Update on the IOG in Iraq: March 2019

4 minute read

Author: Mike Fleet


In March this year, Toby Fyfe, President of the Institute on Governance (IOG), visited Iraq as part of the IOG’s work on a large 4-year project, “Fiscal Decentralization and Resiliency Building for Iraq,” funded by Global Affairs Canada. The visit included participating in the 6th Annual Suli Forum at the American University in Sulimaniyah, titled “Iraq and its Neighbours: Towards a new Regional Order.” In a panel discussion titled “Protecting Stability: The Role of Governance,” Toby Fyfe spoke about the values of good governance and how the principle of subsidiarity can improve the values of trust and service delivery in a decentralized federal Iraq. The panel, which was moderated by CNN's Peter Bergen (CNN, New America), included Denise Natali (US Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Conflict Stabilization, Department of State), Qusay Suhail (Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Federal Government of Iraq), Yara Salam (Director of World Bank, Iraq), and Ramon Blecua (EU Ambassador to Iraq).


The Iraq mission also featured a graduation ceremony with 28 Iraqi leaders who have successfully completed IOG training to make them better leaders. In addition to Toby Fyfe (pictured below at podium), the Canadian Ambassador to Iraq, Paul Gibbard, senior Iraq officials and Ministers were on hand to recognize these achievements and congratulate the awardees. These graduates reflect a small but important component of the overall IOG work in increasing the capacities and efficacies of senior public officials operating in a federal state.

As well, the project aims to increase the ability of Iraqi women to lead; to improve the capacity of women in CSO’s to advocate and cooperate with government; and to support the Iraqi government’s inclusion of women’s efforts and perspectives in its decisions, policies, and actions.


The effort over the past three years has resulted in strong relationships between the IOG and the Iraqi government; the training of over 1000 male and female senior officials; the launch of intergovernmental negotiations on roles and responsibilities between the levels of government; and greater knowledge of practices and awareness of the tools (and obligations) that come with operating a federal state. Overall, the project supports implementing this constitutional imperative by helping the various governmental stakeholders to develop a common understanding of fiscal and program decentralization and to assist in fostering a degree of mutual trust. Assisting Iraq in implementing fiscal decentralization is intended to help with stabilization efforts for the country by empowering Iraq’s disparate regions with greater responsibilities in the fiscal administration of the country.

For more information, check out the IOG in the World.

About the author

Institute on Governance

Institute on Governance

Founded in 1990, the Institute on Governance (IOG) is an independent, Canada-based, not-for-profit public interest institution with its head office in Ottawa and an office in Toronto. Our mission is ‘advancing better governance in the public interest,’ which we accomplish by exploring, developing and promoting the principles, standards and practices which underlie good governance in the public sphere, both in Canada and abroad.

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