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U.S. Statement at the Geneva Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan, 2018. Photo: US Mission in Geneva/Eric Bridiers.

ODI’s Lessons for Peace: Afghanistan project is a large scale research and convening initiative, funded by the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and aimed principally at international bilateral and multilateral donors supporting Afghanistan, with focus on how their support can best platform a peaceful post-conflict transition in the country whilst avoiding repeating their past mistakes.

Major donors in Afghanistan include, amongst others, the US, UK, EU, Australia, Norway, Germany. Much of their funding is channelled through the World Bank-administered Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) which funds around 75% of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s budget spending. The UN has a large presence and role in the country’s development and peace processes, through its UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and its various other arms such as UNDP.

Lessons for Peace: Afghanistan began in May 2019 and is directed by a Core Working Group made up of current practitioners, senior ex-UN and World Bank officials, and academics focussed both on Afghanistan specifically as well as on conflict and governance issues more broadly, and a project manager. The Core Working Group is well-connected to shape the work of the project through regular interaction with subnational, national and international processes.

The activities of the project are clustered around three main pillars:

Pillar 1

Short-form research

Reactive evidence-based support and advice to inform donor decision making and prioritisation, usually in the form of short briefs or expert notes.

Pillar 2

In-depth research

Horizon-broadening work exploring longer-term research questions to help stakeholders take a step back, consider longer term dilemmas, and avoid ‘peace process myopia’.

Pillar 3

Convening and connecting

Providing virtual and physical space to convene relevant policy discussions amongst donors and other actors.