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Cablegate: Advancing Civil Service Reform in Iraq

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9589
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

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SUBJECT: ADVANCING CIVIL SERVICE REFORM IN IRAQ

1. SUMMARY: The Prime Minister is leading a new Civil
Service Reform Committee to overhaul federal personnel
management in Iraq. The Iraqi Government has requested USG
help to make this happen. The goals are to have merit-
based appointment and promotion; performance management,
grading, and pay systems; human resource management, and
new job descriptions and classifications. When enacted,
this will professionalize the civil service, improve
transparency, while also reducing corruption. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------
BACKGROUND
--------------------------------
2. Article 107 of the Iraqi Constitution requires the
creation of a Federal Civil Service Commission, which makes
civil service reform a key priority for the Government of Iraq
(GoI). As a part of this obligation, Iraq made commitments
to the international community to overhaul the current
civil service system. The goal of this reform is to
institute a comprehensive federal civil service based on
professionalism, integrity, and non-partisanship; and to
lessen the opportunities for corruption and favoritism in
government employment.

-----------------------------
REQUEST FOR USG HELP
-----------------------------
3. The USAID-funded Tatweer project is providing technical
assistance with capacity-building to key Iraqi ministries
and national institutions. As part of this effort,
USAID/Tatweer worked with the Prime Minister's office to
establish a high level committee dedicated to this
important undertaking. Thamir Abbas Ghadban, Chairman of
the Prime Minister's Advisory Commission, stated: "We
highly appreciate your project's efforts and support of
administrative reform in Iraq."

a. The Prime Minister issued an executive order formally
establishing an Inter-Ministerial Civil Service Reform
Committee (the Committee) comprised of representatives from
the Prime Minister's office, the Ministry of Justice (Shura
Council), the Ministry of Planning, and the Ministry of
Finance.

b. "There will be no sustainable and lasting reform
without a sound civil service reform. Iraq civil service
reform has been neglected for decades, but now with USAID's
help we are rebuilding a new civil service system on solid
ground," said Dr. Ghazi Al-Abudi, Chairman of the Civil
Service Reform Committee.

c. The formation of the Committee marks a notable
milestone in Iraq's progress toward a new civil service
system. The Committee is charged with establishing the
Federal Civil Service Commission and is working on a new
civil service law in accordance with international best
practices in this field.

d. In response to the GoI request, USAID/Tatweer's Civil
Service Program will continue supporting the Commission's
goals by providing training and expert counsel in the areas
of civil service and legislation. Public outreach and
education interventions are planned for the near future so
various public sectors and the public at large are
kept informed about the progress of civil service reform
efforts in Iraq.

--------------------------------
MEASURABLE PROGRESS
--------------------------------
4. As an important step toward creating the Federal Civil
Service Commission, a draft law was finalized and sent to
the Council of Ministers for approval. The Council of
Ministers approved the draft and forwarded it to
Parliament where it is being debated through a second
reading prior to enactment. The Federal Civil Service
Commission will be responsible for implementation and
development of a professional civil service system based on
merit and transparency according to the new legislation at
the federal and provincial levels.

----------------------------------
ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION
----------------------------------
5. The Committee is working to introduce merit-based
appointments and promotions; performance management, grading,
and pay systems; human resource management; and new job
descriptions and classifications. Important progress has
been realized on this level. Once the draft law is

BAGHDAD 00003081 002 OF 002


finished, the Committee will distribute to all
ministries and GoI agencies for review before
submission to the Council of Ministers for approval and
presentation to Parliament for enactment. When enacted,
this will prove to be a major anticorruption and
transparency advance for the GoI. The GoI's
confidence and trust in the USAID/Tatweer assistance also
demonstrates real Iraqi buy-in towards a positive agenda to
institutionalize sustainable capacity-building and deter
corruption.

CROCKER

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