Steering Committee of EU-funded local development programme prioritizes decentralization and donor coordination
The Steering Committee of the programme Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development held its second meeting on 08 March 2021, online, to discuss the way forward. The programme is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).
The Steering Committee endorsed the programme's annual workplan and prioritized the acceleration of decentralization activities and the establishment of a donor coordination mechanism, while continuing to implement local development projects in nine Governorates: Anbar, Basra, Duhok, Erbil, Missan, Ninewah, Salah al-Din, Sulaimaniyah, and Thi Qar.
The activities revolve around supporting the decentralization of powers from central to local authorities, including through the development of institutional capacities, the optimization of revenue generation systems, peer-to-peer partnerships with EU municipalities, and the empowerment of civil society to advocate for local development causes.
Furthermore, they focus on promoting eco-tourism, the restoration of cultural heritage, green energy solutions, creation of innovative public spaces, and improving access to jobs for local communities. The projects derived from the Provincial Development Plans and the Sustainable Energy Action Plans, developed under the flagship EU-funded Local Area Development Programme (LADP II) that concluded in mid 2018.
Deputy Minister of Planning at the Federal Government of Iraq, Dr. Maher Johan, said:
"This programme brought promising development projects that respond to the local economic needs of the Governorates, from job creation to tourism and cultural heritage preservation. Peering with European municipalities is also important to improve the development path at the local level. The Ministry of Planning is grateful for the EU, UNDP and UN-Habitat, and is ready to fully support and facilitate donor coordination while doing the utmost to assist with the decentralization of powers."
In turn, Deputy Minister of Planning at the Kurdistan Regional Government, Mr. Zagros Fattah, noted:
"Sustainable energy solutions are among the top priorities of the Kurdistan Reginal Government under the Vision 2030, as well as the Provincial Development Plans and Sustainable Energy Action Plans. We express appreciation to the EU and our partners for supporting and implementing green energy projects and public spaces that will contribute to the environmental transformation initiatives in the Region. We are also looking forward to the results brought by peering with the EU local authorities on decentralization and COVID-19 response in the near future."
Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq, Ms. Barbara Egger, said:
"Our joint programme with UNDP and UN-Habitat for 'Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development', is crucially important to the European Union's engagement in Iraq. We believe it is a good example of the strong commitment the European Union has in assisting the Government of Iraq in its efforts to shape a more inclusive and accountable local development, supporting local authorities in implementing their decentralized functions and ensuring better services and livelihood opportunities for the Iraqi population.
"The past year, with citizens' protests and the hardship effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, has confirmed the continued relevance of this programme. Today, it is ever more important that we are jointly able to demonstrate our real commitment to people and assist them, delivering better services and jobs while supporting the broad reform agenda of the country, notably on decentralization."
Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Ms. Zena Ali-Ahmad, reaffirmed:
"UNDP's commitment to support local development efforts in Iraq. We have an excellent partnership with the European Union that will contribute to enhanced good governance at the local level, strengthened capacity and powers of local authorities, and improved living conditions through job creation and economic growth. We strongly believe that combining socio-economic development with environmental preservation is the only way to serve local communities and empower Governorates with the right instruments for local development."
Head of UN-Habitat Iraq programme, Mr. Wael Al-Ashhab, said:
"This ambitious programme is testimony to the longstanding partnership and trust that exists between the EU, UNDP and UN-Habitat, working together towards the common goal of supporting the government of Iraq to deliver better services to its citizens and deliver local development agendas. In the coming year, we count on being able to build upon the successful collaboration with the Directorates' and Municipal staff in our target cities to further widen the impact of our area-based urban recovery interventions by enhancing data-based decision-making and revenue generation strategies."
The programme Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development aims at contributing to the stability and socio-economic development of Iraq through enhancing good governance at the local level. It is working to improve the ability of selected governorates to efficiently manage local government and public services. Economic growth and job creation are prioritized, with a focus on green projects and the inclusion of youth and women.
Click here for information on the Steering Committee membership and first meeting.
Click here to download the programme fact sheet.
Click here to download the Beautiful Basra fact sheet.
Click here to download the Beautiful Missan fact sheet.
Click here to download the Sumereen fact sheet.