Kabul, 23 July 2014 – UN-Habitat has launched an innovative online monitoring tool employing Google Maps to document the progress of community and municipal-led development projects in Afghanistan. The initiative has been undertaken as part of programming funded by the Government of Japan in the country. 

At an event chaired by Peter Dalglish, Afghanistan Country Representative for UN-Habitat 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. “This initiative makes use of the latest technology and will greatly improve transparency and accountability” said Mr Dalglish. “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.”                                                    

The online monitoring tool also 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 due to the deteriorating security situation across Afghanistan, online monitoring provides an effective means to track progress.

At the launch 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” said 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.”

 Examples of the tool can be seen at:

Kabul Solidarity Programme Phase IIhttps://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zJ74xe8ugu5w.kXD6Zsggx5k0

Community-Based Municipal Support ProgrammeKabul City:     https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zJ74xe8ugu5w.kqa1KjDxLS34  Mazar City:     https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zJ74xe8ugu5w.kW8NyzbwGLSoHerat City:      https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zJ74xe8ugu5w.kX_Dl8nbOXQ0Jalalabad City:            https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zJ74xe8ugu5w.kpBecJlUm00k