UN mission helping to boost aid effectiveness in Afghanistan

6 July 2009
Girls attending the community-based school in the village of Hussain Khel (file photo)

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is helping to increase the effectiveness of aid to the South Asian nation by boosting cooperation between the Government and donors.

UNAMA has been tasked by the Security Council to lead efforts in donor coordination.

“When donors and the Government work together, the impact is much greater,” Mark Ward, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, told a news conference in Kabul. “We believe this strongly in UNAMA – and the facts prove it.”

Successful coordination requires donors and the Government “not just telling each other what they are planning to do, but planning what they are going to do together,” he said, adding that authorities must also design good schemes for donors to fund.

Mr. Ward cited the example of the Ministry of Agriculture, which last April presented five priority programmes that are now receiving donor funding.

Initiatives taken by the Ministries of Public Health and Education, which “forced the donors to align their funding behind the Government’s priorities,” have resulted in over 80 per cent of Afghans having access to basic health services and more than 6 million children going back to school.

UNAMA plays a crucial role in helping the Government create solid programmes and then pushing donors to fund the projects rapidly, said the Special Advisor.

With most donors planning their spending years in advance, many are adverse to last-minute changes, he noted.

“So we have to push them to be flexible and change their budgets to support the urgent new programmes with the Government,” he said. “This makes us a bit unpopular with the donors, but it is important.”

Another priority of UNAMA is to ensure that donors discuss new programmes not only with the Government but also with each other to prevent duplication of efforts.


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