On Shaky Grounds: COVID-19, Peace Process, and Development
This brief is based on a research paper prepared by Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization (APPRO), commissioned by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES). The research finds that the internal and external implications of the pandemic have added to growing vulnerability, insecurity, and frustration with the dysfunctions of governance, raising important questions about how and under what conditions aid should be provided to Afghanistan, with or without a peace agreement with the Taliban.
The new conditions that have emerged under the pandemic have also created opportunities for a re-examination and reorientation of development aid modalities for Afghanistan since reverting to aid modalities in play before the pandemic and the intra-Afghan peace talks and expecting better results is not a viable option for international assistance.
Empowering and enabling civil society to assume its legitimate place in the practice of good governance will require moving away from a model resting quasi exclusively on upward functional accountability to international donors by civil society organizations as the fund recipients. This would entail introducing and strengthening aid models that incorporate downward strategic accountability, whereby international donors and their aid-receiving civil society organizations jointly account to ordinary citizens as the ultimate beneficiaries of interventions.