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Decentralization in Iraq at Scale

For the USAID-funded Iraq National and Provincial Administrative Reform Project or Tarabot (Arabic for “linkages”), we worked with 24 ministries and all 15 provinces to facilitate decentralization, pushing operational decision-making authorities closer to where services are delivered. Employing over 400 on the-ground staff, we contributed to a massive shift in the role and capacity of local government to address citizens’ needs.

We helped strengthen decentralization legislation by removing inconsistencies and ambiguities and providing technical assistance to those involved in re-thinking and re-drafting the original law. Language present in the law was taken nearly word-for-word from MSI recommendations.

To implement decentralization, we identified and facilitated the delegation of over 60 powers from ministries to their provincial directors. For example, the governor of Babel persuaded the Minister of Education to relinquish control of all school building projects within the province.

We also built the capacity of local governments to absorb the authorities granted to them. This in turn helped to improve local governments’ ability to plan, contract, implement, and monitor infrastructure projects.

We assisted with creation of the Prime Minister’s Office of Policy Development and the Bureau of Public Policy and redrafted the Civil Service Reform Bill. Additionally, MSI assisted the Prime Minister’s Office and the Presidency to decentralize policy formulation.

We also fostered an inclusive process while supporting the Ministry of Planning to draft the $350 billion National Development Plan for 2013-2017.