• 10 civil society networks call for action ahead of major Afghan meeting

10 civil society networks call for action ahead of major Afghan meeting

23 March 2015

In a joint statement launched today, Afghan and international civil society groups call for their involvement in decisions regarding Afghanistan’s development. 

In December last year civil society participated in the London Conference on Afghanistan, with the largest ever Afghan delegation to such an event.  In both the Ayenda Conference on the 3rd December and the ministerial conference on the 4th, Afghan and international civil society delegates were able to present their opinions and recommendations to global leaders and decision makers. 

Now is the time to maintain the momentum gained during the London Conference on Afghanistan (LCA).  The Afghan government and its international partners committed to a follow-up event in Kabul in 2015, called the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM).  Recent indications are that this will be held in September.  Whilst some civil society groups and organisations have been involved in previous SOMs, today’s joint statement recommends that ‘if the views discussed at the SOM are to be representative of those of the Afghan population, it will be essential that a rigorous and robust consultation process is undertaken both in Kabul and at the sub-national level.’

‘Civil society made themselves heard at the LCA,’ comments Jawed Nader, BAAG’s Director. ‘This was reflected in a number of positive comments made by Ministers, and in the commitments agreed in the Conference Communiqué.  BAAG and another nine networks that signed the statement want to see a significant civil society consultation process factored into plans for the SOM.’

Indeed, since their return from the LCA, the Afghan civil society delegates have continued discussions with the National Unity Government, meeting with President Ghani, CEO Abdullah, the National Security Council and international donors. They are also increasingly seen by Afghan media as playing an important and positive role, especially in calling the Afghan government to account for its activities, or in some cases inactivity.

With their experience and expertise in development needs, human rights and humanitarian programmes, national and international NGOs and civil society organisations should continue to play an important role in Afghanistan – as service providers, advocates and accountability monitors.  This joint statement will be shared with the British, Afghan and other international governments, ahead of their plans for the structure and objectives of the SOM.

BAAG and its members and partners are committed to lobby for a significant place for civil society in both these plans and at the SOM table.  

Dari and Pashto versions of the statement are available here