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Cablegate: Baghdad Provincial Council Connects National And

VZCZCXRO7747
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3526/01 2970913
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 240913Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3997
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 003526

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PINR PINS IZ
SUBJECT: BAGHDAD PROVINCIAL COUNCIL CONNECTS NATIONAL AND
PROVINCIAL PRIORITIES

1. (U) This is a PRT Baghdad reporting cable.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY. The Baghdad Provincial Council passed a
major milestone October 10 when it completed a Provincial
Development Strategy and presented it to the Ministry of
Planning. Provincial officials describe the Provincial
Development Strategy as the single-most important mechanism
to connect provincial and national priorities. The plan
outlines more than 950 proposed projects for Baghdad province
between 2008 and 2012, which will require an estimated total
investment of over 6.5 Billion USD. As the Provincial
Council puts together its budget in the coming years, it will
draw on this strategy to explain and justify provincial
funding priorities in its budget submissions to the Ministry
of Finance. Moreover, the Ministry of Planning must now
evaluate the Baghdad strategy in light of other provincial
development strategies, and place it in the broader context
of the Ministry's own National Development Strategy. This
process will enable provincial and national leaders to
compare priorities, coordinate joint projects, and
'de-conflict' existing ventures. Significantly, the Baghdad
Provincial Council created the Provincial Development
Strategy through an extensive and unprecedented consultative
process, and under very difficult security and political
conditions. The USAID Local Governance Program, with support
from the Baghdad PRT, implemented an intensive program of
capacity development and facilitation to assist the
Provincial Council throughout the planning process. The
Local Governance Program will continue to provide technical
assistance and capacity building support during the upcoming
implementation, monitoring and evaluation phases. End
Summary.

---------------------------------------------
Connecting Provincial and National Priorities
---------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) The completion of a Provincial Development Strategy
(PDS) for Baghdad marks the culmination of over one year's
worth of steady and progressive work by the Provincial
Council's Strategic Planning Committee under very difficult
security and political conditions. Provincial officials
describe the PDS as the single-most important mechanism to
connect provincial to national priorities. As the Provincial
Council (PC) puts together its budget in the coming years, it
will draw on the PDS to explain and justify provincial
funding priorities in its budget submissions to the Ministry
of Finance. Moreover, the Ministry of Planning (MoP) must
now evaluate the Baghdad PDS in light of other provincial
development strategies, and place it in the context of the
MoP's own National Development Strategy. This process will
enable provincial and national leaders to compare priorities,
coordinate joint projects, and 'de-conflict' existing
ventures.

4. (SBU) The PDS is the product of an integrated development
planning process and is based on a long-term view of Baghdad
province's future needs. Drawing on the Ministry of
Planning's National Development Strategy (NDS) 2007-2010, MoP
officials primarily initiated the PDS process in order to
provide provincial stakeholders with a framework to
prioritize, identify and develop projects within their
provinces. Provincial strategic plans spell out sectoral
priorities intended to guide provincial departments as they
address citizens' needs. Baghdad's PDS outlines more than
950 proposed projects for Baghdad province between 2008 and
2012, which will require an estimated total investment of
over 6.5 Billion USD.

5. (U) Since September 2006, the USAID Local Governance
Program (LGP) has facilitated five PDS regional conferences
throughout Iraq to guide the PDS process. These conferences
focused on five priority areas of governmental intervention:
essential service and social service delivery; economic
development; employment creation; social and human
development; justice and crime prevention; and efficient
public administration and good governance.

--------------------------------------------- ----
Consultation with Officials at the National Level
--------------------------------------------- ----

6. (SBU) The Provincial Council led an unprecedented
consultative process in drafting the PDS. PC members met
with elected representatives, government officials, private
sector organizations and business leaders from the national,
provincial, district and even neighborhood levels. The
Chairman of the PC Strategic Planning Committee (SPC), Mazen
Makkiyah (former Dawa Party member), told PRToff October 22
that he personally consulted about the PDS with Speaker of
the Council of Representatives (CoR) Mahmoud Mashadani, a

BAGHDAD 00003526 002 OF 003


Sunni member of the Iraqi Islamic Party. (NOTE: Makiyyah
mentioned only Mashadani when asked by PRToff which CoR
members he and the SPC consulted. END NOTE.) Makkiyah said
that the SPC also sought input from Adil Zahra Al-Sadi, an
adivsor to the Prime Minister for essential services, and
from Engineer Riyadh Filahi, Co-Director of the Joint
Planning Commission (JPC), which is led by the office of
Deputy Prime Minister Salam Al-Zubai. Crucially, according
to several PC members and employees of the USAID Local
Governance Program, the SPC also sought input from Directors
General in 18 ministries.

------------------------------------------
Connecting Provincial and Local Priorities
------------------------------------------

7. (SBU) At the provincial and local level, SPC planners
consulted officials in the Baghdad Amanat (City Hall), staff
members in the Governor's Office, and members of the District
and Neighborhood Councils. When planners realized that they
lacked knowledge in a particular field, they generally sought
input from Baghdad's experts. They consulted with
professional organizations such as the Baghdad Chamber of
Commerce and the Iraqi Businesswomen's Association. They
spoke to business owners in construction and contracting,
agriculture, media, and banking. To gather input from civil
society, planners spoke to representatives of institutions as
diverse as the Iraqi Institute for Economic Reform and the
Beekeepers Association, in addition to organizations focused
on women, education, and youth. This intensive engagement
process helped planners to identify which problems in Baghdad
currently prevent effective essential service delivery and
private sector development.

------------------------------
Developing the Ability to Plan
------------------------------

8. (SBU) During this planning process, the PC recognized a
severe lack of available data necessary for planning
purposes. To address this information deficit, members of
the SPC created three new databases to provide the necessary
information required to carry out their work. SPC members
then reached out to district and neighborhood councils to
conduct regular brainstorming meetings with their respective
planning committees. Through these interactions, the SPC
considered existing projects being funded and implemented in
the districts through the Provincial Reconstruction
Development Committee, MND-B CERP projects, and other donor
initiatives in the province.

9. (SBU) The SPC also screened all projects submitted by
district and neighborhood councils to create cost estimates
that factor in potential security, supply and transportation
problems. They sought thereby to create realistic project
tables and the basis for sound budgetary planning.

10. (SBU) The USAID Local Governance Program, with support
from the Baghdad PRT, provided targeted technical assistance
and capacity building to the SPC by facilitating
stakeholder's conferences and workshops; providing training
based on modern strategic development theory and SWOT
Analysis (a strategic planning tool used to evaluate the
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats); and
sharing case studies, lessons learned and best practices from
neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia
and United Arab Emirates.

------------------------------
Next Phases in the PDS Process
------------------------------

11. (SBU) The Ministry of Planning and Development will
provide comments on the PDS to the Provincial Council in the
coming weeks. This feedback will be used by the PC to
incorporate the PDS into the National Development Strategy,
as well as future provincial and national annual budgets.
During this same period, the PC will finalize the development
of the PDS implementation plan, and design and execute a
monitoring and oversight function within the PC.

-------
Comment
-------

12. (SBU) By completing a Provincial Development Strategy
through a broadly consultative process, provincial officials
in Baghdad demonstrated a growing capacity to govern, and at
the same time improved their ability to do so. Provincial
Council members also took an important step toward preparing
for the eventual withdrawal of USG project money by taking

BAGHDAD 00003526 003 OF 003


more responsibility for investing in the future development
of Baghdad. If successfully implemented, the PDS may
contribute to creating an attractive business climate that
could spur private sector development. Notably, the plan
includes an important focus on maintenance which may help to
make it more sustainable. End Comment.
CROCKER

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