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Cablegate: Plans for Iraq Public Sector Reform

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: Representatives of British, Canadian,
United Nations, and US missions met on August 27 to discuss
efforts to raise the profile of public sector reform.
Participants shared the perception that the Government of
Iraq (GOI) has yet to take any initiative to ensure the
emerging public sector becomes professional and free from
cronyism and corruption. The central government is
pre-occupied with other pressing concerns and there is no
apparent Ministry to call for or lead reform efforts. End

2. (U) The Department for International Development (DFID)
representative at the British Embassy organized a meeting on
August 27 to discuss the status of civil service reform in
Iraq. Present were DFID Iraq governance expert Dr. Richard
Thomas, DFID Iraq Public Administration Reform Project Team
Leader Tony Laurence, and DFID Development Officer Dr. Lorna
Hall. UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) Deputy
Reconstruction and Humanitarian Coordinator Yacoub El Hillo
and UNAMI Advisor Kishore Mandhyan were present along with
Canadian Embassy Development Counselor Heather Cruden. Post
was represented by IRMO Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations
Martha Hudson and Poloff.

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3. (SBU) The participants described public sector reform
efforts currently being conducted in Iraq as fragmented,
irregular and disorganized. All recognized the need to
establish firm principles and practices of merit staffing,
ethical behavior, and professionalism in Iraq's emerging new
civil service before bad habits (such as cronyism,
corruption, etc.) develop and become entrenched. Many Iraqis
have residual positive memories of the UK public sector and
had their own Civil Service Board until it was disbanded by
Saddam in the late 1960's, and may be receptive to reform
efforts which will contribute to Government stability and
improve service delivery and accountability.

4. (SBU) DFID and UNAMI representatives said that their
efforts to initiate civil service or public sector reform
projects were brushed aside by the PM's Chief of Staff Adnan
Ali because the GOI is currently "too busy" working on other
issues. UNAMI efforts to insert mention of a Civil Service
Commission into the draft Constitution were also
unsuccessful. There is no clear candidate Ministry that
would serve as a focal point for a public sector reform
project though good candidates include the Ministry of
Finance, the Ministry of Public Works, or the Ministry of

5. (SBU) The participants agreed to continue to consult
closely and will devise an approach on how to proceed.
Representatives of the World Bank, the European Union, and
other donor organizations will be asked to participate in the
next meeting as a workplan is developed.

6. (SBU) Comment: It is important that reform be initiated
in the near future with significant GOI backing, This will
require that the need for public sector reform be stressed to
GOI senior officials while projects are developed and funded.
End comment.

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