National Conference on Decentralization and Local Governance in Iraq - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
14-15 June 2011

National Conference on Decentralization and Local Governance in Iraq

  • Erbil, Iraq

More than 120 participants from federal, regional and local governments, alongside representatives of Iraqi parliament, civil society and private sector participated in ESCWA’s Emerging and Conflict Related Issues Section (ECRI) organized National Conference on Decentralization and Local Governance in Iraq: Instigating an Evidence-based and Home-Grown National Strategy for the Promotion of Decentralization and Local Governance in Iraq, which was held in Erbil-Iraq on 14 and 15 June 2011.
The conference was implemented in Erbil-Iraq based on the United Nations Country Team’s commitment to reinstate activities in Iraq and with the aim of reconfirming ESCWA’s commitment to organize activities jointly with Iraqi counterparts and national stakeholders and to support nationally owned and driven development and reform processes.
The National Conference falls within the framework of UNDP’s led “Support to Decentralization and Local Governance for Service Delivery” Project and aimed at presenting and validating the findings and recommendations of the undertaken Situation Analysis, which was implemented by ECRI/ESCWA alongside selected national partners, and which evaluated the existing decentralized and governance infrastructure in Iraq and yielded policy recommendations.
H.E. Dr. Barham Saleh, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), participated in the opening session of the Conference and re-emphasized in his opening statement the importance of Decentralization and the strengthening of governance practices at the local level as a means to enhancing service delivery and instigating further participation.  Four ministers from the federal and regional governments - with a notable presence of the two Ministers of Planning - two governors, seven members of parliament and four Presidents of Governorates Councils attended the two-day conference and participated in the debate, transforming the conference into a forum gathering senior decision makers and representatives from all entities and parties involved in decentralization in Iraq.  This high-level attendance and participation was yet another vote of confidence in ESCWA’s work for Iraq and its support to policy development and the establishment of more adapted and appropriate legislative and procedural frameworks for decentralization.
Further to extensive debates and discussions among the present stakeholders, the conference was concluded with a re-emphasis on the importance of clarifying and strengthening further the applied decentralized frameworks, which are still one of the major subjects of internal discord.  There is an urgent need to perform amendments to the relevant legislations in order to eradicate mis-interpretations and conflicts with the Iraqi Constitution as regards decentralization and local governance stipulated articles. The conference also led to a general recommendation to pursue the United Nations’ fostering of this endeavor aiming at instigating and developing a nationally-owned strategy that would further enhance the decentralized model and promote local governance and which would allow a better and more equitable distribution of power and subsequently would ensure more efficient and effective service provision schemes.
arrow-up icon