In Iraq, decentralization has brought responsibility for essential services that were minimal or nonexistent in many places—clean water, sanitation, basic health services, and education. At the same time, the introduction of local elections has focused attention on the importance of transparency and citizen participation in local policy-making.
Research on the topic indicates that the lack of good governance rather than a lack of resources has caused the failure of governments to deliver services to their citizens. And ICMA was involved in two programs whose goals were to help restore these basic services and develop governance and management capacity in Iraqi cities so that improvements can be sustained: The Iraq Local Governance Program and the third phase of the Iraq Community Action Program (CAP III).
Iraq Local Governance Program (LGP)
The Local Governance Program (LGP) was an effort to strengthen government in Iraq at the local, municipal, and provincial levels. LGP’s goal was to improve governmental management and administration, provide training and technical assistance on the roles and functions of government officials and agencies, and support the establishment of a legal framework for a democratic, representative, and decentralized government in Iraq. Working as a subcontractor to Research Triangle Institute/RTI International, ICMA provided expertise in local governance, finance and budgeting, planning, and general municipal management.
Iraq Community Action Program (CAP III)
The third phase of the Iraq Community Action Program aimed to restore responsive and effective local government institutions. Working as a subcontractor to three organizations in distinct geographic areas, ICMA prepared local trainers to work with district and subdistrict officials throughout the country, helping them engage their communities in identifying and articulating local needs so that they can effectively lobby for funding from higher levels of government.