Harakat-funded Afghanistan Building Codes Unveiled in Conference

Kabul, August 2014 – ANSA ABCAfghanistan National Standard Authority (ANSA) introduced the first group of Afghanistan Building Codes that were developed by financial and technical support of Harakat Investment Climate Facility Organization in a conference held at the Ministerial Palace. Participants included Ministers of Public Work, Urban Development, Rural Development, Economy, Kabul Municipality, representatives of the embassies of the donor countries, private sector, civil society and the media. The building codes cover urban development, architecture, construction, highways, and bridges, which were officially approved by the Supreme Council of Standards.

Lack of appropriate and commonly-used technical standards has posed a significant barrier to designing and implementing major infrastructure projects in Afghanistan. In addition, it has prevented the private firms from bidding on large-scale national and regional infrastructure projects. To help address this, Harakat partnered with ANSA and funded implementation of this project. The objective of this program was to facilitate design of safe and sustainable methods of construction and to promote competition in the private sector through creation of standards that impact quality of goods and services. 

Naseem Akbar, Harakat CEO, said: "In addition to national building codes for construction, Harakat funded another vital project which involved capacity building and developing of the technical committees of ANSA". This program established 9 technical committees and it was able to develop 313 national standards in the following areas: fuel materials, construction materials, foodstuff, agricultural, pharmaceutical, electrical materials and equipment, textiles, cosmetics, and weights and measures."

Mr. Akbar emphasized that the true success of these standards will depend on their implementation and we can only assess their effectiveness after they are implemented. If we are unable to implement all the necessary aspects of these standards, this process will add to the bureaucracy and will create conditions that may be used for corruption. Therefore, it is essential that these standards are implemented by all stakeholders across the country to see its results and avoid the unintended harmful side effects.

In the meantime, Karim Khalili, Second Vice President of Government of Afghanistan and Head of the Supreme Council of Standards said: "The development and implementation of the construction standards and codes are the fundamental steps in providing safety and reliability needed for investment in the construction sector. The Ministries of Urban Development, Public Work, Rural Development, Transport, the municipalities, and other entities are obliged to start putting into practice these building codes. The new buildings and construction projects that are designed and implemented from now on must comply with these standards. In addition, an effective mechanism should be created to monitor and coordinate the actual implementation of these standards and hold accountable those who violate."

Ease of doing business and economic development, including institutional and regulatory frameworks reform, support diversification of local industrial activities. In the long term, standardization provides opportunities for import substitution and a gradual increase in the quality of domestically made products or services. Both of these have positive impacts on sustainable economic development.

These two Harakat-funded projects (Development of Afghanistan Building Codes and Development National Standards) pave the way for better quality control of goods and services in the country and enable small size businesses to compete with imported goods at the technical level, to bid on contracts, and to expand their production volumes, creating