Balasubramaniam Murali

Development Challenges in Afghanistan

In 2010, Afghanistan continues to grapple with an enduring low-grade insurgency which, after a generation of conflict, presents an extremely complex and challenging environment in which to support the establishment of the foundations of a functioning state and the provision of human security for its citizens. Despite massive efforts by the international community to assist the Afghan government significant progress continues to be confounded by deteriorating security exacerbated by increasing poverty and the narcotics trade, a high degree of geographical and programmatic aid fragmentation, and the precarious legitimacy of the Government in the eyes of many Afghans. Though Afghanistan has seen significant improvement in the health and education sectors, progress against MDG targets for gender quality and income generation is minimal, while Government capacity,
corruption and security constraints continue to prevent the provision of even basic services to large swaths of the population. Thus it has turned out to be one of the biggest development challenges of our time.

Balasubramaniam Murali is currently Programme Advisor/Desk Officer for Afghanistan & Iran in UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia & the Pacific based in UNDP HQ in New York. Afghanistan is UNDP’s largest programme globally with a 2010 programme size of US $ 750 million. Concurrently he is also an elected Staff Representative in the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Global Staff Council. He is also a visiting/guest faculty at the Fordham Law School/Leitner Centre lecturing on MDGs & development. He is a faculty of Junior Chamber International after graduation at the Training of Trainers (JCI TROT) Programme held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in May 1984. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. He has a Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Madras, India. Dr. Murali’s visit to UW-Madison is being hosted by the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, Center for South Asia, Global Health Initiative, Global Studies, Go Global!, International Learning Community, International Student Services-Millennium Development Goals Awareness Project, Model United Nations, and WUD-Global Connections. For more information, email or see