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New report finds Afghan government’s anti-corruption efforts insufficient for its SDG committments

The Afghan government’s anti-corruption efforts are insufficient to achieve the targets set out by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a new report by Transparency International.

Adopted by 193 nations, the SDGs seek to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. Recognising that peace, justice and strong institutions underpin sustainable development across the SDG framework, from healthcare and education to economic growth and clean energy, the international community has committed to a series of ambitious governance targets under Goal 16.

Tackling corruption is an integral part of Goal 16, all the more so in countries such as Afghanistan, where corruption’s role in undermining peace and security threatens to severely limit the country’s potential for sustainable development.

To assess Afghanistan’s progress in achieving key anti-corruption targets in the SDGs, Transparency International has today issued a report titled Policy, SDGs and Fighting Corruption for the People. The report evaluates the country’s efforts on three key Goal 16 targets relating to corruption:

  • Target 16.4 on illicit financial and arms flows, organised crime, asset recovery
  • Target 16.5 on corruption and bribery
  • Target 16.10 on access to information and fundamental freedoms

“Without a government that is serious about beating corruption, Afghanistan is unlikely to meet its SDG commitments of ending poverty, securing peace and ensuring an inclusive society,” said Rukshana Nanayakkara, advocacy manager at Transparency International. “Where resources allocated to essential services are pocketed by the corrupt, the poor and vulnerable will be hit the hardest, making a mockery of the 2030 Agenda’s ambition to ‘leave no-one behind’. Where illicit flows in finance and arms are not robustly tackled, counter-terrorist and counter-narcotics measures will be ineffective. Where bribery is the norm in business transactions, firms will be reluctant to invest in the country.”

The Transparency International report makes a series of recommendations that the National Unity Government should prioritise in order to curb corruption:

  • Enact a comprehensive anti-corruption law in line with international best practice and commitments under the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)
  • Investigate and prosecute major cases of corruption, money laundering, drug trafficking and other forms of organised crime to end the culture of impunity
  • Pass whistleblower protection legislation
  • Ensure that right-to-information requests are effectively processed
  • Quickly establish a public central registry of beneficial ownership
  • Strengthen the asset disclosure and verification regime
  • Improve the transparency of public procurement processes and government contracting

“Afghanistan is among the 193 countries that have adopted the SDGs, but fighting corruption does not seem to have been given the attention it deserves in the Afghan government’s SDG implementation plan,” commented Nanayakkara. “Corruption has not been openly discussed in public consultation processes on the SDG plan and it is unclear what the plan’s targets and indicators concerning corruption will look like. Given that Afghanistan’s sustainable development – and capacity to achieve its SDG commitments – is inextricably linked with the country’s ability to tackle corruption, the plan should set out clear, measurable steps to address all aspects of corruption covered in the Goal 16 targets.”

Read the report, Policy, SDGs and Fighting Corruption for the People here.

Notes for editors

SDG shadow reports:

These reports provide independent analysis to complement and scrutinise official government progress reports related to SDGs 16.4, 16.5 and 16.10. For the 2017 round of Voluntary National Reviews conducted by national governments, Transparency International chapters and partners in 12 of countries (Argentina, Afghanistan, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Jordan, the Maldives, Nigeria, Portugal and Peru) produced civil society parallel reports based on a common methodology to assess their government’s progress towards Goal 16.

The other reports can be found here:


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Julius Hinks
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