ESTABLISH AFGHANISTAN CENTRE FOR ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
SERVICE TYPE: Turnkey Mediation Centers; ADR Technical Assistance
PROJECT TIMELINE: May 2014 – June 2015
Investment in Afghanistan is limited by a court system that is unable to manage current caseloads efficiently and that provides, instead, an uncertain, lengthy, and costly process of enforcing commercial contracts. By requiring investors to assume such large uncertainties in contract enforcement, Afghanistan risks its long-term growth potential, macro-economic stability and, as well, as its ability to strengthen democratic governance.
Given this environment Harakat awarded ADR Center a contract to develop an Alternative Dispute Mechanism to provide the business community with a reliable, transparent, and accountable manner for resolving disputes. This mechanism includes the creation of the Afghanistan Centre for Dispute Resolution (ACDR) capable of carrying out mediation of commercial disputes in a professional, transparent, and accountable manner.
This project sets out an intensive approach to build an environment that supports mediation sustainability. As the issues facing mediation development in Afghanistan are large and pervasive, this project is designed to achieve the growth of mediation by: 1) delivering it into the mainstream among professionals and businesses that they support; 2) by utilizing a dual track approach of building the capacity to supply reliable and professional mediation services though development of a reputable mediation provider, the ACDR, and building the demand for mediation through a comprehensive, targeted campaign to train and inform professionals; build awareness among businesses and citizens regarding the availability and benefits of mediation; and gain the vital support of judges and courts to refer cases to mediation.
- Renovated, refurbished and established the office space dedicated to the ACDR with the necessary equipment for center in accordance with international standards
- Developed the center’s legal structure, including drafting and negotiating the Charter for the Center
- Developed the center’s mediation rules and procedures, including specific manuals and protocols for case managers
- Designed and launched a multi-language, branded, fully secure website including a portal for the online management of mediation cases
- Developed and implemented a comprehensive stakeholder analysis and engagement plan
- Conducted two mediation trainings resulting in 24 domestic mediators being trained
- Developing and implementing a suitable mechanism for the ACDR combining traditional methods and values of dispute resolution with mediation
- Recruited staff for the Center and held capacity building training; including a Director, case managers, administrative/finance, and a communications /marketing person
- Developed twinning agreements with other international ADR centers
- Developed a comprehensive, custom curriculum on mediation and ADR for law schools in Kabul
- Established and implementing, a one-of-a-kind Steering Committee for the ACDR. The Steering Committee is the principal decision-making body for the ACDR. The Steering Committee is composed of representatives from various stakeholders such as, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Justice, and the Hukuk Department among others, truly making the ACDR a multi-faceted center.
- Developed comprehensive monitoring and feedback systems designed to avoid corruption and increase public trust in the ACDR. The systems, along with the Independent Monitoring Committee, provide sustained improvement in public confidence in the fairness, accountability, and transparency of mediation at the ACDR thereby strengthening the Rule of Law within Afghanistan and attracting foreign investment.
- Organized and conducted an ADR Study Tour and visit to Bahrain for the ACDR staff and five mediators, this provided participants with access to best practices and lessons learned from a country with a similar cultural context. Participants were able to benefit from exposure to different situations and practices and see firsthand how a center is operated and run.
- Successful awareness raising workshops were held for lawyers and both the domestic and international communities, providing a high level of awareness among potential investors in Afghanistan on the opportunities of mediation as an effective service, creating value and reducing risk to business
Harakat – Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility Organization