Cablegate: Analysis of Unama's Proposed New Donor Coordination

DE RUEHBUL #0335/01 0261627
O 261627Z JAN 10 ZDK





E.O. 12958 N/A
SUBJECT: Analysis of UNAMA's Proposed New Donor Coordination


1. (U) Summary: In preparation for the London and Kabul Conferences,
outgoing United Nations SRSG Kai Eide recently submitted a proposal
to the Afghan Government (GIRoA) and international community
partners to improve consultation and coordination of assistance in
institution building and economic development. The proposal
recommends: 1) the main donor countries and institutions second up
to 20 Senior Advisors to the United Nations Assistance Mission in
Afghanistan (UNAMA) to form an Advisory Group on Donor Coordination
and Aid Effectiveness, reporting to the SRSG; 2) ISAF appoint a high
level representative responsible for political and civilian efforts;
and 3) the EU merge its two missions to enable it to take greater
responsibility for coordinating efforts of all European Union (EU)
member states. While the UNAMA proposal has merits, we have
concerns regarding the proposal's practicality, the UN's ability to
recruit its own senior level talent, and the possible establishment
of a parallel 'donor cabinet of Advisors,' thus creating an
additional layer of administration between GIRoA and the
international community. While GIRoA and international community
unanimously support UNAMA, the current draft of the proposal does
not support efforts to develop Afghan capacity and could shift
leadership away from GIRoA. Specifically, the proposal duplicates
the Civilian Technical Assistance Plan (CTAP) efforts to provide
coaching and initiative development in priority Ministries. CTAP is
already underway, with its efforts Afghan-led and demand-driven.
This cable provides our analysis, critique, and suggestions of both
the UNAMA proposal and Terms of Reference for consideration prior to
operationalizing the approach. End Summary.

UNAMA Proposal and Advisors' Terms of Reference
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (U) Kai Eide's proposal, dated January 19 in anticipation of
discussion at the January 28 London Conference, recommends that:

--1) the main donor countries and institutions in economic
development and governance "second" 15-20 Senior Advisors, reporting
to the SRSG;

--2) ISAF appoint a high level representative responsible for
political and civilian (including development and governance)
efforts; and

--3) the EU should merge its two missions to enable it to take
greater responsibility for coordinating efforts of all EU member

3. (U) The Senior Advisors seconded to UNAMA must be senior career
officers of the donor government with the ability to influence donor
policy. The proposed role of the advisors is:

--1) to develop capacity of a newly-created Secretariat, possibly
staffed by CTAP, within the Ministry of Finance (MoF) in
coordinating national development programs;

--2) coach and support other Ministers, in consultation with the

--3) to assist the SRSG in identifying weaknesses in ministries,
their need for support and impediments to donor coordination; and

--4) to maintain a link to their respective donors.

4. (U) Concerns over the proposal begin with the likelihood that
enacting it may result in a parallel 'donor cabinet of advisors'
that might duplicate the responsibilities of the GIRoA and/or work
without a specific mandate or metrics to gauge and monitor its
actions. Lines of authority and responsibilities are also unclear;
for example, individuals would report to the SRSG (who is often out
of country), a Minister, and their respective home agency. This
makes for a confused picture. Not all donors will have Senior
Advisors represented in this new UNAMA Advisory Group, so a regular
system to facilitate information flow to all engaged donors and the
GIRoA is needed. Furthermore, the proposal lacks details on how
UNAMA will improve communication with the GIRoA to set priorities,
let alone how the SRSG would manage 20 advisors reporting
individually to him. SRSG Eide told Ambassador Eikenberry on
January 23 that he only expected five to ten of the new Advisors to
be senior enough to command the respect of the Provincial

5. (U) Efforts to have Embassy staff work at UNAMA met with too many
administrative difficulties to come to fruition, and UNAMA and

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international community in Kabul already face great difficulties in
attracting and retaining senior-level staff to take new and
replacement positions in Kabul. (Reftel describes the staffing
shortages at UNDP and UNAMA which have a direct impact on upcoming

6. (U) UNAMA's recommended approach seems to duplicate the role that
CTAP already offers by placing qualified advisors in Ministries
while working to improve the professional capacity in the
Ministries. While CTAP (ironically formulated by the MoF and UNAMA)
is consistent with "Afghanization," it has not yet reached its full
potential. The proposal recognizes CTAP as a 'good vehicle';
Mission offices believe it is a vehicle to which more members of the
donor community can contribute, rather than placing additional
advisors through UNAMA. The resulting addition of UNAMA Advisors
coaching and supporting ministries while located outside of
ministries, could dilute capacity building efforts and move
leadership away from government.

7. (U) The section pertaining to the recommendation for a Senior
Representative within ISAF to direct PRT efforts is consistent with
COMISAF, NSC, and USNATO PermRep Ambassador Daalder's
recommendations. The proposal lacks information, however, regarding
how a senior ISAF PRT representative would coordinate with UNAMA.
In previous drafts, there was a call for an ISAF representative to
be located at UNAMA; this suggestion still seems reasonable, and the
ISAF position within UNAMA could be developed in conjunction with
the Senior Advisors positions as a way to fully integrate and
coordinate PRT efforts. We are concerned as to how a US PRT Senior
Representative would report to a non-US Senior Advisor.

8. (U) We strongly agree with UNAMA's suggestion for the EU/EC
missions to merge.

- - - - - - - -

9. (U) We suggest the following Recommendations for the Proposal and
terms of reference:

- The proposal should avoid creating a parallel 'donor cabinet of
advisors' that could duplicate the role of GIRoA officials rather
than building their capacity.

- We should not undermine CTAP or other good ongoing programs
through this proposal. The CTAP is placing qualified advisors in
Ministries while working to improve the professional capacity in the

- Donor coordination should also focus on program implementation
mechanisms, so the international community can co-fund, co-plan and
co-implement assistance using agreed upon systems.

- The proposal needs to explain how UNAMA will set priorities with
GIRoA and the donor community.

- The proposal should clearly build in a role for Afghan partners.

- The proposal needs clear definitions of how the senior ISAF PRT
representative will coordinate with UNAMA.

- Reporting and responsibility lines need to be well defined,
especially where the PRT and Senior Advisor come under different
Chiefs of Mission.

- The proposal should define a regular system to facilitate the
information flow to all engaged donors and the GIRoA.

- - - - - - - - -

10. (U) COMMENT: We need further information to analyze the merits
of the proposal. For example, we need to understand what
responsibility the Chief of Mission (COM) will have for the new
Advisors: whether they will reside at the Embassy; whether they will
be under COM authority; and whether the Embassy will be responsible
for their security and life support, including daily transport to
their UNAMA assignments. Also, the incoming SRSG may have differing
views on how to improve consultation and coordination between the
GIRoA and international community.

11. (SBU) UNAMA, under Eide's leadership, has played a commendable,
proactive role in engaging GIRoA on capacity development while

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building functional relations with the donor community. Any
expectations to have Advisors in place soon are overly optimistic.
A new SRSG may require more time to approve the proposal and help it
evolve into a program. Recruiting qualified senior advisors will
require cooperation and shared effort by the donors with UNAMA, and
filling positions may take several months. We recommend that USUN
engage the UN at the HQ level, even as we continue discussions with
UNAMA and the donor community in Kabul. END COMMENT.


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