Eight senior Afghan policy officers took part in a training course in strategic policy planning at Clingendael Academy.
The aim of the training course was to provide the participants with greater knowledge of policy planning techniques, to learn from case-studies and to acquaint themselves with the different stakeholders in a policy-making process.
The training was designed around the different phases of the policy-making process: from agenda-setting, to policy analysis, policy implementation and finally monitoring and evaluation.
The two-week interactive training programme resulted in an exchange of perspectives on particular issues that Afghan civil servants struggle with on a daily basis. Lessons learned by the Afghan participants included:
- There is need for a better and more effective governance structure, including at the level of the Cabinet’s Office. The organic law and sub-national governance policy of the Afghan Government should receive priority as it would clarify roles and responsibilities for each department;
- In the current context, the Afghan civil service is composed of a high number of political appointees in key positions. Even as this could be seen as a detrimental phenomenon, in practice an effective Government needs both parties - civil servants and political nominees – and needs them to work well together, even if styles, motivations and aims differ;
- The Afghan Civil Service is in a nascent state in terms of education, experience and capacity. In the near future, even greater focus will have to lie on the effects for the ‘street-level bureaucrat’: the agent of Government who acts on a daily basis with citizens and receives immediate feedback on Government’s actions or non-actions;
- Afghanistan wishes to continue the capacity-building relationship with the Netherlands. After more than 10 years of military and police training, attention could now shift towards building the capacity in training and education, water management, agriculture and military support.
For further information please contact Training and Research Fellow Sharon Beijer.