KABUL, Afghanistan, 21 July 2014 – UN-Habitat Afghanistan today launched an innovative online monitoring tool employing Google Maps to document the progress of community- and municipal-led development projects. The initiative has been undertaken as part of programming in Afghanistan funded by the Government of Japan.
At an event chaired by Mr. Peter Dalglish, Country Representative for UN-Habitat Afghanistan and attended by representatives of the Ministry of Urban Development Affairs, the Independent Directorate of Local Governance and Kabul Municipality, the immediate benefits of the online monitoring were demonstrated. According to Mr. Dalglish, “This initiative makes use of the latest technology and will greatly improve transparency and accountability. The online monitoring tool will facilitate coordination with the government and donor community, and in a very practical manner support settlement upgrading initiatives across Afghanistan.”
More than anything else the online monitoring tool showcases UN-Habitat’s on-the-ground work in partnership with diverse communities to meet collective needs. The platform offers partners a cost-effective means of monitoring the progress of projects with current information such as project budgets, and the levels of community and municipal contributions. Before-and-after photos and videos are also included. Given that field visits have become increasingly difficult for the donor community and international partners on account of the deteriorating security situation across Afghanistan, online monitoring provides an effective means to track progress.
At the launching ceremony a walk-through of the online monitoring tool was carried out, followed by comments by Mr. Dalglish underlining the importance of promoting transparency and accounting of donor resources. “All donors and government partners want to see the immediate impact of their investment” stated Mr. Dalglish. “As the tool is accessible to anyone through the internet, officials in different countries will now have the same information as our colleagues and community leaders on the ground. It’s an important step in the right direction.”
At the event Deputy Minister of Urban Development Affairs, H.E. Hamid Jalil stated “This is an important tool for the Ministry and municipalities to monitor progress and provide a snapshot of different activities taking place in Afghanistan's cities. It can be used to identify informal settlements and to better understand land-use challenges that we are facing.”
“Due to the security situation in Afghanistan on-site monitoring by donors and partners is not always possible. This tool provides an excellent opportunity for our partners outside Afghanistan to track the impact we are making on the ground,” stated the representative of Kabul Municipality.