Fourth PPG Meeting Minutes
13 Aug 2017
Partnering for Public Good
4th Joint Working Group Meeting on the PPG Summit
Kabul-3rd August, 2017
Afghanistan Institute for Civil Society (AICS) facilitated the 4th Partnering for Public Good (PPG) Working Group Meeting (mainly attributed to Consultation on annual PPG Summit 2017) on 3rd August, 2017 at AICS office in Kabul. The main objective of the meeting was to discuss progress made for each PPG priorities and the PPG working group work plan 2016/2017 as well as initiate consultation on preparation for annual PPG summit 2017. The meeting was attended by 22 members (4 women, 18 men) representing CSOs from Kabul and zones (north, northeast, west, central highlands and southeast), government, media and donors. During the meeting PPG working group member organizations shared their progress, discussed challenges and opportunities, and discussed preparatory measures and options for holding the annual PPG summit 2017.
Mr. Azizurrahman Tasal, Director of Policy at AICS, welcomed the participants and following that, all the participants briefly introduced themselves. Group members shared the progress and setbacks in each relevant priorities as follow:
- In terms of CSOs credibility and enabling environment, AICS has conducted 4 roundtables each in Mazar, Herat, Bamiyan and Kandahar. The last roundtable was held in Kandahar on 30th July, the main discussion point was “CSOs credibility and Image in public”. Mr. Hafizullah Fayaz, Director of Civil Society Affairs in Administrative Office of the President, accepted that the MoU between CSOs and the Afghan government has not been applied despite of attempts by the Directorate of Civil Society Affairs in Administrative Office of the President. He suggested a joint meeting with head of Administrative Office of the President for drawing Presidents attention to the signed MoU.
- Maqsoud Hamid from ICNL and Eng. Hakim Gul Ahmadi from Ministry of Economy (MoE) could not attend the meeting that is why progress made in the second priority which is CSOs sustainability and legal framework wasn’t discussed in details. It was reported that AICS had launched a policy brief on CSOs financial sustainability. NGOs Law amendments, Foundations Law and final execution of decision about CSOs taxation problems- all are pending and have not been fully accomplished yet.
- Past attempts of AICS to arrange a meeting of PPG joint working group with National Medicine and Health Product Regulatory Authority (NMHPR) of Ministry of Public Health failed because NMHPR cancelled the meeting after initial agreement. Unfortunately no progress has been made in finding out about specialized CSOs for joint monitoring of imported goods with ANSA.
- Oversight Commission on Access to Information (OCAI) is facing lack of budget and capacity. OCAI was successful in implementing some of their planned activities. They have worked on their strategic plan and has conducted workshops for employees of the government about access to information. They are trying to work out nomination of a designated person in each government imitations to facilitate access to information.
- No tangible and systematic work has been done on supporting the Afghan National Army (ANA) which is a PPG priority. Reasons for this setback are lack resources and specialization. Ms. Samira Hamidi pointed out that there are certain CSO who are specialized in working with ANA and PPG working group has to specify them and include them is this group.
- Nafi Frozanfar from UNAMA updated meeting attendees about Open Government Partnership (OGP) and suggested OGP as an alternative to Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between CSJWG and the government. He added that a selection committee comprised of 7 CSOs representatives are working on call for application in order to select 15 CSOs to become OGP members. Mr. Khalil Raufi from CS-JWG added that the OGP general assembly is formed of 43 people which is unequally represented by government, CSOs, private sector and academia. Samira Hamidi and some provincial representatives complained about not being invited for OGP introductory meeting. Mr. Frozanfar further explained that 7 zonal representatives and 8 representatives from Kabul will join OGP.
- Baryali Omarzai from ANCB talked about CSOs demand of general tax exemption from the government and he said that about 128 national and international CSOs have been blacklisted by the government.
- Jawed Shakaib from ALBA described how Ministry of Justice (MoJ) made amendment in Associations Law and sent it to the Afghan Parliament without any consultations with CSOs, he mentioned that later on a number of CSOs’ representatives together with ICNL followed up the process in lower house of the parliament. He pointed out that CSOs’ coordination with parliament is weak. Mr. Shakaib said that we should strictly follow up progress in each of these eight priorities.
- Tasal from AICS said that PPG platform is too extensive with far-reaching priorities and time limitations is also a challenge for PPG working group members. For achieving the goals in each priority a dedicated establishment and continued contribution of each PPG working group member is required. Ms. Samira Hamidi from WKLO pointed out to progress and achievements made within this platform. She also highlighted the advocacy achievements made in fifth PPG priority in order to enforce administrative reforms for addressing gender inequalities.
- Bashir Khaliqi from ANAFE updated the meeting about progress made in 4th priority, he said that the priority is important in ANAFE’s work plan. ANAFE celebrated education week and through their declaration they expressed their concerns about education in Afghanistan and advocated for “contextualization of curriculum in Afghanistan”. ANAFE finds civil society involvement in educational curriculum challenging.
Later on, the meeting continued with discussion/consultation about preparation for holding this year’s PPG summit and following decisions were made:
- Summit will be held probably in on 27th August or 6th September, 2017.
- Venue is considered other than Kabul- Bamiyan, Herat or Mazar; the final decision has been left upon AICS to choose according to its budget and logistic capacity.
- 60 people will be invited; 25-30 people from Kabul and 30-35 from provinces/regions.
- A draft agenda was discussed as:
- Reception and inauguration
- Presentation: about last two years progress in PPG priorities
- Panel discussion: provincial representatives to discuss progress, challenges and recommendations in relations to each PPG priority area
- A Special Panel discussion: on PGG next steps (The PPG working group members agreed to reduce the number of PPG priorities for upcoming year(s) to achieve more tangible results)
- AICS will draft the summit agenda and will share it group members through email for comments.
- PPG Summit Working Committee was established from Mr. Tasal, Mr. Hafizullah Fayaz, Mr. Bashir Kahliqi, Mr. Khalil Raufti, Mr. Baryali Omarzai, Ms. Samira Hamidi and Mr. Jawed Shakiab. The committee members promised to hold regular meetings for better preparation and will discuss all the relevant issues.
- Group members suggested to have no declaration in this Summit, but will agree on specific set of actions for certain (reduced) number of PPG priorities for upcoming year.
- Group members suggested to consider inclusion of presentations on OGP, Citizen Charter and/or COST in upcoming Summit. (Representatives of OGP and/or COST will be invited to the Summit).
- It was proposed that a pre-summit preparatory workshop should be held for provincial representatives. It will be decided in light of AICS budget availability.
- If needed, AICS will convene next PPG working Group Members meeting before the Summit.
- The PPG Submit Working Committee will convene for their first working session on 7th August 2017 in AICS Office at 03:30 pm.