Cablegate: Baghdad City Hall Takes Initiative to Expand Its
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2728 2281212
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161212Z AUG 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2812
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS BAGHDAD 002728
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PINR PINS EAID IZ
SUBJECT: BAGHDAD CITY HALL TAKES INITIATIVE TO EXPAND ITS
1. (U) This is a Baghdad PRT reporting cable.
2. (SBU) Summary: The Baghdad Amanat (City Hall) has been
independently continuing and improving earlier USG capacity
building projects. In particular, a city Training Center is
providing technical and management classes to Amanat
professional staff in a center that was started initially
through a USAID project. Similarly, an earlier USAID project
had equipped the Geographic Information System (GIS) office
of the city planning department and trained 8 key staff. The
Amanat has since expanded that department to 28 staff and has
provided the new staff with introductory professional
training. End summary.
Initial USG Investment
3. (U) The Amanat is a unique institution within Iraq.
Throughout the rest of the country, the basic services of
sewer, water, and solid waste disposal, are handled by the
central government Ministry of Municipalities and Public
Works. In Baghdad city, these services are provided by the
Amanat, which is headed by the Mayor of Baghdad. Since 2005,
the Mayor has been appointed by the Baghdad Provincial
Council. Baghdad is thus the only city in Iraq where basic
services are in the hands of a local organization, headed by
an appointee of an elective body.
4. (SBU) Beginning in 2003, the USAID-funded Local
Governance Program (LGP) worked with communities to stand-up
local councils and to build the capacity of local officials.
One aspect of this in Baghdad was to provide technical
assistance to various departments of the Amanat. This
included the establishment and equipping of a training center
and a GIS section. Training support for these offices ended
in 2005 after initial objectives were met.
Amanat Training Center
5. (SBU) A recent trip to the Amanat showed that the Training
Center was still in full operation. Classes were being held
in topics ranging from basic instruction in the Windows
operating system, to skills development for warehouse
keepers, to the mastering of basic and intermediate GIS and
engineering computer programs. Equipment in the Training
Center was getting a bit out-dated for some of the required
applications, but was being maintained and used for its
intended purpose. A technical library established under LGP
continues to be used to support training in the center.
Amanat GIS Section
6. (SBU) Monitoring also showed that the the GIS Department
of the Office of Planning had not only maintained its initial
capacity, but expanded. An initial trained staff of 8 had
risen to 28. The staff is well educated and literate in
English. GIS was being used to develop overlays of the
Baghdad water, sewer, and road systems, which were used by
technical staffs of the Amanat to implement repair projects
and to plan new projects.
7. (SBU) Comment: The Baghdad Provincial Reconstruction Team
(PRT) has long been convinced that the Amanat was one of the
most professional institutions in Baghdad. Problems remain
of course, but overall it is an institution with the capacity
to address problems and with a professional and motivated
staff. These examples reinforce this assessment. One of the
main reasons for this success is that assistance was
initially provided in areas that had been identified by
Iraqis themselves. This helped provide an element of
sustainability to the assistance. The Amanat has identified
areas where the Training Center and the GIS Department could
productively use additional assistance. With PRT assistance
and coordination, LGP will be providing targeted assistance.
In the case of the GIS Department, the Iraq Transition
Assistance Office (ITAO) will also be providing assistance.