Subscribe: Eldis Afghanistan newsfeed
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
afghan  afghanistan  aid  conflict  countries  development  education  government  international  paper  report  security  women 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Eldis Afghanistan newsfeed


One of the Eldis RSS newsfeeds on major development issues

Copyright: Copyright ©2013 Eldis, Sussex

Getting the fundamentals right. The early stages of Afghanistan’s WTO accession process

29 Nov 2007 03:32:45 GMT

This paper looks at how Afghanistan can give itself the best possible chance of achieving WTO accession in a way that supports its efforts to develop sustainably. It argues that in order to develop a fair accession package for Afghanistan, the following commitments must be made by those involved in the process:

  • international donors must provide vital technical assistance, poverty and social impact analysis. This will assist Afghanistan in negotiating and adapting to WTO membership that supports its development needs
  • the government of Afghanistan should maintain the policy space needed in order to achieve its development priorities
  • donor governments should refrain from making excessive demands of Afghanistan during the accession process

Suggested amendments for future WTO accession negotiation for less developed countries (LDCs) include:

  • the WTO should develop a fair and objective system that will enable LDC accession packages to reflect the development needs of the acceding country, rather than the demands of Working Party members
  • LDCs should be entitled to the full benefit of all Special and Differential Treatment (SDT), all extended implementation periods, and all exemptions enjoyed by founding member LDCs
  • in order to ensure that such a system is actually implemented, far greater transparency is required and influential Working Party members should take their share of responsibility for ensuring a fair outcome from negotiations
  • no acceding country should be required to enter into accession negotiations until thorough and independent poverty and social impact analysis has been undertaken

Economic and social rights in Afghanistan II: August 2007

19 Oct 2007 03:34:26 GMT

The Government of Afghanistan is failing to fulfil the core economic and social rights of the Afghan people, according to this new report by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). The report is the second of its kind by AIHRC and the UNHCR and is based on the 2006 human rights field monitoring activity conducted between January and December 2006. The survey included over 11, 000 interviews in 32 out of 34 provinces of Afghanistan, paying particular attention to vulnerable groups and people living in remote areas, as well as some returnees.

In line with the conclusions of 2005 Economic and Social rights report, the report finds that despite its efforts, the Government has not yet met its minimum obligations to deliver economic and social rights under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). In particular, it highlights shortcomings in the following areas:

  • Essential food/economic vulnerability: findings confirm an alarming level of chronic or transient food shortages among interviewees with only 37.7% of interviewees stating that their household has a stable income source
  • Essential primary healthcare: although primary health care facilities were available for the majority of interviewees, a significant number did not use them because of lack of physical accessibility
  • Housing: although most interviewees lived in inherited houses, over a third face problems with their property, such as habitability, security of tenure and affordability. Lack of housing features as a key obstacle to return and reintegration returnees.
  • Access to water: access to water is the second most critical issue presented by interviewees , and related and over half were affected by lack of access to safe drinking water (52.2%).

The report concludes with a number of general recommendations for the Afghanistan Government, as well as specific recommendations relating the major problem areas outlined above.

Afghanistan opium survey 2007

18 Sep 2007 11:26:08 GMT

This paper summarises the results of the Afghanistan Opium Survey for 2007. The survey reveals a dramatic increase in poppy cultivation in 2007.

Primary findings of the report include:

  • Afghanistan cultivated 193,000 hectares of opium poppies, an increase of 17% over last year
  • the amount of Afghan land used for opium is now larger than the corresponding total for coca cultivation in Latin America (Colombia, Peru and Bolivia combined)
  • the country is now divided between opium-free provinces and those with rising poppy cultivation in centre-north Afghanistan, despite massive poverty, opium cultivation has diminished
  • the number of opium-free provinces more than doubled, from 6 last year to 13 in 2007
  • in 2007 around 70 percent of the country’s poppies were grown in five provinces along the border with Pakistan

The report draws the following conclusions from the data:

  • opium cultivation in Afghanistan is no longer associated with poverty
  • opium cultivation in Afghanistan is now closely linked to insurgency
  • the Taliban are again using opium to purchase arms, logistics and to pay militias

The paper argues that the opium problem cannot be contained solely by counter-narcotic measures, nor can counter-insurgency disregard the threat posed by drug-related funding to terrorists. The paper recommends the following measures for dealing with the opium trade:

  • higher rewards awarded to non-opium farmers including priority programs (hospitals, schools, water and power) which should be disbursed quickly in amounts proportional to the progress made towards achieving an opium-free status
  • higher risks for opium farmers by undertaking a more honest and vigorous eradication programme
  • setting a target to make half of the country opium free
  • NATO should help with blocking the two-way flow of imported chemicals and exported drugs
  • the Afghan government and foreign troops must be coherent on drug policy by weeding out corruptive practices which fuel the opium trade
  • more resources are needed to enhance the integrity of the justice system
  • international governments should support the commitment by the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran to work towards the joint realisation of physical barriers to block smuggling, increase law enforcement, run joint operations and share intelligence

Cops or robbers? The struggle to reform the Afghan national police

07 Sep 2007 09:41:23 GMT

This paper provides an overview of the police sector in Afghanistan and assesses efforts to reform the Afghanistan National Police (ANP) since 2002. It identifies five key issues that must be addressed if the objective of creating an effective ANP is to be achieved.

The author argues that Afghanistan has never had a very strong or effective civilian police force. The challenges facing police reformers include a lack of internal controls in a corrupt institutional environment, training and mentoring whilst there are high levels of illiteracy, and weak coordination between security pillars such as the police and justice. In addition, the failure of the government and the international community to develop and implement an effective strategy for reforming and strengthening the judicial sector will also have an impact on police reforms.

If police reform is to succeed in Afghanistan, the government, the US, and the European Union Police Mission (EUPOL) mission will need to address five key issues: 

  •  develop a shared vision and strategy for the ANP 
  •  replace Security Sector Reform pillars with an integrated and comprehensive rule of law strategy 
  •  make donor assistance conditional on comprehensive Ministry of Interior reform 
  •  prioritise quality of police over quantity 
  •  prioritise fiscal sustainability of the security sector

A matter of interests: gender and the politics of presence in Afghanistan's Wolesi Jirga

03 Aug 2007 01:31:01 GMT

Why have women not generally used their newfound political influence to promote their gendered interests in Afghanistan? This paper contends that, in spite of women’s sizable presence in Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga (lower house, WJ), the representation of women’s gender interests remains minimal. The author assesses why this might be the case, and suggests ways in which these interests might be more substantively raised in the future.

The paper primarily explores the ways in which women’s gender interests have surfaced in parliament, if at all, during the last 18 months. In addition, it examines the effect of the system of reserved seats for women on the representation of these interests. Findings include that:

  • the practice of fast-tracking women into the legislature through affirmative action has, in some way, affected their perceived legitimacy in office
  • women’s gender interests have not been substantively represented in parliament – there are particular obstacles preventing women and men from raising these interests

The author makes the following suggestions as to how women’s gender interests may be more effectively raised within parliament:

  • reserved seats
  • issues based groups
  • “downwards” accountability
  • mainstreaming of gender training
  • harmonisation of legislation on women’s rights
  •  women in the Executive/Supreme Court

The U.S response to precarious states: tentative progress and remaining obstacles to coherence

31 Jul 2007 05:01:22 GMT

This paper evaluates the U.S. policy response to fragile states. In tracing the origins of contemporary U.S. foreign policy interests, it highlights changing threat perceptions in the wake of 9/11 and perceived lessons of post-conflict difficulties in Afghanistan and Iraq. It also looks at the preventive efforts to reform and stabilise states at risk of failure.

In spite of declaring fragile states as a threat to international security and global development, the Bush administration is still struggling to craft the strategies and policy instruments to help reform and reconstruct failed states. The paper contends that improved U.S. performance in prevention, crisis response, and long-term state building after conflict will require a more integrated approach that goes well beyond impressive military assets to include major investments in critical civilian capabilities.

Ingredients for a more successful approach include: 

  •  embracing prevention as an operating principle; achieving a common vision about the goals of U.S. action 
  •  establishing criteria and methods for determining when and where to engage 
  •  clarifying interagency leadership within Washington and in the field 
  •  improving civil-military planning coordination 
  •  developing a standing civilian surge capacity and relevant technical skills 
  •  providing significantly higher funding to support U.S. civilian engagement in failing and post-conflict states.

Rethinking insurgency

19 Jul 2007 02:57:54 GMT

This report argues that the United States military must rethink its counter-insurgency methods. It claims that current strategies in Afghanistan and Iraq are based on Cold War era nationalistic insurgencies, rather than the complex conflicts which characterise the post-Cold War security environment.

The author emphasises that contemporary insurgencies differ in their strategic context, structure, and dynamics to insurgencies of the past. Most notably, they involve a multitude of actors including ‘third forces’ (armed groups which affect the outcome, such as militias) and ‘fourth forces’ (unarmed groups which affect the outcome, such as international media), as well as the insurgents and the regime. These insurgencies, it is argued, are more like a violent and competitive market than war in the traditional sense where clear and discrete combatants seek strategic victory.

The paper suggests that the United States' goal should not be the defeat of the insurgents by the regime (which may be impossible and which the regime may not even want), but the most rapid conflict resolution possible. It argues that the US should only undertake counterinsurgency support in the most pressing instances and as part of an equitable, legitimate, and broad-based multinational coalition.

The author concludes by outlining three distinct insurgency settings that American strategy for counterin-surgency should recognise,  each of which demands a different response:

  • a functioning government with at least some degree of legitimacy which is suffering from an erosion of effectiveness but can be “redeemed” through assistance
  • no functioning and legitimate government, where a broad international and regional consensus supports the creation of a neo-trusteeship. In such instances, the United States should provide military, economic, and political support as part of a multinational consensus operating under the authority of the United Nations
  • no functioning and legitimate government and no international or regional consensus for the formation of a neo-trusteeship. In these cases, the United States should pursue containment of the conflict by supporting regional states and, in conjunction with partners, helping create humanitarian “safe zones” within the conflictive state

Education under attack: A global study on targeted political and military violence against education staff, students, teachers, union and government officials, and institutions

29 Jun 2007 09:36:42 GMT

The deliberate use of force on educational institutions, students, teachers, academics, education trade unionists, education officials are on the rise globally. The worst-affected are countries that are witnessing ongoing conflict. The paper finds that the targeted violence - which is often for political, military, ideological, sectarian, ethnic or religious reasons - disrupts and undermines the provision of education, access to education and the quality of education in the following ways:

  • pupils and staff stay at home because of fear of further attacks
  • pupils and staff flee the area or country for fear of being targeted
  • buildings, materials and resources are destroyed or damaged
  • forced recruitment or voluntary enlistment of child soldiers prevents children from going to school
  • physical removal by abduction, detention or disappearance prevents teachers and students from going to school or university
  • murders and assassinations deny students their teacher and they may be irreplaceable in some areas
  • psychological trauma, fear and stress, caused by any of the above, hinder learning and teaching, affecting attention, motivation and attendance of both students and staff

The study suggests that understanding the impact of such attacks is crucial to attempts to achieve Education for All given that up to 40 per cent of the 77 million or more children in the world who are not attending school can be found in countries affected by conflict. It argues that traditional policies for preventing attacks such as providing armed guards or escorts to school or giving weapons training to teachers are inadequate and calls for the international community to take greater responsibility in pressing parties in conflict to end attacks on education. The paper recommends that the international community can do this in three main ways, by:

  • widening the implementation and application of human rights instruments
  • using aid and trade deals as leverage
  • supporting and raising the profile of international solidarity campaigns that highlight the issues

Other recommendations include:

  • working to embed protection of teachers and academics within human rights law and focusing application of existing instruments on protection, for schools, colleges and universities and the education process
  • creating student-friendly, inclusive educational institutions, run transparently and free from sectarianism and political interference and advocacy work with armed parties and local communities
  • setting up a global system for monitoring violent attacks on education, including attacks on teachers and academics
  • establishment of a publicly accessible, global database to keep track of the scale of attack, types of attack, perpetrators, motives, impact on education provision and the nature and impact of prevention and response strategies
  • working with governments of conflict-affected states to develop mechanisms to protect threatened people associated with educational institutions
  • to develop ways to support the continuation of education in alternative places or via alternative methods and media in areas under attack
  • to develop ways to support the continuation of the work of academics in exile for the education system under attack

The impact of conflict on infant immunisation coverage in Afghanistan: a countrywide study 2000-2003

20 Jun 2007 02:09:23 GMT

This paper assesses the impact of conflict and resource availability on the provision of infant immunisation services. It evaluates the progress and changes in immunisation coverage in Afghanistan using data from 331 districts across 7 regions of Afghanistan between 2000 and 2003.

The paper finds that the number of districts reporting immunisation coverage increased substantially between 2000 and 2003. Progress in Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) immunisation coverage was observed in all seven regions, although satisfactory coverage of 80 per cent remained unequally distributed. Progress was greater for BCG and Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus than Measles.

The authors suggest that the high degree of progress in infant immunisation coverage in Afghanistan can be explained partly by increased donor support, which intensified in 2001, as well as the country’s political commitment to the immunisation programmes. The paper concludes that although progress was observed in all 7 regions, geographic inequalities in these improvements remain a cause for concern. Security within a country is an important factor for affecting the delivery of immunisation services and coverage in less secure regions failed to increase from 2000 to 2003.

Suicide bombing operations

18 Jun 2007 02:14:49 GMT

This document analyses the record of suicide bombing that took place in different parts of the world during the last decades. It particularly focuses on case studies of attacks in Iraq, Chechnya, Sri-Lanka, Afghanistan and Palestine.

The authors argue that the current threat of bombing has become a rapidly growing global challenge. Suicide bombing tactics are employed today as a prime technique by many insurgent groups, operating in different parts of the world, and fighting for entirely different reasons and diverse objectives. This paper aims to improve understanding of suicide bombing, and in doing so, contribute to efforts of combating the phenomenon. 

Key points in the discussion include:

  • the question of whether suicide bombing is a tactical means of asymmetric warfare
  • the current media focus on recruitment women as suicide bombers despite the low numbers of women suicide bombers (in Iraq)
  • the use, by insurgency groups such as al-Qaeda, of a specialised command structure dealing with suicide bombing, which is resulting in a higher success rate in general recruitment and training of suicide bombers
  • the failure of even strong and capable governments or the security sector to fully immunise themselves from suicide attacks

Afghanistan - an assessment of conflict and actors in Faryab province to establish a basis for increased Norwegian civilian involvement.

24 May 2007 02:02:52 GMT

Norway has had an extensive development assistance programme in Afghanistan since 2001, as well as being involved in military activities as a member of NATO. In 2006, a decision was taken to channel more of Norway’s resources to Faryab province, in northern Afghanistan, where Norwegian forces are concentrated and where Norway heads the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). This paper details the findings of a conflict assessment of Faryab province, which was conducted in order to establish a foundation for this increased involvement.

The paper draws the following conclusions about current PRT assistance in Faryab:

• PRT has exerted a positive influence over the provincial and communal security situation in Faryab. However, there is a need for an exit strategy to transfer responsibility to the Afghan army and police force

• more needs to be done to ensure a clear separation between the PRT’s security and humanitarian mandates, including provisions that diplomatic/development staff, the police and legal advisers operate independently of the military forces

• Norway should seek to avoid Faryab becoming an exclusively ‘Norwegian province’, by encouraging involvement of other donors, continuation of national programmes, funding for national and international NGOs and support for Faryab-based CSOs and initiatives

• governance needs to be a major focus in the Norwegian engagement in Faryab. This implies open debate with Afghan government at all levels, as well as coordination with multilateral agencies and donors

• warlords and regional military commanders still have substantial influence in the province, although the main military-political organisation appears to be moving towards becoming a political party

• humanitarian and development assistance is required to address major needs such as water provision and job creation. However, this assistance must be carefully planned to avoid generating new conflicts

• there is an urgent need to mitigate the effects of drought and to carry out a regional assessment of prospects of environmental change, and possibilities for reducing its

• support for education should balance quantity and quality and should move towards a more long term approach.

Based on all the above points, the report concludes that there is a need for a strong Norwegian governmental presence in Faryab, to achieve objectives and ensure a higher degree of continuity. It argues that the following points are essential to improving governance in the province:

• longer-term contracts for staff are needed to build trust and dialogue
• people must be involved in defining, deciding upon and controlling the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance
• non-corrupt and transparent practices must be followed in Norwegian funding and delivery

Finally, the paper argues that there is a need for more in-depth knowledge on a range of issues and presents a list of indicators that could be followed by Afghan researchers/surveyors to facilitate a continuing conflict assessment. It  describes a number of alternative scenarios could be developed for the future involvement in Faryab.

Principles and pragmatism: civil-military action in Afghanistan and Liberia

15 Apr 2007 11:00:00 GMT

This study looks into civil-military relations in conflict and post-conflict countries. The paper focuses on Afghanistan and Liberia and is intended to assist policymakers and practitioners in developing adequate strategies by answering the following questions:
  • what does cooperation between peacekeeping forces and aid agencies entail in practice?
  • what are the strengths and weaknesses of peacekeeping forces in providing civilian aid?
  • what are the risks and opportunities involved for NGOs when cooperating with peacekeeping forces?
  • what opinion do civil society organisations in the countries concerned have about cooperation with peacekeeping forces?

The study discusses:

  • the changing nature of contemporary conflict and the concomitant changes in the humanitarian, military and development domains
  • a definition of key concepts used in current debates on civil-military relations
  • a description of civil-military relations in the current peace missions in Afghanistan and Liberia

The paper makes the following conclusions:

  • the military are key in establishing security and sharing security information
  • the military have better access to dangerous areas
  • in both countries, the dictum ‘as civilian as possible, as military as necessary’ is often not honoured, as the military has provided assistance that could be provided by NGOs as well
  • dialogue, mutual training and exchanging information provide opportunities for collaboration between aid agencies and peacekeepers, but some of these efforts are somewhat disappointing in practice. Diverging interests and cultures, high staff turnover and ineffective meetings undermine proper coordination
  • there are opportunities for peacekeepers and aid agencies to pool their expertise and jointly execute programmes

World Drug Report 2006

28 Feb 2007 12:00:00 GMT

This report, from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, provides an overview of illicit drug trends internationally. Volume One analyses the trends of how drugs are produced, trafficked and used in the world and includes a special thematic chapter on cannabis. Volume 2 provides detailed statistics. The report outlines how 200 million people aged 15 – 64 have used illicit drugs at least once in the last 12 months. Findings show that opium production fell 5 per cent in 2005, including the first decline in production in Afghanistan since 2001. However, the situation in this country remains vulnerable to reversal due to mass poverty and lack of security. The report also highlights the growing importance of Africa for trans-shipments of cocaine and heroin to Europe.

The chapter on cannabis outlines how the health risks associated with the drug have been underestimated. About 9 per cent of people who try cannabis find themselves unable to stop using the drug. It has been linked to precipitating psychosis in vulnerable individuals and aggravating symptoms on schizophrenics. Cannabis can also produce negative acute effects, such as panic attacks, paranoia and psychotic symptoms. The authors argue that, as more potent forms of the drug are becoming increasingly popular, much more needs to be learned about its production, consumption and health effects.

Free, quality education for every Afghan child

23 Jan 2007 12:00:00 GMT

Despite a 500 per cent increase in enrolments in the last six years, more than half of the children in Afghanistan still do not go to school. This briefing paper describes some of the key barriers and concerns, and sets out proposals to increase delivery, improve quality and address inefficiencies in budget allocation and planning.

The paper describes numerous problems that contribute to low enrolment and participation rates:

  • a serious lack of trained teachers, and "ghost" teachers
  • problems for teachers in receiving their wages, including corruption
  • a lack of schools and adequate facilities in formal and informal schools, especially in more remote areas
  • security concerns for both teachers and students
  • informal fees and other schooling costs preventing enrolment
  • inadequate educational materials, textbooks, and teachers.

Furthermore, budget allocation and spending in the education sector by various stakeholders remain largely uncoordinated and opaque, while government processes for allocating and delivering funding result in considerable inefficiencies and waste.

To address these problems, the report recommends that:

  • training of teachers is required immediately, and to meet future increased demand
  • formal and informal user costs should be eliminated
  • a universal school meal programme should be implemented, with the additional aim of addressing 50% malnutrition rates
  • the government should improve its budgeting processes through: moving towards a process of zero-based budgeting, which automatically requires a wider process of consultation; initiating the planning process at the district level on a "needs- and results-based" approach; and adopting a multi-year planning framework
  • provincial education bank accounts should be established for the transfer of budget allocations
  • donors should support the government to rebuild schools and fund recurrent expenditures for at least five years
  • donors, the military and NGOs should coordinate with government to ensure their efforts are compatible with the national framework.

Putting the cart before the horse?: privatisation and economic reform in Afghanistan

03 Jan 2007 12:00:00 GMT

This report discusses the privatisation of Afghanistan’s state owned enterprises (SOEs). The report argues that the privatisation of SOEs may be premature as other economic reforms need to be implemented prior the selling of state assets.

The report argues that the government should address other structural reforms including:

  • adequate investment legislation
  • improved security and infrastructure
  • streamlined and strengthened regulation.

The report argues that improvements in key public goods would add value to SOEs over time and therefore the government should prioritise these reforms before rushing into a privatisation agenda. Other components necessary to implement such an agenda include:

  • clarification of ownership of SOEs
  • transparency
  • public information on Afghanistan’s privatisation agenda
  • more strategic though on the sequencing of economic reforms.

Dealing with spoilers in peace processes

11 Dec 2006 12:00:00 GMT

This report discusses the outcomes of a workshop on how to deal with ”spoilers” in peace negotiations. The report discusses strategies for engaging those groups that oppose the peace process.

The report summarises the following discussions from the workshop:

  • an introduction to 'spoilers' and the challenge of non-state actors for international cooperation
  • constructive approaches to dealing with spoilers with examples from Sri Lanka, Macedonia, and Nepal
  • approaches for dealing with different types of actors such as war veterans in Serbia and traditional chiefs in Afghanistan
  • a summary of various working groups on instruments to analyse spoiler groups, strategies and risk management

The report concludes the following:

  • there should be a concentration on analyzing, understanding and encountering spoiling behaviour instead of identifying and labeling spoiler groups
  • external involvement should be designed to reinforce and respect ownership
  • there should be an emphasis on capacity building measures, informal dialogue and discussions of peace visions to facilitate trust-building and an inclusive process
  • existing tools may need to be adapted to the purpose of addressing spoiling behaviour
  • strategies should also include a clear risk management policy that is informed by both good international practice and thorough analysis of the concrete case at hand
  • it is vital that strategies combine realism (or modesty) for the short term with a long-term 'vision' for a sequence of goals to be achieved and processes to be initiated

Providing aid in insecure environments: trends in policy and operations

07 Dec 2006 12:00:00 GMT

There is a widespread perception within the international aid community that serious violence against aid workers has increased in recent years. This report presents findings from a two-year study examining aid in insecure environments. It then examines the related trends in policy and operations over the last decade, in particular how perceptions of increased risk to aid operations have affected the development of security measures.

The report highlights how since 1997, the absolute number of major acts of violence (killings, kidnappings and armed attacks resulting in serious injury) committed against aid workers each year has nearly doubled, with the increase growing steeper in the second half of the decade. Overall, there were 408 reported acts of major violence against aid workers over the nine-year period, involving 941 victims and resulting in 434 fatalities.

Despite this apparent rise the authors argue that when the number of victims is compared to the population of aid workers in the field, which increased by an estimated 77% from 1997 to 2005, the global incidence trend of violence against aid workers is found to have risen only slightly.

The report has found that, whereas overall incidents of violence have increased across the globe, the overall relative risk to aid workers has risen only marginally. Moreover, in the most violent cases, such as Sudan and Afghanistan, the number of incidents per aid worker in the field has declined over time. One may conclude from these findings that there has been a net improvement in field security management, and/or that operational polices and practices have become increasingly restrictive. Recommendations are offered for Operational agencies, Inter-agencies, The United Nations and donor governments.

Resolving the Pakistan - Afghanistan stalemate

27 Nov 2006 12:00:00 GMT

This report discusses the history as well as the contemporary situation along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border characterised by conflict around the border lands, the poor development situation in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan and the contemporary conflict and the potential for a border settlement.

The report argues that Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the neighbouring regions would all benefit from a recognised open border between the two countries. Such a border would clarify that all Pashtuns have rights as citizens of one or another state and would enable them to communicate, trade, and develop both their economy and their culture in cooperation with one another. Such a settlement would strengthen democracy in both states and facilitate both Pakistan’s access to Central Asia and Afghanistan’s access to the sea. It would lessen domestic ethnic tensions and strengthen national unity in both states. It would, however, require difficult internal changes in both countries, a reversal of the hostility that has predominated in relations between the two governments for sixty years, and credible international guarantees.

To achieve this end the following are required:

  • a process of reforming the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan which includes integration into Pakistani national politics and administration
  • the recognition by Afghanistan of the international border
  • assured access by Afghanistan to Pakistani ports and transit facilities
  • the maintenance by both countries of open borders for trade, investment, and cultural relations
  • agreement by both countries and by India to keep the India-Pakistan dispute out of Afghanistan 's bilateral relations with both
  • agreements on both sides to cease supporting or harbouring violent opposition movements against the other party

Managing aid dependency project, donor coordination and good governance.

14 Nov 2006 12:00:00 GMT

Donor coordination, and its more formal expression in the 'Harmonisation and Alignment' agenda, has been the focus of increasing attention in aid debates. This paper takes a critical look at these recent trends, and assesses two alternative but complementary approaches to donor coordination:
  • the first has mostly been led by donor countries at the international level, and is associated with the work of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD, recently enshrined in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, which is the focus of this paper’s consideration of the international level
  • the second is based on country-level coordination initiatives in individual countries, where the role of recipient governments has been more significant. The discussion is based on the experiences of three recipient countries (Tanzania, Mozambique and Afghanistan), which in recent years have tried to shift the terms of the aid relationship by putting in place mechanisms to better manage or regulate aid inflows

The case study examples illustrate how, when recipient governments take the lead, donor coordination can be delivered at country level, and can bring about limited but significant improvements in institutions and governance.

However, the paper observes that donor-led coordination can risk negatively impacting on governance in the recipient country. If coordination strengthens accountability to donors at the expense of domestic accountability, or significantly reduces the scope of recipient governments to make political decisions over policy, it may have long-term negative impacts on governance. Finally, if donors, acting together, promote policies, which are inappropriate to the country context the cause of good governance may be undermined by poor development results.

The authors argue that the key question for donors is how to support recipient leadership in the aid relationship in a way which genuinely promotes recipient capacity and ownership and which also maximises aid effectiveness. Although benefits can certainly be reaped from donor-led coordination exercises, experience suggests that progress on aid effectiveness made in this way will always be limited. There is a risk that donor-led coordination may undermine, rather than support, the emergence of good governance and ownership.

Taking stock: Afghan women and girls five years on

08 Nov 2006 12:00:00 GMT

This research shows that five years after the fall of the Taliban regime the gains made on paper for women and girls are not matched in reality when you look at what is happening on the ground. Set in a table format around key women’s rights issues, this balance sheet draws together a wide range of research and anecdotal evidence collected from national and international sources. In doing so, this report not only aims to provide a resource for agencies working on women’s rights in Afghanistan, but also hopes to raise awareness of the current situation and as such call the International Community to urgent action.

Whilst there have been some legal, civil and constitutional gains for women in Afghanistan over the last five years, there remains a great number of serious challenges to women’s safety and protection; realisation of civil and political rights; and social and economic status that need to be urgently addressed.

The report makes a number of recommendations to donor governments, the international community, the UK government, NATO/ISAF in Afghanistan and the international media.

Beauty queens and wallflowers: currency unions in the Middle East and Central Asia

07 Nov 2006 12:00:00 GMT

Against the background of the theory of optimum currency areas, this paper analyses possible scenarios for establishing a currency union (CU) in the Middle East and Central Asia region.

The paper outlines the theory of optimum currency areas and provides an overview of recent empirical findings on the benefits and cost of membership.

Through statistical analysis based on countries’ GDP, growth rates, and the inter-country similarity of other factors the study then seeks to establish whether some countries are consistently selected at early stages of the process, while others join only at later stages.

It finds that, regardless of which country the CU begins with, some countries are consistently favored as CU partners. These countries include Saudi Arabia, as well as Kuwait and Bahrain. Other countries, such as Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Yemen are consistently seen as less attractive.

Education and the role of NGOs in emergencies: Afghanistan 1978-2002

06 Nov 2006 12:00:00 GMT

In political and social crisis and emergencies the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as frontline service providers is critical, as chronic unrest and fragmentation render the capacity of the state to provide public service ineffective or virtually non-existent. In such situations, resources are often channeled through NGOs that take on quasi-governmental roles in delivering social services, including education.

This report looks at the role NGOs played in the provision of education services to Afghans during the war, with particular focus on the Taliban period and the initial years of the post-Taliban reconstruction.

The paper argues that learning from the experience of NGOs during the Taliban rule can be more widely applied in order to better understand the role of NGOs in the education sector during crisis situations. Some critical reflections include the following:

  • despite Taliban restrictions on girls’ education, consistent and principled engagement with communities on the part of NGOs were effective in overcoming existing negative attitudes towards girls’ education
  • NGOs were able to effectively help communities engage in self-help activities and to temporarily replace the role of government in the provision of education services in many communities
  • the approach taken by NGOs was low-cost, sustainable (at least for the duration of the conflict), respected local socio-cultural norms, and significantly increased the enrolment and retention of girls
  • anecdotal evidence suggests that schooling throughout the crises in Afghanistan provided children with cognitive development, protection, and a sense of normalcy in an unstable environment, promoting psycho-social well being
  • community-based and home-based school models empowered communities to take action to find solutions to their problems, govern their affairs, and become actors in the larger society.

Securing health: lessons from nation-building missions

01 Nov 2006 12:00:00 GMT

This report examines the rebuilding public health and health care delivery systems in nation-building efforts in post-conflict situations. The study examines a comprehensive set of cases, compare the quantitative and qualitative results, and outline best practices.

The study assesses seven cases of nation-building operations following major conflicts: Germany and Japan immediately after World War II; Somalia, Haiti, and Kosovo in the 1990s; and Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. It concludes that two factors increase the likelihood of successful health outcomes:

  • planning and coordination
  • infrastructure and resources.

The report outlines lessons learned from previous post-conflict situations which include:

  • health care is a major contributor to overall post-conflict nation-building
  • improved health delivery is deeply impacted by other key sectors including security, basic infrastructure, education, governance, and economic stabilisation
  • coordination of health efforts is a key challenge during reconstruction
  • health sector reform must encourage long-term sustainability local government assuming substantial responsibility for managing the health sector
  • short-term medical care is valuable, but reforming a state’s health care system requires time and sustained effort by the international community
  • health programs should emphasise outcomes rather than outputs, as a measure of success.

Learning from experience? a review of recipient-government efforts to manage donor relations and improve the quality of aid

31 Oct 2006 12:00:00 GMT

This paper reviews the efforts of five countries seen as relatively successful examples of recipient-led aid policies and donor management. These countries are Afghanistan, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, and Vietnam.

From this review, the paper identifies five enabling conditions that may enable recipient governments to take the lead in establishing aid policies and managing relations with donors:

  • good standards of macroeconomic management and stable economic growth can facilitate forward planning, and minimises policy dislocations necessitated by IMF conditionalities, and contribute directly to the maintenance of good relations with the donor community
  • a history of open and frank engagement between donors and recipients promotes mutual trust and confidence
  • a commitment to reform and/or strengthen public institutions (especially regarding public financial management) can enhance national capacity to identify and address development needs, as well as enabling donors to 'align' to national priorities and strategies, and nurturing the trust of donors on national systems
  • a strong political will and commitment by the recipient government to lead on the development agenda and own the development process is important. It is easier for donors to align to a recipient country’s development plan when country strategies are prioritised and operationalised, and it is easier for recipient countries to lead when their priorities have been identified internally
  • though still very rare, ‘mutual accountability’ mechanisms, intended to extend accountability to donors as well as recipient governments, have assisted in overcoming tensions between donors and recipients

In some of the cases studied, independent monitoring was also an important aspect of developing recipient leadership.

Home-based schooling: access to quality education for Afghan girls

13 Sep 2006 11:00:00 GMT

This paper describes a home-based schooling program in Afghanistan that provides primary education for children in the Kabul, Paktia, Logar and Nangahar Provinces. The program is particularly interesting in a country wracked by decades of war that is redefining its education policies and education system. Can the contributions of international NGOs serve to support this new Afghanistan education system, and especially to support the provision of quality education for girls?

The research finds that home-based schools provide many thousands of children – and particularly girls, who would otherwise be excluded from education - with a culturally acceptable education. Teachers have a vested interest in their pupils’ learning and happiness. They understand the context and can make education relevant to them. Home-based teachers need further training and support but they already possess many important teaching skills and attitudes. As the Ministry of Education expands and strengthens the education system in Afghanistan, the home-based schools offer some indications of positive pedagogical approaches that could be useful, particularly in rural communities. The paper argues that the policy implications in this case are similar to those in other countries where complementary schooling models provide support to yet also introduce new ideas and methods into traditional and often relatively dysfunctional systems.

The article argues that home-based schooling responds to the present needs within Afghanistan. It raises as number of policy recommendations for the Afghan government:

  • where possible, the integration of home-based schools into the government system
  • sustaining and improving home-based schools where they are the only available school
  • improving teacher training and support
  • recognising the "alternative qualifications" of home-based school teachers and finding ways to accredit them.

Afghanistan: uncounted and discounted

22 Aug 2006 11:00:00 GMT

There has been limited research regarding the nature and extent of violence against women in Afghanistan. The service-based research carried out for this report seeks to begin to fill this void. For the purpose of this study, UNIFEM Afghanistan analysed data collected by organisations and agencies working throughout the country. Through this study, UNIFEM seeks to raise awareness about violence against women by shedding light on the types of violence being committed against women, the victims and perpetrators of such violence, the manner in which data is collected on violence against women, and the way referrals are being made.

Some of the report's key findings are:

  • sufficient levels of data regarding the number and nature of violent acts being committed against women is not currently being collected
  • details about victims, perpetrators, occurrence rates, and weapons used were mostly unavailable
  • the focus of research on violence against women is currently largely limited to the victims of such violence. This limited line of inquiry may also reflect a lack of understanding of the multi-layered causes of gender-violence by the organisations currently carrying out such research
  • violence affects women of all ages without regard to marital status, education or employment
  • violence against women is committed by actors within the family, community and State
  • violence begins to affect women at an early age
  • abuse perpetrated by a member of a woman’s family or someone known to her is widespread
  • violence against women perpetrated by an intimate partner appears endemic
  • various forms of psychological violence are used to keep women in a position of subordination
  • at least one woman in four in the sample suffered some form of sexual violence
  • between 30.7% and 43.1% of the sample experienced some form of physical violence
  • the study forms the basis of a lobby for greater accountability from the Afghan Government on the issue of domestic violence.

Education and conflict: research, policy and practice

16 Aug 2006 11:00:00 GMT

This supplement complements the Forced Migration Review issue on education and emergencies – “Education in emergencies: learning for a peaceful future” – published in January 2005. It includes summaries of key presentations from the “Education and Conflict: Research, Policy and Practice” conference convened by UNICEF and Oxford University. It also includes additional contributions from the field.

Contributions include:

  • international agencies involved in delivering education to forced migrants including UNICEF, UNHCR and USAID
  • case studies of Afghanistan, southern Sudan, Liberia, Timor-Leste, Chad, Palestine and Northern Ireland
  • topical pieces on education in fragile states, emergencies, and the education-war interface

Getting to the core: a global survey on the cost of registration and election

23 Jul 2006 11:00:00 GMT

This document is a step-by-step guide to election processes around the world. It explains what measures need to be in place, from voter registration to ballot-box security, and at what price, before the first ballot is cast. The report compares elections in different democratic environments: stable political conditions as in India and Sweden, transitional democracies such as Mexico, and conflict and post-conflict countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti. Ten detailed case studies are described.

The report is a valuable tool for policy makers and election administrators who, faced with tight time-frames and high political stakes, need to clearly understand the relationship between their budgets and the election outcomes.

The report emphasises that in states with a history of multi-party democratic experience, elections are consistently cheaper than in countries where such elections are a new undertaking. However, in emerging democracies, if reconciliation succeeds, dramatic declines in the cost of elections can be expected. For example, the 1993 Cambodian election cost US$45.50 per capita, compared with US$2 per capita for the 2003 election. The report also finds that integrity costs, which are associated with ensuring the security and transparency of an election, are reduced by investment in disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration, and infrastructure development while other electoral costs, related to personnel or the introduction of new technology, may remain constant or even increase.

Going to market: trade and traders in six Afghan sectors

23 Jul 2006 11:00:00 GMT

This document takes as its departure point the legacy of more than two decades of conflict in Afghanistan that has had a destructive impact upon economic institutions, businesses and the infrastructure on which the private sector relies. It reports on insights gained from a series of focused studies of commodity chains in six key sectors. The studies investigated trade routes for the commodities, the number and types of market players, choice of products and the role of the state in setting regulations and standards.

Key points are:

  • great hopes are invested in Afghanistan’s potential as a hub of regional trade. There is a strong case for concentrating on “win–win” measures where there is potential for medium term success, such as with the creation and extension of cross-border zones
  • there are a large number of players involved in Afghan markets, yet many of these are making negligible margins and are trapped at a micro-level of activity. Meanwhile, many markets are dominated by a very few large players at the top, with consequent instances of anti competitive behaviour
  • prices are not freely or competitively set and there is evidence of price fixing by traders and apparently also by municipalities
  • government regulation of markets is bureaucratic, confused, contains many inappropriate and overlapping functions shared by different ministries and hence is often used as a means of rent-seeking by officials. There is no capacity to enforce rules and regulations even when they exist
  • there are high expectations placed on the private sector to help fill the gap left by the opium sector by delivering sustained high levels of growth in an extremely difficult investment environment
  • high levels of GDP growth in the medium and long term will be vital to Afghan reconstruction and development

Lessons in terror: attacks on education in Afghanistan

11 Jul 2006 11:00:00 GMT

This report examines the impact of insecurity on education in Afghanistan, especially on girls’ education. It concentrates on armed attacks on the education system in the south and southeast of the country, where resurgent opposition forces, local warlords, and increasingly powerful criminal groups have committed abuses aimed at terrorising the civilian population and contesting the authority of the central government and its foreign supporters. It also provides a number of recommendations.

In focusing on the nexus between insecurity and access to education, this document seeks to establish new benchmarks for assessing the performance of Afghan and international security forces and measuring progress on the security front. It argues that the benchmarks most often used at present - numbers of Afghan troops trained and international troops deployed, or the number of armed opponents killed - are important, but they do not accurately assess the security situation. What is more important is how much these and related efforts improve the day-to-day security of the Afghan people. The document argues for access to education be made one key benchmark, for the following reasons:

  • on a political level, because teachers and schools are typically the most basic level of government and the most common point of interaction (in many villages the only point of contact) between ordinary Afghans and their government
  • on a practical level, because this benchmark lends itself to diagnostic, nationally comparable data analysis (for instance, the number of operational schools, the number of students, the enrollment of girls) focused on outcomes instead of the number of troops or vague references to providing security
  • on a policy level, because providing education to a new generation of Afghans is essential to the country’s long-term development.

After intervention: public security management in post-conflict societies

04 Jul 2006 11:00:00 GMT

This book collects the results of two conferences during which the perspectives of both providers and consumers of public security management were discussed in the light of lessons learned from past and current post-conflict reconstruction areas.

The transition from interventionist (military) peace-keeping to local (civilian) ownership of public security management is a severe challenge for most peace-keeping operations and their civilian administrators and is a reason for such operations being prolonged at high cost. What is needed is a democratically controlled, systematic and cumulative process which involves confidence-building, legal, cultural (values) and institutional elements.

Topics covered include:

  • post-conflict security arrangements -the role of the international community
  • the international community and state reconstruction in war-torn societies
  • post-conflict security arrangements observations on recent interventions
  • public security management in post-conflict Afghanistan: challenges to building local ownership
  • lost opportunities and unlearned lessons – the continuing legacy of Bosnia
  • the police reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • consolidating the security sector in post-conflict states: Polish lessons from Iraq
  • building local ownership in public security management
  • building local capacity for maintaining public security

From soldier to civilian: disarmament demobilisation reintegration in Afghanistan

04 Jul 2006 11:00:00 GMT

This report sets out to explore the processes of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) within the context of post-conflict peace-building, focusing on Afghanistan. The author investigates the transformation of soldiers to civilians in the aftermath of war. The purpose of the research is to facilitate practical recommendations of DDR to be used in future cases of post-conflict peace-building.

General findings and recommendations include:

  • the DDR process in Afghanistan can be described as a success in relation to other contemporary DDR processes
  • the incorporation of DDR provisions into the Bonn Agreement and the subsidiary decrees contributes to giving an understanding and endorsement of the importance of the DDR process to be prioritised by both international and national actors
  • the dedication and work of the international community show that lessons have been learned through time, but it also shows that DDR is a process under constant development

On the political/strategic level, three general findings can be derived:

  • the DDR programme is firmly linked to broader political frameworks, such as ceasefires and peace agreements, but is insufficiently linked to frameworks for peace-building, recovery and development
  • national ownership of DDR programmes can be critical for an effective, cost-efficient and sustainable execution of DDR, but at the same time potentially damaging to DDR when national and local actors lack the necessary institutional and human resource capacity for, or bona fide commitment to, the DDR programme
  • evidence in terms of fact-finding is critical, not only for the technical and logistical planning of DDR but also for the negotiation of programme terms

On the operational level, one general finding can be derived:

  • targets and timeframes for the planning and implementation of the DDR programme are likely to occur as a result of political controversy, and targets and timeframes are therefore likely to become unrealistic

On the tactical level two general findings can be derived:

  • the importance of public information of both ex-combatants and civilians, and that the inclusion of media assessments into the overall evidence-based planning of the DDR programme is critical for an effective and timely implementation of public information measures
  • community participation is often the key to successful planning and implementation of a DDR programme, but at the same time that community participation does not constitute a success criterion per se, when other social collectives prove equally functional for DDR, or when community structures simply do not exist

Rights and responsibilities: resolving the dilemma of humanitarian intervention

04 Jul 2006 11:00:00 GMT

This paper critically examines attempts to conceptualise the use of military intervention on humanitarian grounds, with a focus on the 'responsibility to protect' framework, and offers discussion of the way forward in light of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the US-led 'war on terror'.

It traces the history of the concept from its post-Cold War origins through to the UN World Summit of September 2005. The paper concludes with a brief review of the challenges that face the international community in moving forward, and the specific contributions that might be made by the UK government.

The paper argues that it is the politically and militarily weaker states of Africa, and the strategically important states of the Middle East, that will likely face the 'threat' of future humanitarian interventions. If these interventions are to be seen as legitimate in the eyes of all states, then they must be carried out within an internationally agreed framework that clearly distinguishes humanitarian needs from imperial actions (or humanitarian actions from imperial interests). The decision to intervene, or not, must also be made by an organisation that is open, accountable and representative.

However, the paper also argues that the international community must start with the responsibility to prevent and the need to protect state sovereignty

The author argues that the UK needs genuine support at the highest levels of government for the 'responsibility to protect' framework and all that it represents

  • progressive policies of prevention
  • all means short of military action exhausted before UN authorised force is used
  • that the interests of the people in need of protection are the only justification for such force
  • a strong commitment to rebuilding a nation after any military intervention

Destroy and profit: wars, disasters and corporations

26 Jun 2006 11:00:00 GMT

This publication addresses some of the key issues and challenges that accompany post war and post disaster reconstruction programmes. The collection of articles in this publication range from analysing the economic and political restructuring of occupied Iraq, the links between war and disaster profiteering in Hurricane Katrina, the Asian Tsunami, Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti, and investment agreements in Central Asia, and show some of the common elements among post war and disaster reconstruction programmes.

The publication highlights that periods following wars, conflicts and disasters offer an opportunity for national and foreign governments, and multilateral agencies to establish new rules and policies for the provision of goods and services, infrastructure development and investment, and to reshape the geographical, economic and political map of a post-conflict country. It also demonstrates how in many cases foreign governments and companies benefit from reconstruction efforts. rather than local and national populations.

Articles in the publication include:

  • "Iraq’s neoliberal Constitution", by Herbert Docena
  • "Accession through the backdoor: how the US is pushing Iraq into the WTO", by Mary Lou Malig
  • "Turbo-charging investor sovereignty: investor agreements and corporate colonialism", by Nick Hildyard and Greg Muttitt
  • "From 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina: war, the 21st century and America’s future", by Tom Reifer
  • "Justice to tsunami victims", by Sarath Fernando.

IDC inquiry on conflict and development: a Christian Aid submission to the International Development Committee

04 Jun 2006 11:00:00 GMT

Conflicts across the world have killed hundreds of millions of people, and displaced, maimed and traumatised many millions more. This Christian Aid submission suggests how the UK can best support peace and post-conflict reconstruction and contribute to a global peace-building agenda.

The submission is in three sections to correspond with the three main areas where the IDC has called for written evidence for this enquiry:

  • how the UK can make its policies more conflict sensitive
  • how the UK can improve its peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction policies
  • where the UK fits in with a ‘global’ peace-building agenda

Case studies are used from Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Angola, Sudan, Uganda, Iraq and Afghanistan, based on the work of Christian Aid and its partner organisations. The submission examines the role of international and regional organisations such as the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union. It also looks at how the UK can effectively contribute, with other major international actors, to the global peace-keeping agenda.

Some key recommendations include:

  • the UK government must ensure that overseas development aid (ODA) does not support authoritarian regimes or impede democratic change
  • the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) should be significantly strengthened and made mandatory
  • the UK should implement the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Companies
  • in ‘transitional’ political situations, the UK government, the EU and other actors must demonstrate their commitment to building accountable and democratic states, by dealing robustly with human rights abuses
  • any judicial proceedings should take account of the interests of victims and work alongside traditional reconciliation processes

Afghanistan, Inc: a Corpwatch investigative report

04 Jun 2006 11:00:00 GMT

This investigative report argues that Afghans are losing their faith in the development experts whose job is to reconstruct and rebuild their country. While the quality of life for most is modestly improved, they were promised much more. Afghans see a handful of foreign companies setting priorities for reconstruction that make the companies wealthy, yet are sometimes absurdly contrary to what is necessary.

The paper observes a number of characteristics about reconstruction efforts:

  • most of the money allocated to Afghanistan never actually reaches Kabul
  • money rarely leaves the countries that pledge it with USAID, with contracts going to American companies who take huge chunks off the top and hire layers of subcontractors who take their cuts, leaving only enough for sub-par construction
  • quality assurance is minimal resulting is collapsing hospitals, clinics, and schools, rutted and dangerous new highways, a “modernised” agricultural system that has actually left some farmers worse off than before, and emboldened militias and warlords
  • lack of consultation with the government agencies
  • deliberate use of warlords and militias in reconstruction efforts has lent them more credibility and power, further undermining the elected government and fueling a Taliban-led insurgency that continues to gain power

The report recommends:

  • reforming the fatally flawed contracting system and subject it to safeguards ensuring accountability and transparency
  • helping the Afghans root out corruption and give them the tools to make decisions on their own behalf

Oxfam GB’s experience with cash for work: summaries of evaluations in Bangladesh, Uganda, Kenya, Afghanistan and Haiti

04 Jun 2006 11:00:00 GMT

This paper gives an overview of Oxfam’s experience with cash for work programmes in five countries as part of their recovery programmes following natural disasters or conflicts. The countries are Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Haiti, and Afghanistan.

For each country and programme, the paper assesses the outcome on the following factors:

  • The aim of the cash for work programme. In Bangladesh, for instance, where floods jeopardised the food security of people in the northern and western regions in 2001, the programme aimed at providing employment to support the normal livelihood strategies of vulnerable households, as well as to stimulate the economy. In Afghanistan, where drought and severe winter snow threatened the Hazarajat region, the aim was to provide cash income prior to the winter to allow vulnerable families to access sufficient stocks of food and other essential items to see them over the winter period
  • How the cash was used. In Kitgum, Uganda, where raids by Karamojong in March 2000 devastated the area, destroyed lives and caused the displacement of thousands of people, Oxfam found men and women spent the money earned in similar ways. The wages were primarily used for purchasing food, kitchen utensils, livestock, seeds and tools, payment of school fees and purchase of school uniforms, and for health care fees
  • Did women cope with the workload. In northern Kenya where a drought between 1999 and 2002 had devastated the region, women had different opinions regarding the workload involved. Bush clearing was deemed the most difficult task, and some felt that tasks such as town cleaning were less physically demanding
  • Household dynamics. In Afghanistan, the communities reacted positively to women earning money on the embroidery project. It seems that men were proud of the women’s contribution to the family income and extremely supportive of the activity. Furthermore, the cash for work programme contributed in women gaining an increase in standing within their households and in their self-esteem
  • Security. In Haiti where floods and political instability threatened the food security of people in the north-eastern region, the programme did not experience any security incidents
  • Was cash appropriate? For all five programs, participants felt that cash was appropriate. In some cases, cash was preferred because it was less conspicuous compared to food rations and so attracted less attention.

[adapted from authors.]

Securing health: lessons from nation building- missions

11 May 2006 11:00:00 GMT

This document analyses the activities that countries, international institutions, and non-governmental organizations undertake in rebuilding public health and health care delivery systems after major conflict. The monograph outlines key principles for the success of such reconstruction efforts and identifies lessons for future nation-building operations.

The findings are based on an examination of seven nation-building cases: two at the end of World War II (Germany and Japan); three in the 1990s (Somalia, Haiti, and Kosovo); and two after September 2001 (Afghanistan and Iraq).

The concluding chapter consists of two core arguments

  • nation-building efforts cannot be successful without adequate attention to health. Improvements in health are deeply interrelated with improvements in other areas of nation-building
  • successful health reconstruction depends on two sets of factors: coordination and planning; and infrastructure and resources

Looking beyond the school walls: household decision-making and school enrolment in Afghanistan

03 May 2006 11:00:00 GMT

This briefing paper explores key demand-related factors influencing decision-making about school enrolment of both boys and girls in Afghanistan.

The paper finds that more than one member of a household is usually involved in an enrolment/non-enrolment/dropout decision. Even in extended families, a child’s father and mother play the prominent roles in the negotiation, which may entail either cooperation or conflict. Multiple reasons usually influence a single decision, with supply and demand issues often interacting.

Parents may desire education for both sons and daughters, but be constrained by a combination of poverty and their fear of negative social pressure, specifically in relation to girls’ enrolment. Considerable variation in demand-side issues exists between households. In relation to gender dynamics, there are families in most communities which are willing to take the social risk and send their daughters to school – at least for the primary years. With regard to resource allocation, many extremely poor households continue to place high expectations on education as a way out of poverty and, rather than require their children to work, they send boys (and to a lesser degree, girls) to school in the hope of a better future.

The paper identifies a number of ways to increase enrolment and encourage student retention:

  • train head teachers and teachers in basic leadership techniques and community organising skills
  • establish active local Parent–Teacher Associations (PTAs) in more communities, and strengthen existing associations
  • provide practical gender training to all teachers and encourage positive community involvement in this area
  • target outreach to children not enrolled in school
  • expand and refine the existing school food supplementation programme.

[adapted from author]

Norwegian NGOs in post-Taliban Afghanistan: review and lessons learned

29 Mar 2006 11:00:00 GMT

The report reviews the policies, programmes and projects of two Norwegian NGOs in Afghanistan, the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee (NAC) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), during the difficult transitional period 2000–04.

Key findings from the report include:

  • in general only minor policy changes took place during the period 2001– 04, which is in part explained by the slow and incremental state-building process that characterised this period as well as the broad organisational mandate applying to the organisations’ work in Afghanistan
  • there is a difference in policy outlook between the Norwegian NGOs and that of their Norwegian donors (Norad/MFA). The former are bound first of all by their organisational mandate and country policies while the latter are bound by the goals of Norwegian development policies as well as foreign policy goals in the region or country in question
  • it is not only the political and security situation in the host country that determines the project portfolio, but also the political priorities among donors in Norway that in turn decide the level and type of funding being made available to Norwegian NGOs in Afghanistan
  • the Afghan reconstruction process has to a large degree been mandated to the NGO sector. More specifically, the state and the NGO sector have chosen a division of labour that, broadly speaking, mandates planning (countrywide and sector-wise) to the ministries and project level implementation to the NGOs following competitive bidding (the NSP is an example of this approach). This division of labour runs the risk of undermining the legitimacy of the Afghan state because the results are credited to the NGO sector.

[adapted from author]

Fostering education for female, out-of-school youth in Afghanistan

27 Mar 2006 11:00:00 GMT

This paper describes the Afghanistan Primary Education Program (APEP) set up 2003 in response to the lack of educational opportunities in Afghanistan for the general population and especially for females. The main aim of APEP is to offer emergency access to accelerated elementary education for out-of-school youth between ten and eighteen years of age, focusing on females. The paper describes the programme strategies and the significant results achieved for female youth.

The paper concludes that student performance indicates that the APEP AL programme was able to overcome traditional gender inequities for the participating female students, assuring them equitable access and quality of service. Although a high proportion of parents have supported their children by lightening their household burden so that they can go to school, time constraints remain a significant hindrance.

The author recommends that it would be beneficial for the APEP programme to widen the AL curriculum to include a broader spectrum of occupational options, with a special emphasis on technical careers, where skilled workers are needed for economic development, and where education or training takes only 1-2 years, as opposed to lengthy university courses of study in medicine, teaching, or engineering.

Reporting the future: a handbook for Afghan journalists

14 Mar 2006 12:00:00 GMT

This manual aims to assist Afghan journalists serving as an explanation in their own language to many of the ideas and concepts behind international journalism. In addition it provides practical guidance on many of the basic techniques of journalism.

To this end there are 12 exercises in the book. Some of them have answers provided at the end, and others either have no correct answers or are designed to be worked on in a study environment. The manual includes a glossary that is intended to serve as a reference to explain and introduce many concepts which may be new to Afghan journalists. Topics covered in this handbook include:

  • international journalism
  • human rights and journalism
  • journalism safety
  • story selection
  • economic journalism

Trafficking in persons: an analysis of Afghanistan

09 Mar 2006 12:00:00 GMT

This study assesses the trends and responses to trafficking in Afghanistan. A combined approach of written survey forms, structured interviews, and a literature review are used to provide information on the issue.The report also documents examples of many forms of trafficking, including the following:Exploitation of Prostitution (forced prostitution and prostitution of minors)Forced LabourSlavery and Practices similar to Slavery (abductions for forced marriage, marriage for debt relief, and exchange of women for dispute settlement)Servitude (sexual servitude and domestic servitude):Removal of Organs (no examples of this form of trafficking is given in this study).The report also includes a range of "trafficking-related" trends. Though these incidents may not constitute "trafficking" as defined in the Trafficking Protocol, they still raise serious human rights concerns and share many causes and possible counter measures with more traditional trafficking practices. Although the bulk of information on trafficking received is internal and among Afghans in neighbouring countries, there have also been cases of cross-border trafficking - Afghanistan as a country of origin, transit, and destination. This report also explores the legal, social, economic, and security environment to establish how trafficking has taken root and to point to early recommendations for addressing the problem.The study also highlights the fact that the role of women and girls as objects for dispute resolution, the power of local assemblies which often apply customary rather than constitutional or civil law, and the limited autonomy of women in marriage decisions, are additional factors that contribute to trafficking and make it difficult to combat.The study makes the following recommendations: Legislation: Create a legal framework ranging from a constitutional prohibition on slavery to laws enforcing the various international agreements to which Afghanistan is a signatory to laws protecting women from the most extreme versions of customary justice.Coordination and dialogue: Coordinate both within the TISA and with regional partners to develop and implement a national action plan.Education and awareness: Manage education and outreach regarding trafficking in persons to target Government officials, traditional leaders and members of the community, paying special attention to decreasing the stigmatisation of victims.Push factors: Ensure that programmes to reduce economic insecurity, including training and education, micro-credit, and food security take into account trafficking risk factors in selecting beneficiaries.Security: Include trafficking issues in security sector reform programmes such as the Afghan New Beginnings Programme.Protection: Strengthen and sensitise the police and courts to address all forms of trafficking and sexual violence. Re-examine cases in which persons now held in jail may in fact be the victims of t[...]

Global humanitarian assistance update 2004 -05

24 Jan 2006 12:00:00 GMT

This update contains 34 charts which aim to provide the latest information and statistics on trends in humanitarian assistance. The document considers where money is being spent, by whom and on what.

The update is divided into chapters focusing on different areas of humanitarian assistance. These include:

  • humanitarian assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan a record of humanitarian assistance to Africa
  • regional shares of humanitarian assistance
  • trends in responses to consolidated appeals.

The paper also discusses how to improve the monitoring of humanitarian assistance and issues of good humanitarian donorship.

Securing Afghan women: neocolonialism, epistemic violence, and the rhetoric of the veil

12 Dec 2005 12:00:00 GMT

This journal article argues that in the wake of the "war on terrorism", feminist analyses of international relations must broaden the concept of security to consider forms of violence beyond the statist security framework of realpolitik. The authors argue that U.S. representations of the burqa rhetorically construct the women of Afghanistan as gendered slaves in need of "saving" by the West, increasing women’s insecurity by promoting various forms of neocolonial violence.

In negotiating a middle ground between poststructuralist and materialist methods, this essay also argues for a feminist postcolonial criticism that will provide a more nuanced understanding of the nature of gender insecurity in the post-cold war world. [the author]

Using local seed systems for agricultural disaster recovery

09 Dec 2005 12:00:00 GMT

In areas affected by disasters such as drought and war, recovering agricultural activity quickly is vital to household food security. Relief seed aid, which replaces seeds lost during disasters, is important to ensure that farmers have adequate quantities of quality seeds of the right variety for the planting season following a disaster.

Bringing together humanitarian and human rights agencies to protect IDPs

09 Dec 2005 12:00:00 GMT

According to the United Nations (UN) there are close to 25 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in around fifty countries. When national governments fail to protect IDPs who should step in? In the absence of a single UN agency with a mandate to assist these people, can humanitarian and human rights agencies work together?

Migrants lack information on UK banks’ remittance services

09 Dec 2005 12:00:00 GMT

Money sent by migrants to their families is the second largest financial flow to the developing world, after foreign direct investment. However, there is little information on remittance products and services available to migrants.  A new project ‘Sending Money Home?’ based in the UK, aims to fill this gap and make money transfers easier for those on a low income.

Peacebuilding: lessons from Afghanistan

06 Dec 2005 12:00:00 GMT

This short document considers the lessons for the first phase of donor intervention to build a new state in Afghanistan. The authors assess a new paradigm for donor intervention in the context of the "war on terror" and the fight to tackle organised crime and drugs.

Recommendations include:

  • training of the newly elected members of Parliament and the Provincial councils should be an immediate priority
  • donors should draw on NGOs’ past project experiences, staff, networks and community acceptance and, in the early transition period, explore the possibility of their inclusion within government plans to assist in capacity development
  • armed forces should only embark on civilian activities upon request of humanitarian actors and in relation to small, quick impact projects.

Understanding markets in Afghanistan:a study of the market in second-hand cars

02 Dec 2005 12:00:00 GMT

This study is the fifth in a series of six case studies that aims to enhance understanding of the role of markets in affecting prospects for growth, and the distribution of the benefits of growth, in Afghanistan. The study focuses on the market in second-hand cars, with the aim of gaining insights into: the experiences of Afghan dealers in the vehicle market; numbers of players; where the greatest margins were made; what connections there were between market players; and what barriers were faced by new entrants.

The findings of the study are:

  • vehicle use has grown dramatically in Afghanistan since 2002 and this growth is expected to continue in the medium term
  • many Afghans rely on vehicles to make a living through provision of private transport services. Availability of affordable vehicles is important for livelihoods and for economic growth
  • vehicles are still used as a form of small-scale investment in the absence of an effective banking system. However, Afghans who have bought vehicles as a store of value may now be facing a reduction in the value of their investment
  • an effective and reliable banking system would provide a sound means of banking that would benefit the broader Afghan economy
  • importers of vehicles were often from traditional trading families with a history of trading different commodities along different routes
  • the ban on import and registration of right-hand drive vehicles appears to have been successful enough to significantly reduce the previously vibrant import of vehicles destined for re-export to Pakistan, suggesting that government regulation can be enforced and can have an effect upon markets
  • there is ample scope for streamlining cross-border procedures, including the process of clearing vehicles through Afghan customs and registration.

The paper concludes that there was a significant amount of trade in second hand cars prior to the 2002 conflict, and the traders involved in this informal transit trade appeared to have substantial experience in trading a variety of goods. With the right incentives they can be enticed into the formal economy and become a legitimate driver of economic growth and private sector development. For this to happen, however, regulations are needed in terms of ensuring quality and safety standards of vehicles. In addition, to ensure sustainability, traders should have greater access to credit, in the context of effective and reliable banking system that enables them to invest effectively.