The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide human resources to develop peacebuilding tools to improve development activities through ensuring more appropriate engagement in the fragile and conflict-affected country (FCAS) of Afghanistan. The impact of the technical assistance (TA) is strengthened capacity of the government of Afghanistan. It is aligned with the Afghanistan National Development Strategy Capacity Development Strategy. The outcome of the project is that conflict-sensitive approaches are applied to ADB-financed development activities. The project will have two outputs, (i) peacebuilding tools specific to the Afghanistan context are developed to improve development activities; and (ii) project management units (PMUs) apply conflict-sensitive approaches.
Under Output 1, the project will engage consultants to consult with various stakeholders to map FCAS initiatives in Afghanistan. With consultation of stakeholders, PMUs and project staff, the consultants will develop peacebuilding tools for use in ADB-financed activities in Afghanistan. The peacebuilding tools will include an analytical method to assist project team leaders and social experts understand the local context and identify potential risks to implementing development projects that are linked to social conflicts. Use of the peacebuilding tools will raise awareness of those working on development activities so that they may identify potential unintended consequences which might arise and can develop mitigation measures to address and avoid those risks. Presented in matrix format, the tools comprise a series of issues and questions to help identify the potential for social conflict in fragile or post-conflict situations. They also help to identify opportunities for building peace and social cohesion within the context of particular development projects. A knowledge product will also be developed to share lessons learned and serve as a roadmap to replicate conflict-sensitive approaches by the Government of Afghanistan.
Under Output 2, consultants will work to strengthen the understanding and sensitivity of PMUs so that they may apply the peacebuilding tools. This will necessitate the use of technology to increase information awareness and sharing for improved decision making, planning and monitoring. The project will support capacity building to improve cross- and intra-departmental and agency sharing of project information through a geographic information system as a component of government's management information system. This supports the Afghanistan National Development Strategy Capacity Development Strategy to (i) prioritize technology to improve the efficiency of government and other organizations, (ii) design ways to overcome distance and terrain, (iii) upgrade processes where modern technology would be more effective, (vi) overcome rural and urban disparities and barriers to women's education, and (v) facilitate affordable communications.
PROJECT RATIONALE AND LINKAGE TO COUNTRY/REGIONAL STRATEGY
FCAS countries face more obstacles to successful implementation of development operations than non-FCAS countries do. ADB is committed to support state-building efforts and to applying conflict-sensitive development approaches, strengthening human and financial resources for conflict-sensitive operations, adopting flexible business processes within appropriate risk frameworks, and developing institutional capacity to address fragility. Research has found that infrastructure needs are important in fragile states, and noted that infrastructure investment can put in place what is lacking or has been destroyed and can serve to create community cohesion to leverage good governance and increase the accountability of authorities. As ADB development initiatives are implemented in cooperation with governments of its developing member countries, ADB is well-positioned to build capacity and help mainstream conflict-sensitive approaches and appropriate development activities in states of fragility.
A conflict-sensitive approach refers to the ability of an organization or an intervention to (i) understand the operating context; (ii) understand the interaction between an intervention and the operating context; and (iii) act on the understanding of this interaction to avoid negative effects and to maximize positive impact for peacebuilding and development. The ability to apply conflict-sensitive approaches to development reflects an institution's capacity to understand both the context in which development activities occur and the interaction between the intervention and the context, and to act upon this understanding to avoid negative impacts and maximize positive ones.
The Afghanistan, a founding member of the g7+, is considered to be an FCAS country. The country is perceived to have low transparency and accountability in governance, high degrees of political and security risk and tremendous uncertainty about the future. Causes of conflict and fragility in Afghanistan include political and security instability, regional/tribal affiliations, power and socio-economic imbalances, limited function of civil society, and weak systems of governance and oversight. In 2014, Afghanistan was classified as not free in the areas of global political rights and civil liberties, ranked low for press freedom, and at the bottom of Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index. It is one of the two least peaceful countries in the world, and its investment environment is discouraging.
In addition to the low-intensity, lingering conflict, the institutional and financial resource base of the country is fragile. This fragility, characterized by weak administrative and technical capacity and public finance constraints, is largely attributable to historical processes resulting from ethnicity, political interference in departmental functions, and a tendency to misappropriate organizational resources, all of which are by no means unique to Afghanistan. As in other post-conflict and fragile states, these factors constrain the institutionalization of effective public service delivery including security, law and order, and justice.
Since ADB resumed its assistance to Afghanistan in 2002, it has provided around $1.0 billion for lending programs and approximately $3.0 billion in grant assistance to Afghanistan. Despite these contributions, economic growth has not resulted in poverty reduction in Afghanistan, and one-third of the population of Afghanistan still live below the poverty line. An enhanced approach is needed in promoting development in Afghanistan. Contrary to most other developing member countries with which ADB works, Afghanistan is a state of fragility. In states of fragility, political instability undermines economic growth and productivity; discourages physical, human and social capital accumulation; and hinders progress towards inclusive economic growth. Resistance to institutional change necessary to devolve power and create systems of accountability undermines development efforts and is a key development challenges. Institutional change in FCAS environments may take up to 30 years to achieve.
An assessment of ADB's capacity to deliver FCAS-sensitive project financing in complex, politicized, and insecure operating environments found the following: (i) when conflict-sensitivity is not integrated throughout the entire project cycle, project outcomes are compromised and significant implementation delays can ensue; (ii) when ADB and client governments are not aligned in their support for conflict-sensitive project financing, this can be an early indication of resistance to project goals; (iii) when potential project spoilers are not identified and managed from the start, through inclusive enough' coalitions, they may cause conflict during project implementation; (iv) when project risk assessment and mitigation strategies are not regularly updated and grounded in the local context, critical conflict risks and peacebuilding opportunities may be missed; and (v) when project feedback loops do not include mechanisms to gather information from a balanced range of project stakeholders, throughout the project cycle, the risk that project resources will be misdirected increases.
ADB's country partnership strategy 2009-2013 for Afghanistan identified strengthening governance to be one of four priority sectors, with gender and development, governance, and private sector development being priority cross-cutting themes. It noted that ADB investments either did not include sufficient amounts or poorly targeted technical assistance. As a result, ADB scaled up its intervention in these areas and is providing additional technical assistance in environment and climate change, financial management, gender, and social safeguards. However, the 2014 midterm review of ADB's Strategy 2020 highlighted the importance of ADB's support to FCAS countries and called on ADB to be flexible, understand the local context, make long-term commitments, and ensure country ownership when helping FCAS countries deal with their unique challenges.
The Government of Afghanistan has requested assistance to strengthen its approach to conflict-sensitive programming. In response, ADB designed this TA to support the Afghanistan National Development Strategy Capacity Development Strategy in accordance with the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States. It is designed to assist the state building efforts of the Government of Afghanistan through provision of analysis, tool-development, policy advice and assistance in strengthening the capacity of project management units implementing ADB-financed activities to apply conflict-sensitive approaches. This TA builds on the High-Level Forum on Building Resilience to Fragility in Asia and the Pacific, held in June 2013 and supports recommendations made in the midterm review of Strategy 2020.
Strengthened capacity of the government of Afghanistan (Afghanistan National Development Strategy Capacity Development Strategy, 2011-2014)
The social and peacebuilding technical assistance and training will be provided by four individual consultants. A consulting firm will be recruited on a Quality- and Cost-Based selection basis to provide of two consultants and GIS services. Consulting inputs will be recruited in accordance with the Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2015, as amended from time to time).