Administrator discusses programme issues with UNDP Afghanistan staff

UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis said the UNDP Country Office (CO) in Afghanistan should be positioned to both act as the leader of the recovery cluster and plan and implement long term development and capacity building for sustainable progress in Afghanistan.
In the first of what is to become a series of video conferences linking UNDP HQ in New York and key country offices around the world, Mr. Dervis and a team of his close advisors, discussed various issues surrounding UNDP’s programme delivery with the senior management and staff of the CO in Afghanistan.

Describing the Afghan CO as “one of the two to three flagship offices” of UNDP operations around the globe, Mr. Dervis was particularly interested to know about the status of economic recovery and project implementation procedures in the country.

Ameerah Haq , Deputy SRSG, UNAMA, UNDP Resident Representative and Resident UN Coordinator in Afghanistan explained in the course of the discussions that Afghanistan was at an interesting juncture. Having successfully completed the Bonn process and established the mechanisms for democratic governance, Ms. Haq said the Afghanistan Compact, agreed with the international community at the London conference in early February this year, had set the benchmarks of development for the next five years and all efforts were geared to achieve the goals listed in the Compact.

Responding to a query from Mr. Dervis, Ms. Haq said the security situation had severely hampered the realization of hopes that were nourished on the thinking that Afghanistan could serve as an effective land bridge for increasing regional trade and that now the best hope for economic recovery was the agro-business sector.

Anita Nirody, the acting Country Director, UNDP CO in Afghanistan, told Mr. Dervis and his team that, UNDP had reactivated its operations in Afghanistan in 2002 after the years of war and that the CO was steadily moving from small scale projects to a long-term, comprehensive programmatic approach to development in Afghanistan.

Sitara, Assistant Country Director, UNDP CO Afghanistan, listed the challenges in project implementation, including a lack of capacity on the part of the implementing partners and the issue of gender discrimination, which, she described as a possible impediment to Afghanistan’s realization of its development potential.

Mr. Dervis was also briefed by Raz Mohammad Sadiq, Programme Management Analyst, on the state of the funding of projects and on relations with donors.

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