Citizens First: Improving Human Security in Afghanistan and Pakistan  

Afghanistan and Pakistan are known to the outside world for their association with the Global War on Terror. However, despite the huge human suffering caused by terrorism and (inter)national conflict, on a daily basis ordinary Afghan and Pakistani citizens suffer most from violence, weak and/or poor governance and related political instability. The proposed programme will contribute to human security and good governance by strengthening the ‘social contract’ – i.e. citizens build up and/or restore trust in government as a reliable partner capable of resolving conflict and delivering basic services. This will be done by empowering civilians and civil society to hold the (local) government accountable for law and order and the provision of basic services on the one hand, and by strengthening the ability of the (local) government to understand and respond to the root causes of (local) conflict on the other.
The proposed programme targets both communities and local governments in conflict-affected areas, as well as provinces particularly influential on national policymaking and/or having an impact on the conflict dynamics between the two countries. In Afghanistan, eighteen districts in six provinces (Herat, Nangarhar, Balkh, Bamyan, Paktia, and Takhar) are targeted. In Pakistan, twelve districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), eight districts in Punjab and five districts in Sindh are targeted (see annex 1 map of intervention). The latter two provinces are included as a number of districts (in South Punjab, Northern Sindh and Karachi) form a fertile breeding ground for militant recruits. The experiences of Oxfam Novib partners and our context analysis (P3) have identified a vicious cycle of poverty and weak governance as the key drivers causing violent conflict and undermining human security. Conflicts are everywhere; the crux is ensuring that appropriate structures exist/are created to settle these conflicts peacefully. Critical is to ensure that citizens trust the government and respect its monopoly on use of force. Within the proposed programme, Oxfam Novib will introduce a comprehensive model of human security which addresses the focus areas of this call, i.e. rule of law, responsive government, and peace dividends. This model, developed in Afghanistan, will be expanded and further developed to enable improved awareness by local governments to potential conflicts, and to strengthen their response capacity to prevent escalation. The model will be implemented in Pakistan as an innovation. Moreover, it will be used as a monitoring tool, together with budget monitoring and other means, for evidence-based advocacy to hold the government accountable for ensuring ‘freedom from fear’ and for providing basic services to citizens. Advocacy will be combined with activities to stimulate dialogue, understanding, and engagement between civilians and civil society on the one hand, and different levels of government on the other. All with the purpose of ensuring that governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan become responsive to the human security needs of civilians. Not only will the proposed programme address ‘freedom from fear’ but also ‘freedom from want’ through peace dividends, and by contributing to the improvement of trade relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Pakistan, multinational corporations will also be held accountable when their activities trigger (local) conflicts. The programme contributes to sustainable development because it supports local partners in addressing root causes of insecurity and conflict, by engaging in poverty alleviation, and improving the responsiveness of government to citizens’ demands. Given the tremendous negative impact which conflicts both within Afghanistan and Pakistan and between the two countries have had on human and economic development, this is critical.

Leave a Reply