Working with (re-) building the structures of the afghan state after three decades of war, is a complicated task. One of the main barriers to the establishment of effective and legitimate state institutions in Afghanistan is the systemic corruption at all levels of the political system and government. Building effective state institutions is challenged by limited capacity in the authorities and inadequate political support, primarily due to a low level of education and lack of sound legislation. The challenge is to increase trust between the Afghan government and people and ensure that policy statements are translated into concrete action.
The Danish good governance support constitutes around 130 million DKK annually (approximately USD 24 million). In order to ensure quality and efficiency, Denmark has chosen to focus on strategic areas within the approach to governance: public sector management; democratization; and human rights, civil society and access to justice. The Danish good governance efforts also support development af the national police and stabilization.
Public Sector Management
Denmark's general support to good governance is through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) administered by the World Bank. ARTF is one of the international community's main instruments in supporting the Afghan Government's implementation of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS). The Fund contributes to building the Afghan state, reforming the public sector, promoting good governance at national and sub-national levels as well as financial control and fight against corruption. Specifically related to the fight against cor-ruption Denmark is a donor to the United Nations Development Program’s Accountability and Transparency Project (UNDP-ACT) which is targeting corruption in a holistic approach involv-ing government institutions, media and civil society in both Kabul and the regions.
Denmark supports the Afghan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) to conduct high quality research on Afghanistan and to promote the use of academic research in policy development, program design and in wider strategic thinking and policy debates on Afghanistan.
Denmark has supported the elections in 2009 and 2010 through UNDP projects in terms of ca-pacity building of the Independent Election Commission, operational support to the elections and voter registration. Denmark also supported voter education, police training in electoral pro-cedures and monitoring of electoral processes. Denmark also supports the Afghan election ob-servation organisation, FEFA, who had up to 7,000 election observers on the ground on the day of the parliamentary elections in 2010. Furthermore, Denmark supported the Afghan Women’s Network in 2010-11 in their efforts to strengthen women’s participation in the elections.
Human rights, civil society and access to justice
Denmark is a key player in the field of human rights in Afghanistan. With Danish support, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) is working for the promotion and protection of human rights since its establishment in 2002 and is considered today to be an influential rights institution. Through its mandate, the AIHRC investigates cases of alleged human rights abuses and contributes to the release of wrongly detained children, women and men.
Cultural factors, combined with a low education levels in Afghanistan represents a barrier to im-provement of women's rights. Through the project Legal Representation and Legal Capacity Empowerment implemented by the Afghan NGO Da Qanoon Ghusthunky, Denmark is working on increasing women's access to justice by supporting the training of defence lawyers, focusing on promoting women's rights. Furthermore, through a Danish supported project of Global Rights Afghanistan trains law and sharia faculty graduates.
Denmark also supports a UN WOMEN fund for Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW Trust Fund), which among other things establishes women's shelters in rural areas, pro-vides access to psychological and legal assistance for women and information on women's rights. Denmark supports Afghanistan's reporting on the UN Convention on the Elimination of Dis-crimination against Women (CEDAW) through capacity building of the Directorate of Human Rights and Women’s International Affairs in the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The development of a strong civil society in Afghanistan is needed to hold the government ac-countable to the public. Denmark supports the development of civil society through an Afghan human rights network, Civil Society and Human Rights Network (CSHRN). Its focus is on pro-moting the human rights agenda and the capacity of member organizations so that they are better equipped than the political system in its efforts to promote human rights.
A key factor that will enable the development of a durable Afghan state is the establishment of an effective, competent and democratically controlled police-force. In the capacity of its membership and current position as head of secretariat of the International Police Coordination Board (IPCB), Denmark actively contributes to the reform of the Afghan National Police. This commitment is reinforced by its commitment to the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA). Concurrently, Denmark continues to support the European Union’s Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL), providing the mission with seconded police-officers both at headquarters in Kabul and in the rest of the country. Through these activities Denmark hopes to contribute to the security of the Afghan people and the development of a society based on the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights.
In order to further support improved training of the Afghan police, Denmark has allocated ap-proximately 10 million DKK for the Helmand Police Training Center.
To read more about police reform and EUPOL in Afghanistan go to the following webpages:
Reintegration and reconciliation
Denmark is also supporting the peace and reintegration process. Since 2010, Denmark has been a donor to the Afghan Peace and reintegration Programme (APRP) and has so far pledged 30 million DKR to the programme. The programme is striving to create incentives for foot soldiers fighting for the insurgency to lay down weapons and join the local community as regular citizens. This is being done by providing educational training, building local projects in order to foster local growth and economy. In order to ensure a sustainable reintegration, the programme is focusing on the local society and not only at the individual fighter.
Furthermore, Denmark is supporting the peace and reconciliation efforts by the High Peace Council both at a political level but also through direct financial support to the Salaam Support Group which is the entity in UNAMA working with and supporting the work of the High Peace Council.
The Danish support to the District Delivery Programme (DDP) and seconding stabilization advisors are also important parts of Denmark’s effort to foster a more stabile Afghanistan. Read more under Helmand stabilization.