Afghanistan may not meet its commitments to mitigating poverty, securing peace and establishing an inclusive society, says a global watchdog.
In a report issued on Monday, Transparency International said the Afghan government’s anti-corruption efforts were insufficient to achieve the targets set out by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Adopted by 193 nations, the SDGs seek to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. The global community has committed to a series of governance targets under Goal 16.
Rukshana Nanayakkara, advocacy manager at Transparency International, said: “Where resources allocated to essential services are pocketed by the corrupt, the poor will be hit the hardest …”
Counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics measures would be ineffective where illicit arms and financial flows were not tackled, she argued. “Where bribery is the norm in business transactions, firms will be reluctant to invest in the country.”
The Transparency International made certain recommendations that the national unity government should prioritize to curb corruption:
1. Enact a comprehensive anti-corruption law in line with international best practices and commitments under the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC);
2. Investigate and prosecute major cases of corruption, money-laundering, drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime to end the culture of impunity;
3. Pass whistleblower protection legislation;
4. Ensure that right-to-information requests are effectively processed;
5. Quickly establish a public central registry of beneficial ownership;
6. Strengthen the asset disclosure and verification regime;
7. Improve the transparency of public procurement processes and government contracting.
Nanayakkara said: “Corruption has not been openly discussed in public consultation processes on the SDG plan and it is unclear what the plan’s targets and indicators concerning corruption will look like.
“Given that Afghanistan’s sustainable development – and capacity to achieve its SDG commitments – is inextricably linked with the country’s ability to tackle corruption, the plan should set out clear, measurable steps to address all aspects of corruption covered in the Goal 16 targets.”