Forging a working partnership between Provincial Councils and Civil Society lies at the heart of a series of recent UNAMA-backed meetings taking place across the country.
In the latest meeting in Sharan in Paktika province, more than 70 people participated, including members of the Provincial Councils among them the provincial deputy governor, chairperson and secretary, along with representatives of civil society organisations, tribal elders, line department directors and journalists. The gathering provided the opportunity to promote the engagement of civil society organizations in local governance; to build constructive and professional links; and promote participatory and accountable governance in neighbouring Khost and Paktika provinces. Participants also identified common working areas and practical steps ahead, setting up a 10-member committee to draft a Memorandum of Understanding to define and guide future cooperation. Provincial council member and ex-chairperson, Abdul Mobeen Faqirzada, said that working in a defined framework can enable both provincial councils and civil society organizations to effectively combat corruption and harmful traditional practices, and do more outreach for education and conflict resolution. Faqirzada said the meeting was a good opportunity to discuss interdependencies and working relationships. “Without each other’s support, neither the provincial council nor the civil society organizations can play their role effectively,” he said.Civil society organisation representative, Rahim Khan Khushal, said that grass-root level entities are well placed at the district and village level to learn of public grievances and share them with provincial councils for their action.“Today’s event was a good opportunity to discuss common working areas, improve coordination and effectively work for the sake of public interests,” Mr. Khushal added. UNAMA is supporting a series of consultative meetings in Paktya, Paktika, Khost and Ghazni provinces to build professional and effective linkages between provincial councils and civil society organizations. The meeting in Sharan was organized by the UNAMA Field Office in Gardez.