Corruption continues to be a major challenge to national development; and the legitimacy of the government and the international aid effort in Afghanistan. The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) was created after the need for independent monitoring and evaluation of anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan was identified. MEC’s terms of reference provide it with the mandate to identify effective development criteria for institutions, with necessary monitoring and evaluation of activities conducted against corruption at the national level, and of international organizations and donor aid.
MEC is comprised of three senior anti-corruption experts appointed on the recommendation of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and three on the recommendation of the international community. MEC makes recommendations and establishes and monitors the implementation of benchmarks; and must publish reports every six months, which are made available to the President, Parliament, international community and the people of Afghanistan through the media.
MEC is supported by a permanent secretariat in Kabul comprised of national and international individuals. The Secretariat is divided into three pillars (Governance, Prevention, and Law Enforcement) consisting of an international expert, a national adviser, and a national officer with technical expertise crossing the three areas provided by a Senior Policy Advisor.
MEC’s operations and strategic framework are primarily based around quarterly Committee visits to Afghanistan. Six MEC missions have been held in Afghanistan since MEC’s inception and MEC members have visited the provinces of Parwan, Herat, and Balkh. MEC members have broad authority to determine the Committee’s quarterly agenda, but these include the following four areas:
1- Issuing recommendations and setting benchmarks;
2- Monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the benchmarks;
3- Policy advisory and advocacy for further progress; and
4- Reviewing effectiveness of international assistance.
To date, MEC has made 57 recommendations and established 58 benchmarks in the areas of governance, prevention, and law enforcement affecting a variety government and international institutions and organizations. Nearly 81 percent of MEC’s benchmarks have been fully or partially implemented. More specifically, of the 52 benchmarks evaluated: 12 (23%) have been fully implemented; 30 (58%) have been partially implemented; 9 (17%) have not been implemented; and the time limit has not yet expired for 1 (2%) other.
MEC was created in March 2010 by Presidential Decree 61 after the need for independent monitoring and evaluation of anti-corruption efforts was identified at a series of international conferences (London, Kabul). Following the London Conference, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan invited the international community to form a joint Afghan-International monitoring and evaluation committee to provide policy advice and monitor and evaluate progress against specific benchmarks, which was welcomed by the international community gathered at the London Conference.
MEC’s terms of reference provide MEC with the mandate to identify effective development criteria for institutions; to monitor and evaluate anti-corruption activities at the national level, international organizations, and donor aid; and to report to the President, Parliament, people and international community.
MEC is wholly independent from the Government of Afghanistan and the international community. This independence ensures that MEC is capable of carrying-out its mandate in a transparent manner without undue influence.
According to its terms of reference, MEC is comprised of six senior anti-corruption experts, with three members appointed on the recommendation of the Government of Afghanistan and three on the recommendation of the international community. The current memberships of the Committee are:
Afghan Appointees International Appointees
Mohammad Yasin Osmani Drago Kos (Slovenia)
His Excellency Zakem Shah Eva Joly (France/Norway)
Dr. Yama Torabi Lt Gen. Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury (Bangladesh)
The Chair of the Committee alternates between an Afghanistan and international appointee on a six-month basis. The current Chairperson is Mohammad Yasin Osmani who will chair the Committee until October 2012.
MEC is supported by a technical secretariat in Kabul comprised of national and international individuals who support the work of the Committee; develop procedures for the identification, drafting and monitoring of the MEC benchmarks; and maintain an in-country presence for MEC’s on-going anti-corruption efforts.
The Secretariat is led by an Executive Director and is divided into three pillars (Governance, Prevention, and Law Enforcement) consisting of an international expert, a national advisor, and a national officer. Technical expertise is provided by a Senior Policy Adviser who is responsible for guiding the technical work of the Secretariat’s units and providing technical advice to the Committee. The Secretariat works closely with the parties implicated by the recommendations and benchmarks to ensure that they are implemented.
The Executive Director was appointed in August 2011, and the Secretariat was substantially staffed with international experts and national advisors and officers under the three pillars by May 2012. The practice of appointment of the Secretariat staff is handled through the Executive Director and senior staff is approved by the Committee. There are currently vacancies at the law enforcement and prevention expert level. Recruitment is ongoing and these positions will be filled in the near future.
These numbers reflect progress made to date and therefore differ from those reported in the MEC Recommendations and Benchmarks Analysis Report of May 20, 2012.