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The IOG’s work in Iraq is in an ongoing and exciting new phase, where we are preparing work for phase two of the project on Fiscal Federalism and Decentralization, funded by Global Affairs Canada, while continuing to see results in the ongoing process of the establishing of the Centre of Excellence in Karbala, our Women’s Cohort, and the pilot project in Al Qadisiyah and Maysan. Additionally, we have recently accepted a contract from the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to establish civil society platforms in Wasit and Babil, while also training civil society representatives on how to engage in local development processes.
To start, our work with the pilot projects is ongoing, with the establishment of technical committees and a steering committee for the two governorates, Al Qadisiyah and Maysan. The technical committees serve as a medium where issues of the decentralization process can be worked out between relevant technical experts at both the federal and governorate levels, and produce a report that is collected at the steering committee level which involves the governor and members of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council, which then makes recommendations to the High Committee on the Coordination of the Provinces (HCCP) to act upon. Essentially, this work is meant to streamline the decentralization process and establish further intergovernmental connections and means of communication between the governorate and the federal government.
Next, the Center of Excellence has successfully kicked off at the University of Karbala. This Center serves as a training location for government executives at the governorate, regional, and federal levels of Iraq. The goal of the Center is for it to become a form of government training school, where best practices and lessons learned of Iraqi federalism and public administration can grow and be passed on to new generations of Iraqi civil servants.
In November, we saw our ongoing cohort of Iraqi women come to Ottawa for a 10-day training program that involved lessons on leadership, collaboration, communications, and operating in a federal system with lessons learned from high level provincial federal NGOs, politicians, and civil servants. In follow up to this, we have recently engaged in the Gender Unit Mapping in Al Qadisiyah and Maysan, with the initial meetings occurring in early December.
On the same trip in late November/early December, IOG President Toby Fyfe met with various Iraqi federal ministers and staff to discuss and affirm the IOG’s commitment to the country and discuss with the new government the benefits of decentralization.
Lastly, the Financial Management Law brought forward by the IOG to replace the current CPA Order 95 is now on the agenda to have its first reading by the House of Representatives in Iraq. This law is designed to update the current financial management structure of Iraq to suit the federal design of the country.