Encouraging national dialogue toward the decentralization of decision-making in Iraq
October 8, 2022
The decentralization of power from central to local authorities promotes participation from community members in more areas, leading to a more inclusive governance process. UNDP, supported by the European Union (EU), has organized a preparatory workshop for the purpose of re-launching national dialogue on the decentralization process in Iraq, in partnership with the High Commission for the Coordination between Provinces (HCCP) and Iraqi Ministry of Planning (MOP).
The workshop took place in Baghdad and was attended by more than 109 participants including governors, deputy ministers, various senior government officials, and representatives of international organizations with a view to adopting a new approach towards re-engineering the decentralization process and launching a new roadmap toward decentralization.
During the workshop, participants discussed and analyzed topics and obstacles related to the administrative, institutional, legal, and governmental aspects of decentralization. A new national approach was discussed, including key inputs into the national dialogue process, with a focus on avoiding political bias with respect to the effective implementation of decentralization.
Barbara Egger, Head of Cooperation for Iraq, Delegation of the European Union to Iraq, said during the event that, “The EU, MOP, HCCP and UNDP have a common goal, in that we want Iraqis and Iraqi youth to be educated, to be provided with health services, and other services they need for their wellbeing. Decentralization is certainly a long road, but it is a long road that is worth the effort.”
Dr. Aqil Khazali, Head of HCCP, expressed that, “Today's meeting does not express luxury, but rather a national necessity, given that decentralization is not only a politically and administratively binding constitutional principle in Iraq, but it also ensures the latest administrative systems are put in place, consistent with modern strategic management.”
The Deputy Minister of Planning for Technical Affairs, Dr. Maher Juhan, indicated that, “The best thing we can do at this stage is not to stop, but to deeply reviewing what we have achieved, including the challenges and gains, and the future steps that we must take together toward decentralization in Iraq.”
The preparatory workshop on decentralization was complemented by the implementation of a two-day training session targeting eighteen legal experts from Basra, Missan, Thi Qar, Salah Al-Din, Ninawa and Anbar governorates with the objective of analyzing the legislative framework for decentralization in Iraq in order to identify gaps and discrepancies, allowing for renewed commitment toward renewing the decentralization process in Iraq.
This series of workshops is implemented under the Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development Programme, with support from the EU.