To enhance government transparency and foster development in the province, Herat’s community leaders met with the Governor at a UNAMA-backed meeting last week.
About 70 people, representing civil society, academic institutions and media outlets from around Herat, attended the event. Some participants traveled from remote districts, such as Shindand and Robat Sangi, in this mostly mountainous province populated by rural communities.
Governor Mohammad Asef Rahimi discussed with the leaders the challenges they face and their recommendations on the way forward. These recommendations included, in part, that local government will continue its work on anti-corruption, private sector development, women’s rights and access to information.
“Civil society organizations have a vital role in monitoring government’s activities and in providing recommendations for development,” he said. “Therefore, would like express my commitment to consider these recommendations as vibrant approaches for good governance and service delivery.”
Khalil Parsa, Western Region Civil Society Coordinator, said that the recommendations made by the community leaders are designed to support socio-economic development. “Civil Society will follow up on the government’s response as an important way to build trust between civil society and government,” said Mr. Parsa.
The event was set up to improve dialogue and engagement between civil society and local authorities; encourage greater involvement by women; increase local government transparency and accountability; and maintain effective cooperation and stronger partnership in support of better local service delivery.
“Civil society engagement at all levels of governance and socio-economic development is vital and needs to be strengthened,” said Sayed Saddat, a UNAMA official. “The event helped further communication and cooperation between civil society and local authorities.”
Ariana TV covered the event and broadcast a programme that reached an audience estimated to number in the hundreds of thousands.
UNAMA works with civil society to facilitate their increased role in sub-national governance and to strengthen civil society engagement in socio-economic development. UNAMA also works with the Government and the people of Afghanistan toward accountable governance and an enabling business environment. UNAMA’s governance officials engage with Afghan authorities and the international community to support the implementation of prioritized national development and governance plans and priorities.