Answer:- The National Development Strategy (NDS) is the Government of Afghanistan overarching strategy for promoting growth, generating wealth and reducing poverty and vulnerability. It will provide the framework for the development of Government policies, and guide the allocation of resources and programmes towards these goals. The NDS will be prepared in two phases: (i) an Interim NDS will be prepared during 2005 and completed in October 2005; (ii) a Final NDS will be completed in 2006.
The Interim NDS has four components:
(A) Strategy: prepare a national strategy for promoting growth and reducing poverty and vulnerability, that builds on earlier strategies;
(B) Consultation: ensure consultation among key stakeholders on the Interim NDS in 2005, and prepare a plan for a comprehensive participatory process for the Final NDS in 2006;
(C) Overcoming Obstacles: ensure that the NDS takes account of obstacles to it being implemented, and suggests solutions; and
(D) Data: gather and use existing data on the nature and causes of poverty, and develop a plan for gathering any additional data needed for the Final NDS in 2006.
(2) Why is a new National Strategy Required?
Answer:- The Government of Afghanistan prepared a National Development Framework (NDF) in April 2002, and the Securing Afghanistans Future report (with its international partners) in March 2004. In addition, the National Budget Public Investment Programmes provide strategy for some sectors.
These reports provide solid foundations upon which the National Development Strategy (NDS) will build. However, the NDF and Securing Afghanistan were prepared in a very short space of timeâ€“with the result that consultation was hurried, and many individuals within ministries (and beyond) are not aware of them or acting on them.
The National Development Strategy will involve careful consultation with ministry colleagues at all levels, with the private sector, civil society/NGO representatives, and the international community. It is hoped that broader and deeper discussion will result in the best possible national strategy for reducing povertyâ€“and a strategy that is well-understood by many, enjoys greater ownership, and as a consequence influences behavior (the allocation of resources, policy, institutional reform, and the implementation of programmes and projects).
(3) Is the National Development Strategy similar to a PRSP?
Answer:- The Interim NDS will be submitted to the Boards of the World Bank and the IMF in the expectation that it will also meet the benchmarks of an Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy process, developed by the World Bank and IMF in 1999.This may generate additional benefits for Afghanistan in the mid- to long-term. The Final NDS, completed in 2006, will likewise be presented to the Boards of the Bank and IMF, as Afghanistans Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP).
Most Interim PRSPs involve little or no consultation, and move a country about a quarter of the way along the path to a Full PRSP. Afghanistans Interim NDS can be seen as moving at least half-way towards the achievement of a Full PRSP, as it involves substantial consultation over a nine-month preparation period. As a result, the Interim NDS will have greater buy-in and legitimacy, and can be a valuable focus for continuing debate after Parliamentary elections have been held.
(4) What is the difference between the Interim NDS and the Full NDS?
Answer:-The Interim NDS allows for substantial but not comprehensive consultation with Afghan and international stakeholders planned for the Full NDS. Pilot consultations in 6 provinces will ensure that the Full NDS draws on lessons learnt during the Interim NDS.
Secondly, the Interim NDS will be based on available data, but will work to develop a data management strategy to ensure that data gaps are progressively filled, and that additional data guides the Full NDS during 2006.
(5) Who will prepare the NDS?
Answer:-ANDS Working Group is being competitively recruited (April/May) to lead the drafting and consultation processes, overseen by an Inter-ministerial Committee. A national Director reporting directly to the Inter-ministerial Committee will lead the Working Group. The Director will be supported by several national experts (covering Content, Process, and Communications), a translator/interpreter, and a logistics/administration officer. Ministry colleagues will also be identified and asked to serve as Working Group associates. Two international advisers will provide inputs, and several donors/UN may provide in-kind contributions.
(6) What Role will the Inter-ministerial Committee Play?
Answer:- An Inter-ministerial Committee (IMC) will provide oversight to the NDS Working Group. At each stage, the
Working Group Director will present options and receive guidance from the Committee. Committee members will include Minister and Deputy alternates from a cross-section of Government ministriesâ€“including First Vice-President, central policy ministries (Finance, Economy, Foreign Affairs) and Line Ministries.
The IMC will review and approve the initial outline, the first draft and the final draft, before presenting drafts to Cabinet for their final approval.
(7) How will Participation in the Preparation of the NDS be Encouraged?
Answer:- There will be three main ways in which partners will be encouraged to contribute to the preparation of the Interim NDS. Firstly, through four Forums established in Kabul. Secondly, through consultations in six pilot provinces. Thirdly, through an External Advisory Group. In addition, key resources and all drafts will be made available through the Governmentâ€™s website at www.af/nds, and anyone wishing to send comments or inputs to the NDS Working Group will be able to send them by email or in written form.
(7a) Kabul Forums on the NDS
Answer:- Four Forums will be formed to enable a broader cross-section of key stakeholders to contribute actively to the preparation of the Interim NDS. The four Forums are: (i) Government (ministries will be asked to nominate participants);
(ii) NGO/Civil Society (representatives of national and international NGOs);
(iii) Private Sector (representatives of national and international firms doing or planning to do business in Afghanistan);
(iv) UN/Donor (all UN and donor agencies and International Financial Institutions will be asked to nominate participants).
Timing: The Forums will be established in April 2005 and convened from April to June and again from July to September. Inputs or comments can be provided at any time at www.af/nds.
(7b) Provincial Consultations
Answer:- The Working Group will consult with partners and use criteria â€“ including geographical and ethnic representativeness, counter-narcotics focus, etc â€“ to guide the selection of the 6 provinces for pilot consultations.
The Working Group will work closely with the Provincial Development Committees to identify representative individuals who can ensure that the concerns and priorities of ordinary people across the six provinces are heard and taken account of in the preparation of the Interim NDS. Advice will be sought from many stakeholders, including Government, civil society and Shura representatives, donors, UNAMA and AREU. Lessons learnt during these pilot consultations will help strengthen the comprehensive consultation process for the full NDS in 2006.
(7c) External Advisory Group
Answer:- A small External Advisory Group (EAG) will also provide regular inputs into the preparation of the NDS, review drafts and provide comments. The EAG will include a small number of representatives of the donor community, International Financial Institutions, the United Nations and NGOs/Civil Society.
Timing: The EAG will be established in April/May 2005. A draft Outline will be provided to the EAG after the ADF, a first draft of the NDS in July, and a near Final Draft in early October. Additional meetings may be convened as necessary.
(8) Who will Approve the NDS?
Answer:- Drafts of the NDS will be reviewed and approved by Inter-ministerial Committee. The first and final drafts will be
reviewed and approved by the Cabinet.
(9) How will the Preparation of the NDS be Funded?
Answer:- The core costs of setting up the Working Group, holding consultations in Kabul and in pilot provinces, and basic equipment are funded through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF). Donors have also indicated willingness to provide additional resources if they are required.
(10) Will the Millennium Development Goals be mainstreamed into the NDS?
Answer:- The Government is committed to integrating the Millennium Development Goals into the Interim National Development Strategy. Targets will be adapted to the specific context and priorities of Afghanistan, and will strike a balance between ambition and realism. Targets will be designed to stimulate national and local debate and to reinforce resource mobilization.
Intermediate targets will be considered alongside long-term goals, resulting in actionable propositions that could be achieved within the lifetime of the Government. The Government will draw upon the existing report, Opening Doors to Opportunity: Afghanistanâ€™s Millennium Development Goals (see www.undp.org.af/keydocs.htm).
Mechanisms for monitoring progress towards these targets, including the role of civil society organisations, will be discussed in the Interim NDS.
(11) What is the Timetable for Preparing the National Development Strategy?
Answer:- The Interim NDS will be prepared in three phases. Indicative dates for each phase are given below, though these could be revised if necessary:
· Phase 1: Vision, Outline and Issues Paper (April/May 2005)
- Initial consultations at a senior level within central Government will be held in March and April. A Draft paper will be presented after the Afghanistan Development Forum (ADF) in April, setting out a Vision, Outline and Issues for consideration.
· Phase 2: Draft Interim NDS (May-July 2005)
- Consultations on the Vision, Outline and Issues paper will be organized in Kabul with forums representing Government, NGOs and civil society, the private sector and UN/Donors (April-July).
- The Working Group will reflect these inputs in a Draft Interim NDS for review and endorsement by the IMC by early July.
· Phase 3: Provincial Consultations & Preparation of Final Interim NDS (August-Oct)
- Provincial government, civil society and other members of the Provincial Development Committees will be consulted on the draft Interim NDS (July to September) in six locations around the country.
- Consultations on the draft Interim NDS will continue in Kabul through the Government, NGO/civil society, private sector, and UN/donor forums.
- Feedback from these pilot provincial-level and Kabul-based consultations will be reflected in a Final Interim NDS for review by the Inter-ministerial Committee and endorsement by Cabinet by 30 October.
(12) What sort of Data will be used?
Answer:- Recent analyses on available data (NRVA, World Bank, NHDR/UNDP, AIMS) will help:
(v) clarify what data is already available to inform the preparation of the Interim NDS;
(vi) what data is required for preparation of the NDS but which do not yet exist; and
(vii) how can these gaps be filled during the full NDS (2006)-including special attention to the disaggregation of data by sex, age, location and socio-economic group.
Classes of data include:
1. Poverty Profile & Access to Services: use of available community level data on wealth distribution & livelihood security of vulnerable populations (displaced, returnees, disabled, women, children, widows etc.). Consolidation of data on access to & quality of education, health care, water, irrigation & sanitation.
2. Economic Data: analysis of existing economic data such as national accounts, prices, trade patterns, remittance levels & patterns, the size & nature of informal economy, employment figures, market linkages.
3. Environmental Data: analysis of available data on natural resource use and emerging information on the relationship between environment dimensions and growth and vulnerability.
4. Civil & Political Data: draw upon data on human rights awareness and protection, levels of civic education and engagement, voter education, and freedom of the press.
5. Millennium Development Goals: integration of existing Government/UNDP report on Afghanistan progress towards the MDGs, and identification of intermediate targets.
The National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (NRVA) produced by the Government with partners will provide a valuable source of data on rural and urban poverty and vulnerability (www.mrrd.gov.af/vau). The NDS Working Group will collaborate with the Central Statistics Office, which houses the NRVA team, in its collection and analysis of existing data, and work together on the preparation of a strategy in 2005 for addressing data gaps for the full NDS process in 2006.
(13) Which Strategies will be Integrated into the NDS?
Answer:- Existing strategies prepared by Government, and also by the international community, will be used as the foundation for the NDS. Any inconsistencies across strategies will be debated and conclusions reached.
1. The National Development Framework (April 2002)-www.af/gov_conf.html
2. Three successive National Development Budgets (1381/2/3), based on framework laid out in the NDF-www.af/budget.
3. Securing Afghanistan Future, (SAF) which presented Afghanistan expected development needs from April 2004 for the next seven years-www.af/recosting
4. The Berlin Work Plan-www.af/recosting/berlinconference.html
5. The 12 National Priority Programmes (NPPs) - www.af/npp
6. The 16 Public Investment Programmes - www.af/budget
1. Strategic initiatives recently completed by key donors and the United Nations (eg UN Common Country Assessment and Human Development Report) - NHDR: www.mrrd.gov.af/prog/nhdr.htm or www.undp.org.af/psl8.htm;
2. New strategic initiatives underway in 2005 (eg, USAID/World Bank Removing the Obstacles to Growth, UN Development Assistance Framework).
(14) What sort of Obstacles to Implementation of NDS will be Assessed?
Answer:- The consultation process will identify potential barriers to the NDS being implemented successfully and propose actions to overcome such barriers. Illustrative examples include:
1. Economic Challenges: while much has been achieved in the past three years, many Afghans have yet to feel the benefits.
- Growth: What are the drivers of growth in Afghanistan? How can we ensure that growth benefits all Afghans - and reduces inequalities related to gender, socio-economic group, and geographical location?
-Private Sector: How can the private sector be harnessed and employment generated? What economic policies and regulatory actions are needed?
- Absorptive Capacity: What can we do to improve the ability of both the private and public sectors to absorb funding and use it effectively? How can economic analysis be better integrated into decision-making processes, taking account of the estimated Net Present Value of alternative investments?
2. Reducing Vulnerability: although national programmes have been established to protect the vulnerable and promote their ability to participate in and benefit from growth, many remain highly vulnerable.
- Are vulnerable populations adequately identified and protected in current strategies?
- Are national programmes meeting the needs of the most vulnerable? What more can be done to ensure they enhance the productive capacities of the poorest households?
3. Promoting Greater Security: progress has been made in training and equipping the Afghan National Army and the National Police, but insecurity remains a daily reality.
- How can we limit the impact of narcotics on good governance, security, legitimate economic growth, political stability and health care? How can we mitigate the short-term negative consequences of successfully tackling the drug economy?
4. Financial Requirements: the national budgetary processes are increasingly robust, and significant resources have been pledged and delivered by Afghanistan international partners. What needs to be done to lock in international commitment to Afghanistan and avoid donor fatigue?
- Revenue: How can we ensure the state has the ability to collect sufficient domestic revenues to support its operational budget within seven years?
- Predictability: How do we get donors to provide more predictable funding? What steps does the Government need to take in order to promote a shift in funding modality towards programmatic and direct budget support?
- Alignment: What safeguards can be put in place to ensure that the priorities contained in the NDS are fully reflected in the National Budget? How to we promote alignment of external support (donors, UN, military and NGO) with the National Development Strategy?
5. Political Opportunities: the major progress achieved against the political benchmarks set out in the Bonn Agreement presents opportunities to deepen and reinforce Afghanistan democratisation.
- Ownership: How do we increase ownership of the National Development Strategy across ministries, and vertically from the executive to the village level? How can cross-cutting concerns be mainstreamed into the strategy?
- Accountability: Are we promoting mechanisms to hold government accountable to Afghan citizens, including against targets set out in the NDS?
- Managing Expectations: How can progress made so far be better communicated, and high expectations of very rapid improvements be managed?
Obstacles to the implementation of the NDS and how to resolve them will be debated during the consultation process. The above list is illustrative only.
(15) How can we ensure the NDS makes a Practical Difference?
Answer:- The Government is committed to using the National Development Strategy as its overarching framework to guide the promotion of growth and prosperity for all and the reduction of poverty and vulnerability. The NDS will make a difference only if its conclusions inform policy development, the allocation of resources, the reform of institutions and regulatory frameworks, and the implementation of programmes and projects. If not, the NDS will simply add to reports gathering dust on bookshelves.
By working very closely with colleagues within Government at all levels, the NDS Working Group will help colleagues in their understanding of how the conclusions set out in the NDS can be integrated into the way in which their ministries design policies, reform their structures, and prepare and implement their public investment programmes. The policy and resource implications of the Interim NDS need to be centre stage during the preparation of the 1385 National Budget.
Alignment of the Core Budget with NDS priorities relies on Government leadership and commitment. Alignment of the External Budget with the NDS framework requires that donor, UN, NGO and International Financial Institution partners design and implement programmes and projects in accordance with the priorities set out in the NDS. Strong and sustained engagement by partners in the NDS process is the best guarantee that the NDS will be a living document that achieves its shared goals.
16) How can I find out more information on NDS ?
Answer:- For any inquiries please contact our CS-ANDS Secretariat as below,