Seminar On ‘Devolution as part of National Reconciliation’, Gets The Support Of Iraqi Political Leaders
More than 120 senior Government officials and civil society leaders including the governors of nine Iraqi provinces and representatives from fifteen Iraqi governorates today participated in a seminar on ‘Devolution as Part of National Reconciliation’, to discuss how devolution of powers could support national reconciliation in Iraq, as well as perspectives and approaches to federalism.
The seminar was jointly organized by UNAMI and the Prime Minister’s office, thanks to the generous support of the German and Dutch governments.
Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (DSRSG), Ms. Lise Grande, welcomed the participants by recognizing that “this seminar comes at a very important time when people throughout the country are calling for change and when the country’s leadership has stepped boldly forward with an ambitious and credible plan to reform governance”.
“National reconciliation remains a central priority for the Government of Iraq, [and] as friends and partners of Iraq, the United Nations and the international community fully support this goal”, Ms. Grande further stated, adding that “reconciliation isn’t possible if the social compact which binds citizens to their government isn’t inclusive and doesn’t work. When citizens feel that their government is working for them and that they have an equal say in how that state is operating, the discontent that terrorists exploit goes away and the political oxygen they need to spread their ideology is extinguished”.
Ms. Grande’s remarks were echoed by Dr. Uthman Salman, speaking on behalf of the Office of the Prime Minister, who said that devolution is a gradual process, but that it has already started, and that the emphasis now is on building legislative and technical competencies at the provincial level.
Dr. Turhan al-Mufti, representing the Office of the President, emphasized that as enshrined in the Constitution, federalism and devolution are cornerstones of stability and security of the nation.
Following presentations from the Council of Representatives Committee on National Reconciliation, the Council of Representatives Committee on Regions and Governorates, and international experts on devolution of powers, representatives from each governorate discussed their aspirations and expectations for the future of Iraq.
The conclusions of the seminar will be consolidated in a comprehensive document that will be used to help guide ongoing efforts at national reconciliation and devolution of powers in Iraq.