On December 28, 2017, the National Advocacy Committee for Public Policy (NAC-PP) held its Second Bi-monthly meeting conference. The objective of the meeting was to finalize the strategies of Sub-Committees on Anti-Corruption, Education, and NAP 1325, and discuss ways forward for NAC-PP with stakeholders from Afghan civil society and the international community.
The event was organized by Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization (APPRO), Secretariat of NAC-PP, following the first Stakeholders’ Conference held on October 12, 2017.
The event was sequenced as follows:
- Presentation of NAC-PP achievements to date and ways forward
- Presentation on the Advocacy cycle and Stakeholders analysis
- Presentation of the Draft strategy of the Anti-Corruption Subcommittee
- Presentation on draft strategy of the education Subcommittee
- Presentation on draft strategy of the NAP 1325 Subcommittee
- Review of Sub-committees’ draft strategies and action plans (Group Work)
43 participants attended the event, including representatives from Afghan civil society organizations (CSOs), academia, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), international donors, and current members of NAC-PP.
The following sections provide summaries of key points from the presentations and the follow up discussion.
NAC-PP achievements to date and ways forward
NAC-PP chairperson opened the event with an introduction of achievements of NAC-PP and its subcommittees since the Stakeholders’ Conference of October 12, 2017. This includes the two meetings with members of each of the three sub-committee mentioned above to review relevant government policies; their objectives, goals and mandates; and conduct an analysis of relevant actors, factors and advocacy mechanisms based on the SWOT analysis model. The Secretariat facilitated the meetings and was tasked to draft sub-committee strategies based on discussions and recommendations form members.
NAC-PP Secretariat (APPRO) further provided three training sessions on the budget process and budget advocacy, evidence-based advocacy, and the policy process conducted for subcommittees on Anti-Corruption, Education, and NAP 1325, in Kabul and Provincial Advocacy Committees in the provinces. At the time of the Second Bi-Monthly Meeting, a fourth training session on legal literacy was planned for the following week. The aim of theses trainings was to provide NAC-PP members with a clear understanding of evidence based advocacy and equip them with relevant skills required for constructively engaging policy decision-makers at the national level.
In light of achievements to date, NAC-PP and its subcommittees envisage to start engaging in implementation of advocacy activities in the first quarter of 2018. More training programs are also planned by the Secretariat of NAC-PP throughout the course of 2018.
Presentation of the Advocacy Cycle and Stakeholder Analysis
The second part of the event was dedicated to a presentation of the advocacy cycle and stakeholder analysis, for members to use during group work and finalize draft strategies. The presentation was complemented by a concrete example of situation assessment (step 1) using evidence form research, based on research conducted by APPRO in 2016 on the situation of women with regards to the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The positioning of sub-committees within the cycle was considered to define their strategic orientation.
Presentation of Draft Strategies of Subcommittees on Anti-Corruption, Education, and NAP 1325
The secretariat of NAC-PP presented individual draft strategies of subcommittees on Anti-Corruption, Education, and NAP 1325. This included an overview of:
- The relevant legal framework for each sector,
- The mission and objectives of each sub-committee
- Relevant actors and factors likely to affect the policy process under each sector
- Priorities for advocacy
- Advocacy mechanisms
Draft strategies built on subcommittee meetings held on November 2nd and 23rd for the Anti-Corruption Subcommittee, and November 13 and December 3 for the Education and NAP 1325 Subcommittees. Comments were also collected in writing from individual members of sub-committees at the national level and from the Provincial Advocacy Committees (PACs) in Balkh, Daikundi, Nangarhar and Takhar, and compiled to produce a first draft strategy for each sub-committee.
Discussion with the Audience
Presentations were followed by a discussion with the audience, in the form of questions and answers. The following points were raised during the discussion:
- Clear Advocacy Mechanism: to ensure advocacy efforts NAC-PP and its subcommittees reach their objectives, clear advocacy mechanism need to be identified for advocacy priorities set under each sub-committee, building on prior identification of relevant legal frameworks and stakeholders. It was underlined the aim of regular bi-monthly NAC-PP meeting is to identify these mechanisms, by learning from, and expand on NAC-PP members’ collective experience and advocacy efforts.
- Shared vocabulary: it is important to have a shared vocabulary among NAC-PP members. The example of corruption was taken, with the need to go beyond administrative corruption and adopt a systemic approach to the issue of corruption in Afghanistan.
- Coordination and collaboration: It was outlined that other entities carry out advocacy to support the implementation of policies. This calls for effective coordination and constructive collaboration among specialized CSOs and between civil society, government and other stakeholders to avoid duplication and ensure CSOs address specific advocacy issues with a unified voice, based on evidence and sectorial expertise.
- Strategy development approach: The three subcommittee’s draft strategies were developed using bottom-up approaches, receiving inputs from Provincial Advocacy Committees (PACs) and sub-committee members at the national level. The general strategy of NAC-PP will be developed using a similar approach, in consideration of subcommittees’ inputs and advocacy plans.
Review of Sub-Committees’ Draft Strategies and Action Plans
Participants divided in three working groups (Anti-corruption, Education and NAP 1325) to review the draft strategy of each subcommittee and expand the proposed draft strategy by:
- Reviewing advocacy priorities, considering the current capacity of each subcommittee and external opportunities;
- Conducting a thorough stakeholder analysis, identifying stakeholders based on their level of interest and influence in relation to priorities.
- Discuss advocacy mechanisms
A representative from each working group then presented results of group work to other participants, and analyzed the priorities of the subcommittees, focusing on existing internal capacity and opportunities to reach advocacy goals in a time bound schedule. Inputs from group work will be used by the Secretariat to expand and finalize strategies of each of the three sub-committees mentioned above.
Open Discussion on the Status of Access to Health and Justice and food security Sub-Committees
At the end of the event, an open discussion was held on the status of the three remaining subcommittees on Access to Health, Food Security and Access to Justice. Through a majority vote, NAC-PP members decided to focus immediate efforts on developing and strengthening subcommittees on Access to Health and Access to Justice. It was decided the work of the Food Security Subcommittee would be suspended for the time being.
The Secretariat of NAC-PP promised to work with the chair, deputy chair, and members of NAC-PP to strengthen subcommittees on Access to Health and Access to Justice, including by building on the expertise of current NAC-PP members, and inviting other specialized organizations to join NAC-PP. Two new organizations applied for membership of NAC-PP under the Health Subcommittee, and tow under the subcommittee on NAP 1325.
It was also decided that a press release will be issued for the next bi-monthly meeting of NAC-PP, manifesting its existence as an independent, civil society driven advocacy platform for policy reforms.
The full report of proceedings is available on NAC-PP’s Reports page here.