DEVELOP MONITORING, OVERSIGHT, AND ACCOUNTABILITY FRAMEWORK AMONG NATIONAL AND PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS-GO, PC, DIRECTORATES, AND CITIZENS

ACHIEVEMENTS

On August 30-31, in cooperation with the High Commission for Coordination between Provinces Secretariat (HCCPSEC), GSP/Taqadum held a workshop on the Technical Relationships between Ministry of Health and Provinces, and the Transfer of Functions to Directorates that resulted in the following:

  • Provincial Director Generals (DGs) must receive all technical authorities to enable them to provide health services
  • Governors will oversee the establishment and management of blood banks, with provinces complying, as required, with Ministry of Health (MOH) technical standards and regulations
  • The supply of medicines, medical supplies, and vaccines needed to perform preventive and therapeutic services is a ministerial function, and at the local level, the adequate quantities and quality of vaccines will be supplied by the Provincial Health Directorates on a monthly basis
  • Agreeing to meet with the Administrative and Technical Affairs Deputy Ministers (after the Eid holiday) to review, comment, and support the Roles, Responsibilities, and Authorities Distribution between Governors and Directors draft model (see workshop below)
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MOH officials recommended the following:

  • Specialized health functions should be transferred to DGs rather than to the Governors, and Law 21 should be amended accordingly
  • Provinces should observe the ministerial standards on appointing DGs, DG Assistants, and Section Managers
  • Provinces have to observe the ministerial directives regarding emergency service plans to other provinces when needed
  • Provinces have to observe the ministerial directives in the events of epidemics

Urging participants to execute the law, decentralize, and enable the provinces to exercise their functions accordingly, Council of Representatives (COR) Regions and Provinces Committee member, Mr. Salim Al-Musallamawi said, “The transferring of the functions to the provincial level builds the capacity of the federal government to make good decisions and the provinces to serve citizens better. The Iraqi Council of Representatives strongly supports the transfer of functions and authorities. Achieving legislative consistency in the administrative decentralization execution stage in accordance with Constitution is among its priorities.”

According to Baghdad PC Chair, Dr. Riyadh Al-Adhadh, Governors should devolve the authorities to the Health Directors, and the functions and authorities transferred to provinces should regularly be evaluated based on service-delivery work progress and achievement indicators. Highlighting that all hardships endured by Iraq stem from the ministerial concentration of power and their reluctance to give the provinces a role, he said there is a need for the federal government to involve the provinces in ministerial budgeting discussions and stressed the necessity of conducting regular workshops and meetings with the Ministry of Health.

GSP/Taqadum Chief of Party, Mr. Cameron Berkuti addressing participants at the project’s Monitoring, Oversight, and Accountability Framework Development workshop

On September 25-26, GSP/Taqadum held a Monitoring, Oversight, and Accountability Framework Development workshop for 14 ministerial and provincial representatives that, after lively discussions on accountability mechanisms for implementing ministerial policies and monitoring provincial execution, resulted in participants agreeing on the following accountability policies:

  • Increasing accountability relationships of the transferred directorates will be channeled through the Governor
  • The ministries will control national policy implementation via visits and reports produced by various audit entities
  • In cases where a breach of ministerial policy occurs, the following sequence of actions could be
    taken:
    • The ministry in question will approach the Governor, and also alert the PC. The Governor will then take the necessary corrective actions while the PC will retain its role of monitoring
    • The ministry will ask the High Commission for Coordination between Provinces to arbitrate, and its decision will be binding on both parties
    • If no improvement occurs, the ministry will call to action the external audit institutions, such as the Supreme Audit Board (SAB) and/or the Integrity Commission, which will hold the local government accountable depending on the gravity of the breach
    • Based on the reports from the external audit institutions, the Ministry in question will request that the Ministry of Finance suspend funding allocated to the provincial directorate
    • Final options would see the issue brought to the attention of the Council of Ministers, and possibly the Council of Representatives, or the two parties approaching the Federal Supreme Court to resolve the issue

After a presentation by GSP/Taqadum Senior Specialist (Legal), Mr. Ahmed Sinjari, on the current framework of accountability relations in Iraq, GSP/Taqadum International Public Administration Adviser, Mr. Murat Daoudov, reviewed best practices in accountability and suggested the use of “performance agreements” between the ministries and provinces. Participants strongly agreed on the necessity to study this as a possible tool to be added to the framework to improve accountability relations.

In a closing statement to participants, GSP/Taqadum Chief of Party, Mr. Cameron Berkuti, stressed, “The PCs, Governors, and executive directorates should coordinate before promulgating any legislation or issuing any local decision. The decentralization and accountability experiments of any country cannot be replicated in Iraq. Instead, decentralization and accountability should be adapted to Iraq’s situation and laws.”

Acknowledging how GSP/Taqadum’s workshops have enhanced his understanding of decentralization in Iraq, Diyala PC Secretary, Mr. Kheder Al-Obeidi, said, “Because I have participated in its workshops, attended more than 11 Council of Ministers’ Secretariat meetings on behalf of Diyala PC Chair, and I am an active advocate for decentralization, GSP/Taqadum nominated me for a US-sponsored leadership program. This increased my knowledge of decentralization exponentially.”

NEXT STEPS

  • Work with federal and local government, Non-government Organizations (NGOs), and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to draft general Monitoring, Oversight, and Accountability Framework that will include defining the roles of citizens and CSOs
  • Work with Ministries Agriculture (MOA), Construction and Housing (MOCH), Youth and Sports (MOYS), and Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) in the four pilot provinces to define the technical relationships between the ministries and transferred directorates
  • Continue to share with all provinces, the drafts outlining the technical relationships that were prepared with the initial three ministries (Education, Health, and Municipalities and Public Works)