Iraq’s Constitution of 2005 established a two-tiered system of federal governance with a central government, led by the prime minister, overseeing 18 provincial governments. To further promote a federal system, the Iraqi Parliament passed Law 21 in 2008 known as the “Law of Governorates Not Incorporated Into A Region”, meaning provinces that are not part of the Kurdistan region. The law defines the responsibilities and powers for provincial councils, effectively creating the legal framework for decentralization.
Law 21 and its amendments are much debated, however, and provincial councils still lack the capacity and clarity to plan, oversee, and deliver services at the provincial level. Many of the services are programmed and delivered by central ministries through provincial departments without significant provincial involvement. Additionally, provincial councils are largely disconnected from the communities they serve. The USAID Governance Strengthening Project assists Iraq’s transition through building the capacity of provincial governments to plan, deliver, and monitor municipal services and will link provincial governments to the communities they serve, and to the central governments that provide resources and regulatory guidance.
The Government Strengthening Project seeks to improve government responsiveness to community needs through the implementation of two components:
Component 1: Institutional Strengthening - Targeted provincial and local governments institutionalize core authorities and responsibilities.
Component 2: Executive Oversight - Targeted provincial and local elected officials hold executive ministries accountable for improved services.
Through implementation of these components, Iraq‘s provincial and local governments will be more effective in responding to community needs and providing government services, increasing citizen participation in local decision-making, and providing greater accountability and transparency of local authorities. Chemonics works to empower and build capacity of Iraqi sub-national government units to effectively respond to the needs of their constituencies.
The project seeks to improve government service delivery to citizens by strengthening provincial and local government’s institutional capacity and improving government oversight by empowering local elected officials. To achieve this, Chemonics builds the capacity of Iraqi partners and stakeholders and implements an innovative approach for sustainable institutional development. Central to the GSP approach is the use of embedded provincial teams to deliver ongoing mentorship and coaching to governmental counterparts. These embedded teams will provide additional resources, attend GSP trainings with their governmental counterparts, and then assist in applying new technologies and practices learned through GSP’s technical assistance.
Expected Project Results
The project’s results will support the U.S.- Iraq Foreign Assistance Framework Agreement, supporting Iraq‘s efforts to invest its resources in economic development, sustainable development, and investment in projects that improve basic services for the Iraqi people. It also serves to reinforce the Iraqi government’s National Development Plan (2010-2014) that calls for support to bring basic services to an acceptable level.