In support of the Government of Iraq’s strong commitment to decentralization, and as a follow-on to previous programming, USAID designed the Governance Strengthening Project (GSP)

GSP, more commonly known as Taqadum, (Arabic for “moving forward”), is partnering with officials and staff in Provincial Councils and Governors’ Offices across Iraq to improve government service delivery to citizens by strengthening provincial and local governments’ institutional capacity and improving governmental oversight by empowering local elected officials. Working side-by-side with Iraqi partners and stakeholders, GSP/Taqadum provides technical assistance and training through an innovative approach to achieve sustainable institutional development. Provinces that work in partnership with GSP/Taqadum participate in the project activity cost share, accept and implement reform, and include community groups in decision-making.

Program Snapshot: Year 6 (September 2016 – September 2017)

  • Amount: $17.3 million (total project value: $106,591,685)
  • Iraqi counterparts: 18 provincial directorates, Provincial Councils and Governors, Higher Commission for Coordination between Provinces, Prime Minister’s Advisory Commission, Council of Ministers Secretariat, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Construction, Housing and Public Works, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, and Ministry of Youth and Sports
  • Areas of operation: All 15 non-Kurdistan Regional Government Iraqi provinces


Since its inception in 2011, USAID/Iraq’s GSP/Taqadum project has engaged with provincial leaders to increase accountability and transparency in local governance and improve provincial level service delivery. The key challenge throughout the project has been the regulatory and financial transition of functions from the federal ministries to the provincial governments; and building the capacity of local governments — provincial and line ministry directorate staff — to more effectively provide services to its citizens, especially in light of financial difficulties in Iraq.


GSP/Taqadum has made advances in building the capacity of provincial governments and ministry directorates to plan and deliver services with the participation of their constituents. Designed to transfer knowledge and strategies through innovative standardized systems and effective methodologies, GSP/Taqadum has worked side-by-side with provincial leaders and their staff and developed a unique and wide-ranging set of tools.

In Year 6, GSP/Taqadum will develop and implement its Decentralization Mapping and Analysis Plans (DMAPs) to allocate functions and responsibilities to 10 directorates under four ministries (Construction and Housing, Agriculture, Labor and Social Affairs, and Youth and Sports) in 12 provinces. This is in addition to the project’s work with the initial eight directorates under the initial three ministries (Municipalities and Public Works, Education, and Health). GSP/Taqadum may also undertake limited activities in the three ISIL-controlled provinces (Anbar, Ninawa, and Salah ad Din) if circumstances permit. And last, the project will develop and implement short-term, high-impact Service Delivery Improvement Plans in the transferred provincial directorates of all seven ministries in 12 provinces.

Additional core activities include:

  • Support the establishment of Provincial Financial Affairs Directorates and train 150 financial staff of the ten transferred directorates in 15 provinces
  • Support the development of local revenue by training 120 newly added staff in the ten newly transferred directorates in 12 provinces on local revenue generation
  • Train the Provincial Planning and Development Councils and 660 staff in the ten newly transferred directorates in 12 provinces on preparing transparent Investment Budgets to meet community needs
  • Train 360 staff of the ten newly transferred directorates in 12 provinces in preparing Operations and Maintenance Budgets, and conducting budget execution monitoring and evaluation
  • Identify and draft amendments to at least 70 percent of the estimated 40 laws that conflict with the transfer and performance of the 10 newly transferred directorates at the provincial level
  • Develop federal-provincial-citizen accountability frameworks to improve service delivery and ensure that national standards and policies are implemented
  • Map, streamline, and post online the processes for 182 essential services
  • Improve provincial management systems by delineating roles, responsibilities, and authorities between the Governors’ Offices and the ten newly transferred directorates
  • Develop and implement Service Delivery Improvement Plans for five essential services in each of the 12 provinces


At its conclusion, GSP/Taqadum will have allocated functions and responsibilities for each of the seven transferred sectors; introduced financial, administrative, organizational, and legal frameworks in 12 provinces; completed Service Delivery Improvement Plans in 12 provinces; mapped functions and responsibilities for a total of 18 transferred directorates of the seven ministries; and established and built the capacity of Field Technical Teams in the three ISIL-controlled provinces and enabled them to respond, assess, and lead in the restoration of essential public services.

Anticipated results include:

  • Improved efficiency and effectiveness of functions, assets, staff, and budget allocations through the Decentralization Mapping and Assignment Plans (DMAPs), resulting in the formation of 260 Sectoral Committees in 15 provinces trained on decentralization methodology and service delivery
  • Integrated planning and budgeting in at least ten provinces in the Governors’ Offices, Provincial Councils, Financial Affairs Directorates, and Provincial Planning and Development Councils to sustain service delivery and establish local revenue mechanisms
  • Prioritized community needs through an administration and organizational development framework that builds directorate capacity and standardizes bureaucratic procedures utilizing a government management model, an e-Communications system, and a citizen access guide
  • The identification and mitigation of 70 percent of decentralization challenges by defining and distributing roles, drafting local legislation, and clarifying public policies
  • Improved service delivery in five target areas (Water, Sewer, Trash Collection, Primary Education, and Primary Health Care) in 12 provinces through prepared Service Delivery Improvement Plans (SDIPs) and begin implementing in five targeted areas (Vegetation Production, Main Roads, Orphanages, Vocational Training, and Youth Under Specific Age Group) in 12 provinces
  • Fifteen provinces equipped with tools, systems, and best practices to continue to advance decentralization processes and respond to community needs