On December 10, 2012, the Urban Institute and the United States Institute of Peace jointly hosted a Urban Institute Frontiers in Development Theory and Practice roundtable discussion on the role of local governance and intergovernmental finance in Afghanistan.

Although Afghanistan remains a highly centralized state, considerable emphasis is being placed on strengthening sub-national systems of service delivery and governance, and numerous efforts are underway to support different aspects of sub-national governance and service delivery. In practice, however, only limited progress has been made on either improving the effectiveness or the inclusiveness of subnational governance and public services.

As international military forces are set to draw down in 2014 and the international development community is increasingly handing the responsibility for public service delivery over to the Afghan public sector, agreement on a realistic approach to minimally effective subnational governance, financing and service delivery arrangements remains urgent.

Panelist for the panel discussion included Frances Z. Brown (Council on Foreign Relations/United States Institute of Peace), Jeremy Pam (formerly US Embassy, Kabul); and Jamie Boex (Senior Research Associate, Urban Institute). Ms. Brown was formerly an Afghanistan Fellow and Mr. Pam was formerly a Guest Scholar at the United States Institute of Peace. Dr. Boex currently advises the World Bank in Kabul on intergovernmental fiscal relations. The discussion was be moderated by Charles Cadwell, Director of The Urban Institute’s Center for International Development and Governance.

The panelists' presentations and a panel discussion focused on the importance and the evolving role of local governance and intergovernmental finance in Afghanistan, including options for the way forward. In addition, the panel considered lessons from Afghanistan on the role of subnational governance for other post-conflict countries.

Additional Resources

IDG Policy Brief: Exploring Afghanistan's Subnational Fiscal Architecture.

USIP Special Report: The US Surge and Afghan Local Governance.

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