Cablegate: Ministry of Planning Hosts Third Provincial

DE RUEHGB #3859/01 3460704
R 110704Z DEC 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: On November 5-6, the Ministry of Planning
and Development Cooperation (MoPDC) held its third conference
on provincial development entitled "Provincial Development
Strategy and Provincial Development Plan Institutionalization
Conference." During the conference, each province was asked
to provide a fifteen minute presentation on the status of
planning efforts, including the status of each PDP. Overall,
the discussion focused on frustration over the lack of MoPDC
and MoF guidance on the PDS/PDP process and the challenges to
effective provincial planning, including corruption, lack of
technical assistance and coordination between ministry
representatives and provincial leaders. Despite a robust
agenda and initial commitment by MoPDC and MoF to provide
guidance on provincial planning initiatives, MoF did not have
a high level representative at the event. End summary.

2. (SBU) The conference, organized and funded by USAID's
Local Governance Program (LGP), drew more than 200 attendees,
including representatives of at least 16 provinces. The
conference's primary objectives were to set forth guidelines
for the Provincial Development Strategy (PDS) and Provincial
Development Plan (PDP) process which was established in 2008;
to prepare provinces for a five-year strategy and planning
framework; and to affirm MoPDC and Ministry of Finance (MoF)
regulations with the goal of creating a closer collaboration
between provinces and these ministries.

Provincial and National Planning Efforts

3. (SBU) Authored by provincial and local representatives,
PDS documents outline overarching development goals for each
province. The PDS documents were accepted by the government
at the first provincial development conference in March 2008.
During the second provincial development conference in April
2008, provinces were instructed by the MoPDC and MoF to
create Provincial Development Plans (PDP) that create
sector-specific project lists drawn from themes outlined in
each PDS. The PDS documents will also be used to create a
new National Development Strategy (NDS) that will guide a
National Development Plan (NDP). In an effort to prevent
duplication, the NDP will also rely on the project lists
provided in the PDPs. (Note: The new NDS would replace the
existing NDS which is set to expire in 2010. End note.)

--------------------------------------------- --------
Guidelines for Provincial Development Plan Submission
--------------------------------------------- --------

4. (SBU) While the PDS and PDP process are not outlined in
legislation, the government and provinces have adopted this
process as a key mechanism to foster Iraq's development.
Over the course of the process, provincial leaders have
complained over the lack of direction from the MoPDC and MoF.
Specifically, leaders state that the 15 new MoP cells that
were established in the provinces to "assist" on PDP
development have, at times, hindered provincial input.

5. (SBU) The general provincial planning process is outlined

1- PDS is drafted
2- Multi-stakeholder consultation process with local councils
3- Provincial Council (PC) prepares and approves vision,
goals and strategies in PDS and sends to Governor
4- Governor prepares project list to implement PDS (PDP is
5- Governor sends PDP to MoP for review and approval
6- MoP reviews and revises PDP as required
7- MoP returns revised PDP to Governor
8- Governor sends revised PDP to PC for review
9- PC reviews PDP with local councils
Q9- PC reviews PDP with local councils
10- PC approves PDP and sends to Governor
Governor sends approved PDP to MoP
11- MoP reviews PDP, approves and forwards to the MoF
12- MoF receives and processes approved PDPs
13- MoF submits budget to Cabinet for Council of
Representatives approval
14- MoF releases funds to the provinces

Of Iraq's 18 provinces, 16 have sent a PDP to the MoP for
review (step 5 above). Maysan and Babil PDPs are still with
the Governor (step 4 above).

Provincial Development Plan Presentations

6. (SBU) All provinces except Sulaymaniyah, Dohuk, and Erbil
presented on the status of provincial planning (Note: Dohuk,
Erbil and Sulaymaniyah receive budget allocations from the

BAGHDAD 00003859 002 OF 002

KRG. End Note). The majority of provincial leaders focused
on challenges that hindered effective planning; including the
lack of capable and experienced staff, corruption, and
procurement difficulties (for example, Najaf complained that
PDP was used to buy cars for office staff).

7. (SBU) Provincial representatives offered various
suggestions. Anbar province called for the construction of
an airport to "facilitate future tourism" as well as the need
for the Provincial Investment Commission to incorporate
projects and goals into the PDS and PDP. Basra and Najaf
highlighted the need for coordination with existing
investment and donor projects in their region (Basra and
Kirkuk provinces suggested that focus should shift from
development to investment projects). Baghdad, Dhi Qar as
well as other provinces called for better coordination with
the central government on provincial projects.

8. (SBU) Babil highlighted the existence of its Provincial
Development Committee (which is separate from the Provincial
Council) as well as its strong coordination of local project
requests. Similarly, Dhi Qar mentioned their extensive
bottom-up planning process.

9. (SBU) Diyala reported that it is still implementing '07
projects and is implementing '08 projects more effectively
due to increased security, but noted the shortage of cash to
pay contractors.

10. (SBU) Many provinces complained that contractors that
were paid are yet to commence work on projects due to
security concerns while others (like Kirkuk) complained that
projects have been started before the awarding of contracts.
MoPDC representative and Director General for Housing and
Construction Dr. Anwar Bunni indicated that the MoPDC will
redefine the procurement authorities in the near future but
did not provide any additional information.

11. (SBU) Maysan and Muthanna focused on the essential
services sector. Maysan mentioned that most sewage and water
infrastructure projects were completed in 2008 and that it
would focus on transportation projects in 2009. In addition,
Ninewa reported that 99 percent of '06 projects have been
completed and that '07 projects are 66 percent complete.

--------------------------------------------- ------------
Comment: GOI Provincial Planning Initiatives: Way Forward
--------------------------------------------- ------------

12. (SBU) The central government can serve as a key link for
facilitating and directing international donor contributions
in support of the execution of the projects outlined in PDPs.
While the Ministry of Planning continues to exercise
intimate involvement in the PDS/PDP process, efforts should
focus on providing provinces with specific guidance on
PDS/PDP regulations and seek to coordinate provincial efforts
with the new National Development Strategy and National
Development Plan. This can prevent duplication of efforts
and provide coordination across provincial lines. In
addition, numerous international donors have expressed
interest in working directory with Iraq's provinces to
support local development. The central government should
build the capacity for the International Compact with Iraq
(ICI) Secretariat to facilitate and direct donor
contributions in support of specific provincial projects. On
the local level, Provincial Reconstruction Teams should
continue to assist with PDP development and co
ntinue to focus on USG funded projects that satisfy PDP
priorities to ensure local buy-in.

© Scoop Media

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