International Governance - Institute on Governance

International Governance

We tailor international best practices to on-the-ground realities. We work with you to ensure results are achieved and international funding is optimized.

With IOG, international funding is optimized when:

  • the partner receiving the support has ownership (skin in the game)
  • the partner is closely involved in the design of the work
  • the work itself responds to clearly identified needs (there is a clear understanding of the problem)
  • the work is non-discriminatory, participatory, transparent and accountable, and
  • helps secure fundamental human rights.

Working with us gets results for the people who need them most.

Democracy isn’t a given. For many, it’s an all-too-distant dream. And, whether it lives in emerging democracies or countries with long, established democratic traditions, it takes work.

We create the conditions for governance success so democracy and its institutions can take root and thrive.

Current International Work

IRAQ – Engaging Three Marginalized Groups in Local Development Plans

Funder: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

This project fits within the framework of the decentralization program that supports local development in the governorates by activating the local resources maximization units. The project seeks to build a culture of engagement between citizens of three marginalized groups in Iraq and their local government. It does so by, first; conducting a field survey to analyze the needs and representation of the three vulnerable groups (women, youth, and people with special needs) in 14 selected districts in 14 different Iraqi governorates (excluding KRI and Kirkuk). And, second; a series of dialogue meetings are organized and moderated with representatives of each of the three vulnerable groups and their local authorities in each of the 14 districts. The focus of these dialogue meeting considers ways and means to increase the participation of women, youth, and people with special needs in the local development plans.

Recently Completed Projects

Fiscal Federalism and Decentralization in Iraq

Funder: Global Affairs Canada, 2015-2021

This Fiscal Decentralization and Resiliency Building project supports the advancement of fiscal federalism and decentralization in Iraq which is required for it to become a stable, federal democracy with sustainable economic growth. It does so through the elaboration of a federal system able to meet the needs of its population in an effective and equitable manner. It assists the Government of Iraq (GOI) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and other provinces to stabilize their fiscal and program-responsibilities through the design, implementation, and management of fiscal transfer programs that support more rapid decentralization. Begun in 2015, this complex, multi-year project is in wind-down and is expected to wrap up in 2021

IRAQ – Engaging Civil Society in Local Development

Funder: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

This project aimed to try and establish a culture of social accountability by working with local civil society organizations to form a civil society platform engaged in local development plans. This work specifically focused on improving government activities for citizens in the Iraqi governorates of Wassit and Babil. This project had three specific objectives: Improvement in basic government activities; Provide for a civil society auditing of the performance of government activities; and the establishment of an effective, broad-based and inclusive civil society platform of about 25 representatives of NGOs, academia, unions, youth, tribal leaders and other leaders and influencers in the province.

GENEVA, Switzerland – Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) Governance Review –

Funder: UNOPS

This assignment with a UN agency headquartered in Geneva sought to review and assess the current governance structure and to propose a new structure that aligned and supported a new strategy. This new strategy moves WSSCC to a new funding organization (Sanitation and Hygiene Fund – very different in structure and operations from before) to improve performance, effectiveness and delivery in the water and sanitation sector globally.

TIMOR LESTE Effective Policy Making for Senior Public Servants

Funder: Global Affairs Canada

This assignment provided intensive training to the executive level of the Timor Leste cadre in the public service of Timor Leste. The was on site with a mix of presentations and hands on exercises and workshop over the course of 1 week of training.

LATIN AMERICA – Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Chile and others – Citizen-Centered Services Improvements

Funder: Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)

IOG provided advisory services in the area of citizen-centered services to various governments in South America. IADB has made citizen-centered services improvements one of its priorities in governance reform in Latin America. IOG helped develop and participated in workshops and provided advisory services in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Chile, in addition to participating in a regional workshop in Argentina, which brought in participants from eight Latin American countries.

BAHAMAS – Governance in the Bahamas

Funder: The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)

The IOG conducted a study of institutional capacity of project implementation in The Bahamas. This included a detailed diagnostic, wide-ranging but feasible recommendations for change, and an implementation plan. A report of same was included in the April 2015 State of the Nation Report, as well as follow-on workshops and consultations with stakeholders, to inform the country’s ambitious National Development Plan.

SINGAPORE – Various Events -Governance and Leadership in Developing countries

Funder: UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence

From 2013 to 2015, the President of the IOG was a keynote speaker the Centre’s events in Singapore and in China, on the topic of governance and leadership in developing countries. The IOG worked with the Centre to put in place a program to build leadership capacity in developing countries that would help them meet the challenges of the 21st Century, and lead the modernization of their public services and the transformation of their societies.

IRAQ – Provision of the Design for a Senior Executive Service for Iraq

Funder: United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

This project designed a senior executive service (SES) for the Governments of Iraq (GOI) and Kurdistan Region (KRG) respectively, that each government could then launch, implement and manage. This was achieved through consultations and discussions with senior officials and Ministers in each government and a review of international SES systems. The project was a first step towards the ultimate implementation of an SES system for the KRG and GOI. An SES system creates a pool of meritorious executives who are representative and who have the interests of all citizens as their focus. As such, an SES system leads to improved governance and a greater respect for human rights.

IRAQ – Technical Assistance for the Finalization of the Iraqi Provincial Powers Act (Law 21) and to Provide Expert Advice and Guidance on Public Service Modernization.

Funder: United Nation Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and UNDP

Law 21 sets out the framework for further decentralization of programs to regions and governorates and is a critical component to advancing fiscal decentralization. A lack of progress on this was on destabilizing to Iraqi society and this project sought to advance this work as a prelude to the deeper work on fiscal federalism and decentralization. IOG helped draft various elements and provide general advice and to advance the work.

Our Values

Our values guide what we do, how we behave, and how we interact with our funders, partners, beneficiaries, and each other. We believe it is crucial to act with the utmost integrity in all aspects of our business, showing respect for the trust placed in us.

To date, IOG has worked with diverse populations in more than 35 countries around the world.


David Murchison

Vice-President International

David Murchison has broad experience in both the public and private sectors. Since early 2019, as IOGs’ lead internationally, his work has focused on international assignments where he has sought to advance IOG’s core mission overseas.

Canada-based, globally minded

As a Canadian not-for-profit institution dedicated to good governance – and the accompanying values of legitimacy and voice, accountability, diversity and inclusion – the IOG is uniquely positioned to support international partners as they transform their institutions and support legal frameworks.

What we do

  • Advisory services for individuals and institutions (including but not limited to: board governance, public governance, organizational development and design, program evaluation and assessment, accountability and performance reporting)
  • Professional development and capacity-building (courses and leadership programs)
  • Meeting and event design, facilitation, and support (including as expert speakers and panellists)
  • Applied research (IOG is one of four, non-academic organizations recognized as eligible for funding by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada)
  • And much more – let’s discuss.

Where we work

Our international governance experts are trusted leaders with worldly experience.

We are 100% committed to implementing good governance practices that improve the lives of people, wherever we serve.

We have a global outlook but with a special focus on the Middle East with an office In Baghdad, Iraq.

We are agile but also have deep connections across cultures so we can quickly stand-up quality, in-country teams that get results.

Our project-based experience makes us fluent in the language of international development. We are well regarded for our reporting and project closeouts to funders, and a trusted partner for global NGOs.

IOG’s international partners include:

The IOG Difference

Working with IOG, you will get the results you are seeking along with good, local intelligence and a deep, accurate understanding of what’s happening on the ground.

We place a premium on strong, local networks, and cultural competency as cornerstones of our international work. Our international team has multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural experience. We offer all of services in English, French, and/or Arabic.

We also have a proud track-record of accountability and transparency. Check out our governing policies below:

We are also happy to provide you with signed letters of reference from our past partners.

Additional Controls and Policy Statements

Risk + Financial Management Controls

The IOG has a full time Chief Financial Officer with a certified accounting designation. The IOG has financial and risk oversight from the Financial Reporting and Risk Oversight committee of its Board of Directors. This committee reports formally 4 times per year to the Board. As well, the IOG financial controls are guided and bound by an anti-corruption policy and a financial control and procurement policy.

Project Management Controls

Implementing projects require ongoing monitoring, evaluating, and adjusting against indicators and workplans. International projects have an additional level of complexity, and those in a fragile/post-conflict environment such as IOGs current work in the middle east are more complex still. The monitoring approach undertaken by IOG seeks to ensures an appropriate level resources so that any project remains on track and activities are adjusted to achieve maximum results. Internally, the IOG will usually use the Performance Measurement Framework (PMF) and the Performance Reporting Framework (PRF) as the overall structure for results-based monitoring and reporting over the life of a project. Quality Assurance is done by a Project staff member with significant experience in managing projects.

Commitment to Sustainability

The IOG affirms its commitment to sustainable business practices including, but not limited to, mitigation of CO2 emissions, support for Indigenous communities and fragile states, and the provision of pro bono services. The IOG strives to assist its employees in living and working sustainable lives, including providing support for emissions-free commuting, and taking measures to ensure a low-carbon workplace. As an independent, not-for-profit organization with charitable status, we make some of our services and all of our research products free for public consumption. We self-fund research that is intended to challenge status quos in search of better solutions, we invest heavily in areas of our work that are critical to our mandate such as Indigenous governance, and we often undertake work in civil society pro bono. Recent examples include support to the Ottawa-based Refugee 613 as they prepared to support the transition of approximately 25,000 Syrian refugees to Ottawa, and support to Soldiers Helping Soldiers, an organization that provides support to soldiers through a network of local support services. The IOG is proud to partner with Global Affairs Canada on a number of contracts, an agency that has similar sustainability requirements for organizations with which it builds business relationships.

The right advice can make a world of difference.
Let’s discuss your project today.