KABUL CITY – The air in the Presidential Palace’s Salam Khana is filled with the music of a well-known patriotic song, which captures the audience’s attention and hearts. The student ensemble of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music is playing the famous song—My country, loving you is my pride —by Abdul Wahab Madadi.
The President and the Chief Executive of Afghanistan, cabinet ministers, and over 400 representatives from the donor community, international organizations, and Community Development Councils (CDCs) from all 34 provinces of the country have gathered at the palace on 25 September, 2016, to inaugurate the Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (CCAP).
Underlining the need for good governance and accountability, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said in his address at the inauguration ceremony: “We will change the culture of governance through rural and urban development councils and will bring fundamental reforms in Afghanistan. Accountability will be the main working principle in the CCAP, and we will eradicate corruption through accountability in Afghanistan.”
The objective of the CCAP, in effect a social contract between the government and CDCs, is to improve the delivery of core infrastructure and social services to participating communities through strengthened development councils. These services are part of a minimum service standards package that the Government of Afghanistan is committed to delivering to citizens.
Haji Hafizullah, 65, a CDC representative from Laghman province, who also spoke at the ceremony, lauded the project’s objective. “In the past our people knew little about the projects that were carried out in our villages [except the ones implemented by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development] and those projects did not always reflect people’s needs and priorities,” he said. “Since the CCAP aims to implement development projects of several ministries, they will be more effective and beneficial.”
The CCAP which will run over four years, is planned to have a total budget of $628 million. At the ceremony, the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank, as the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) administrator, signed a Financing Agreement for a grant of $400 million provided by donors through ARTF. The government is expected to co-finance with $128 million from its own resources. The remaining $100 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA), is expected to be approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors later this month.
CCAP builds ground for stability
The project will support the first phase of the government’s 10-year Citizens’ Charter National Program, and will target one third of the country. In addition, as part of its contribution to urban development, the program will initially focus on four cities—Balkh, Herat, Kandahar, and Nangarhar.
The CCAP aims to reach 8.5 million people in the first phase. The goals include providing 3.4 million people access to clean drinking water; improving the quality of service delivery in health, education, rural roads, and electrification; increasing citizen satisfaction and trust in government; and a 35 percent return on investment for infrastructure projects. It will aim also at better integration of internally displaced citizens, persons with disability, poor people, and women.
“The CCAP represents the National Unity Government’s will to deliver on its promises to the people,” said Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of Afghanistan, at the inauguration ceremony. “It brings a good message of accountability between the people and the government. The program’s success depends on the people’s partnership. The program will facilitate the connection between villages and cities, and provide the grounds for stability. The Citizens’ Charter Program will eliminate the problems of lack of communication between ministries in implementing projects.”