Transparency International said corruption risks in Afghanistan hamper humanitarian aid from getting where it needs to go.
A press release by TI on Thursday calls on the government of Afghanistan, donor agencies and humanitarian agencies to strengthen transparency and accountability in the humanitarian response to ensure fair, rapid and corruption-free humanitarian aid.
In a new report, Collective Resolution to Enhance Accountability and Transparency in Emergencies: Afghanistan report, developed in partnership with Humanitarian Outcomes, the global anti-corruption organisation found that strengthening the role of local governance structures to promote transparency and investing in communication with affected communities would strengthen the response of humanitarian aid providers and the integrity of the aid they deliver.
Through in-depth interviews with affected communities and stakeholders, the study shows that corruption risks exist in a number of stages within the programme cycle of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan. The most notable included during the negotiation of conditions for access and area selection for programming; inappropriate interference in the selection of beneficiaries; risks of nepotism and ethnic bias in staff hiring; a lack of means to reliably hold corrupt staff and organisations accountable; and a lack of transparent and effective communication and feedback mechanisms with aid recipients. Many people interviewed were unaware of the amounts and timing of aid entitlements and some had tried to complain about aid quality or corruption issues to no effect.
Corrupt practices were reported both within local government agencies at the provincial and sub-provincial levels, as well as within the contracting chain with national and international aid organisations.
Corruption is widely understood to be a major problem in Afghanistan, threatening people’s ability to trust in government, undermining security and pulling apart the fabric of society. An anti-corruption agenda has become a major focus of the Government of Afghanistan and of a number of partner donor governments. Focus, however, is on the ‘big ticket’ areas of the security sector and long-term, on-budget development assistance.