The Prioritization happened at four levels – a) Development Strategy Level, the development strategy was decided by the Government choosing from amongst many parallel and competing ones. The favoured strategy was to have rapid economic growth, job creation and effective service delivery), b) Sectorial Level (Sectors which can contribute to faster growth, building of human capital and effective governance were chosen), c) Program Level (Within sectors, the existing delivering programs which could be scaled up at national level were chosen. Some programs were to be phased out as well), and (d) Project Level (Within Programs, the critical projects in view of resources available having maximum impact were chosen).
National Priority Programs: The concept of National Priority Programs (NPPs) was concretised in the run-up to the Kabul Conference and concepts of 22 NPPs were approved during the Conference. The NPPs were seen as the concretization of the focused national priorities in view of limited donor resources and government implementation capacities. NPPs built on the rationalised policy frameworks of the underlying sectors with three main components – a) reforms needed, b) institutions building and c) service delivery. They built primarily on the existing activities with scaling-up and scaling out to make them flab-free, more effective and result-oriented. The goal was not primarily to identify new areas where investment was required, but to consolidate hundreds of Afghan, bi-lateral and multi-lateral development projects into a coherent suite of programs that could be absorbed in an ordered manner into the Afghan budget ensuring their sustainability.
NPPs are vehicles for (a) long-term engagement in governance and socio-economic development and creation of foundations for sustainable transition, (b) achieving financial sustainability through future revenue streams by creating critical infrastructure (ID cluster programs), (b) increasing productivity in agriculture and rural areas for both growth and poverty reduction (ARD cluster), (c) establishing enabling environment for growth through private sector (PSD Cluster), (d) building critical human capital (HRD cluster) for economic growth and sustenance of governance, development and stability, (e) achieving peace (Security cluster), (f) reforming and creating critical institutions for effective governance (Governance Cluster), (g) achieving aid-effectiveness through national ownership and aid management (including alignment of donor funding and routing), and (h) achieving economic and social stability through better job opportunities. In view of centrality of NPPs for achieving various national priorities, all processes (like budget, provincial planning and budgeting, etc.) have to be aligned with the NPPs.