which have been conducted by AICS are available on AICS website.
- NAI representative pledged their full support to better coordinate between media and CSOs. Members of the working group had suggestions for a wider platform through media for CSO’s such as CSO’s attending TV roundtables to depict a positive image of CSO’s and they asked NAI to practically pave the ground. NAI promised to undertake measures in this regard.
- ACBAR has developed a picture book on “introduction of NGOs to the People” for public awareness. In this regard, consultation sessions with CSO’s on the development of the book has been conducted and the process will be finalized after including all CSOs views, and then it will be published and distributed throughout Afghanistan. ANCB requested ACBAR to seek input from coordination bodies before publishing the book. This awareness will help to educate the role of CSOs/NGOs to people and raise CSOs’ credibility.
- ICNL briefed on the creation of 2 committees; a technical and leadership committee which comprises Ministry of Economy (MoE), Ministry of Finance (MoF) and CSO to address tax and reporting problems of CSOs, as a result, tax payment process has been deducted to 3 phases which used to be 5 phases. Meanwhile, Ministry of Justice (M0J) has amended the Associations Law with limitations for the association; and advocacy committee has been created to address this challenge. ICNL has been meeting IDLG to address problems of NGOs in dealing with local authorities, as a result, a mechanism is about to be launched for both NGO’s and local authorities throughout 34 provinces. MoE is about to build a single reporting mechanism for NGOs. ICNL has worked with MoE on amendments to NGOs’ Law which will be sent to MoJ and will pass its official process. In addition, according to the MoF and MoJ final decision, foundations will not pay taxes unless they are granted funds.
- ACBAR has conducted capacity building workshops and training based on Afghanistan Civil Society Support Initiative. Training is to cover 16 provinces which are about NGO Law and Project Design. These training will build CSOs’ capacities in project design and will contribute to their sustainability.
- AICS launched its Policy Brief about Financial Sustainability of CSOs on 29th CSOs should be encouraged to use this policy brief as a tool to advocate and convince donors to better support CSOs and their sustainability.
- Meanwhile, PPG working group asked the Director Civil Society Department of Office of Administrative Affairs to facilitate a meeting with National Medicine and Health Product Regulatory Authority (NMHPR) of Ministry of Public Health, past attempts of AICS to a arrange a meeting of PPG joint working group with this department failed because NMHPR cancelled the meeting after initial agreement. Meanwhile, ANSA requested PPG joint working group to introduce CSOs who has the technical expertise to join ANSA for joint monitoring of imported goods.
- ANAFE increased members of the Education Coalition, commemorated the Education Week and conducted Education campaign conference which comprised issue such as schools’ immunity, children out of school and educating school teachers. Afghanistan Education Coalition will continue to influence the Curriculum Directorate of MoE to amend curriculum in a fever of public needs and contextual requirements of Afghanistan.
- Samira Hamidi AWN board member briefed the meeting about their meetings with President Ghani on criminal context of Elimination of Violence against Women Law, as a result, the President agreed not including the criminal context of EVAW Law in the criminal code and instead agreed upon a separate Law. Government agreed on reviewing the criminal code due to its technical shortcomings and gender inequality issues and AWN is a part of this reviewing process. She complained about lack of support and weak participation of other CSOs and networks in AWN’s advocacy measures for EVAW Law.
- Oversight Commission on Access to Information (OCAI) informed the group about a strategy for implantation of Access to Information Law which will be finalized within 1-2 months. Moreover, OCAI has observed 11 governmental departments in terms of Access to Information Law implementation, as a result, they have categorized and ranked each department from best to worst, their first report has been shared through media with the public. OCAI has been working on amendments to the Access to Information Law and simplifying access to forms for Access to Information within governmental administrations. Moreover, OCAI has planned to meet with MoE, MoF and MoJ authorities in order to intercalate access to information content into NGOs’ Law.
- ANCB and PPG working group zonal representatives shared their concerns about refugees, returnees and internally displaced people (IDPs). Returnees face potent challenges in terms of their educational certificate credibility, employment, and shelters. UNHCR no more supports returnees as before and people are somehow discouraged to come back home.
- PPG working group zonal representatives raised their concerns about negative image spreading about CSO in some provinces and decreasing support of local authorities from CSOs and their work.
- PPG working group members recommended to evaluate progress in each PPG priority and continue focusing on 3-4 priorities that are more relevant and result-oriented. It was also recommended that PPG working group should foster advocacy efforts in these selected areas/priorities and endeavor for more measurable results.
- NAI agreed to felicitate CSOs’ access to media platforms in order to advocate for CSOs credibility by introducing CSOs work and achievements to the public.
- PPG working members requested Civil Society Department in Office of Administrative Affairs to help PPG working group to arrange a meeting with Quality Control Department of MOPH.
- PPG working group zonal representatives requested CSJWG and Civil Society Department in Office of Administrative Affairs to introduce OPG, and Mutual Cooperation Mechanism signed between Civil Society- Joint Working Group and the Office of Administrative Affairs, to CSOs in the provinces as they are interested to know about the role of provincial CSOs in these important initiatives.
- ANCB will establish a working group of CSOs working in the areas of refugees, returnees, and IDPs, to closely follow relevant concerns with Ministry Refugees and Repatriation.
- PPG working group members agreed to regularly attend PPG working group members’ quarterly meetings. AWN will be requested to brief the group on progress made in priority 5 “REFORM ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES TO ADDRESS GENDER INEQUALITIES – SUCH AS SAFE WORKING/ANTI-HARASSMENT GUIDELINES”
- PPG working group members shared their concerns about the delay in finalization/enforcement of new NGO Law. It was recommended that CSOs should advocate accelerating the process in MoE and MoJ.