New NGO Cooperation Policy in Kurdistan

More than 75 civil society leaders, government officials, and members of Parliament endorsed today the new policy on relations between the parliament, government, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Kurdistan Region.

A signing ceremony was held at the Canyon Hotel in Erbil to mark adoption of the Compact on Partnership and Development between Public Authorities and Non-Governmental Organizations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. “The Compact will lay the foundation for civil society in the Kurdistan Region to expand and partner with government and parliament for further social, economic, and political development,” emphasized Mr. Namik Heydarov, Strategic Planning Advisor for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq.

“By passing the Compact, the legislative and executive branches in the Kurdistan Region commit to treating civil society as a complementary and equally important partner in development,” added Dr. Dana Said Sofi, Chair of the Civil Society Committee of the Kurdistan Parliament. Dr. Sofi further pointed out that the Compact “requires Parliament and the government to consult NGOs on making and developing public policies; to establish “a fund to support and finance NGO projects; and to begin outsourcing public services to NGOs, thereby establishing new mechanisms of NGO/government cooperation.”

NGOs endorsing the Compact commit to promoting “democracy, citizenship, civil society, transparency, accountability, and citizen participation in public issues;” give “support and respond to government consultations where appropriate;” and “give public recognition of… funding sources.”

An implementation and monitoring body will be named in the coming weeks to develop an annual work plan for implementation of the Compact in consultation with the Kurdistan Parliament and NGOs in the Kurdistan Region. The body will convene three times each year and will publish an annual report on implementation of the Compact. In addition, the Kurdistan Parliament has committed to meeting at least once every other year “for a public session to discuss implementation of the Compact and the development of civil society.”

The Compact is the first policy of its kind adopted in the Middle East / North Africa region.

The process of developing and implementing the Compact on Partnership and Development between Public Authorities and Non-Governmental Organizations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is supported by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and funded by the Government of Denmark.

For more information, please contact Mr. Kareem Elbayar, Program Manager – Civil Society and Reconciliation Portfolio, United Nations Office for Project Services, at +964 771 275 0030 or [email protected]

(Source: United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq)

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