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.
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:
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: