Research, Policy and Advocacy
The Research, Policy and Advocacy or Sub-Programme 1 is the backbone of the Country Programme for Afghanistan 2012-2014, providing evidence, policy advice and advocacy to support all the other sub-programmes and ensure they are delivered in an integrated manner.
Undoubtedly, accurate and credible data are essential for evidence based policy, as an advocacy and mobilizing tool, and as benchmarks to review progress made by the diverse stakeholders. UNODC has built a strong research reputation through its opium, cannabis and drug addiction surveys, its provincial profiles and socio-economic assessments. Working in conjunction with Afghan governmental institutions ( Ministry of Counter Narcotics, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Justice, and High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption among others), UNODC seeks to improve the capacity of governmental institutions to monitor counter-narcotics trends. Thereby, UNODC will continue its crop monitoring surveys and research programmes and further broaden them in two ways:
- By expanding the spectrum of subject areas;
- By creating the data collection and analytical capacity of its governmental partners.
In addition to its role in Counter Narcotics Research and Information, UNODC intends to play an important function in guiding Afghanistan Government in advocacy and policy advice aimed at mainstreaming and monitoring Counter Narcotics and Criminal Justice indicators. In particular, UNODC has been providing technical underpinned policy advice on a series of issues under its mandated areas of work; UNODC intends to play an important coordination role and to promote inter-agency collaboration in areas such as legal reform, border management, counter narcotics mainstreaming in sustainable livelihoods, prison reform and assistance to vulnerable groups (women, children, drug addicts, HIV-positive prisoners and prisoners with special needs) among others.
In policy and legislative settings related to prison reform, UNODC promotes alternatives to imprisonment as a measure helping to reduce the number of prisoners in pre-trial detention and the improvement of the prison management, and strives to introduce social reintegration mechanisms; UNODC also mobilizes advocacy efforts of national and international stakeholders and advise to Afghan Government to transfer back responsibility for prisons from the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of Interior.
Taking into account the challenges MCN faces at the moment, UNODC is helping to resolve them in the following way:
- The Ministry of Counter Narcotics needs to enhance its technical and institutional capacity to effectively work with cluster Ministries to incorporate Counter Narcotics in the National Priority Programmes design and planning phase.
- The Ministry of Counter Narcotics needs to strengthen its operational capacity for Counter Narcotics delivery during the National Priority Programmes implementation.
Through advocacy and policy influence within the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the international community, UNODC offers a much broader and comprehensive package of support and technical advisory services, connecting research to its real application, leading to a significant impact. UNODC views research, policy and advocacy as a continuum and is committed to partner with the national counterparts as well as to engage with the international community for the furthering of global good practices and international standards.