Aligning NPPs with A-SDGs
The starting point for measuring and reporting progress on Afghanistan Sustainable Development Goals (ASDGs) is knowing what the country’s national development priorities are, and to what extent are they aligned with Afghanistan’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda. Obtaining this understanding was the main objective behind the exercise to align Afghanistan’s National Priority Programs (NPPs) with ASDGs. Work started after the senior leadership of the Ministries of Finance and Economy established a task force consisted of representatives from both ministries and the UNDP support project. Building on a Rapid Integrated Assessment (RIA) carried out with the technical support of UNDP in June 2018, the task force created a matrix, organized meetings with key stakeholders and aligned almost all the thematic areas of NPPs with the ASDGs.
The initial assumption was to go through the program documents for 10 NPPs, identify key program outcomes and align them to the most relevant ASDG targets. The results of this review were mixed. Many of the program documents did not have a results-framework or specific programmatic outcomes for relevant interventions as stated at the outset of each document. The task was further complicated after it was found out that a majority of the NPPs did not provide any sort of pathway or a common currency that could help in linking interventions with expected outcomes.
A clear grasp of each NPP was necessary for the team to integrate them into the ASDGs. Therefore, a number of meetings were held with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, and the Ministry of Agriculture to better understand their NPPs. Many of the participants in these meetings confirmed that at least a number of the on-going programs were not aligned with their respective NPPs. This points to the need for additional work to first align these projects with the NPPs and, later, for NPPs to inform and guide implementation of future interventions.
The Taskforce (TF) continued with the alignment of NPPs with ASDGs. Most of the thematic areas covered in the NPPs were aligned with their relevant ASDG targets. To measure progress on ASDGs, however, alignment with NPPs may not result in providing meaningful metrics. The TF recommends a new course of action—aligning key on-budget and off-budget programs with ASDGs and developing an integrated M&E framework.