Event Reports

Political Decision-Makers from Ninawa Discuss Future Models of Governance

KAS and MERI Organize a Debate between Actors from Ninawa about the Future of the Province

After the war against the Islamic State (ISIL), the stabilization process and the effort to rebuild state structures take high priority in the Ninawa province. As such, former structural issues of governance should be addressed to ensure long-term stability in the province. Against this backdrop, the KAS Syria/Iraq Office and the Middle East Research Institute (MERI) organized a conference in Erbil on the 10th of September, 2018, during which Ninawa political decision-makers and actors of all levels met to discuss possible solutions for the current challenges of governance.

Due to the fact that, until 2017, Mosul was the Iraqi capital of ISIL, Iraqis in the Ninawa province face numerous challenges after the collapse of the terror organization. Participants from all different factions and ethno-sectarian groups, including members of the provincial council, district and sub-district mayors, tribal Sheikhs and university representatives, were invited to discuss the shortcomings of the local governance structure and its relation to the central government in Baghdad. The conference was divided into two panels, which touched upon the main challenges including the rule of law, the legitimacy of community representatives, reconstruction and the future of governance in Ninawa.

During the first panel, participants identified challenges such as infrastructural destruction, the problem of IDPs, intra and inter-communal problems, the lack of basic services and the presence of armed groups. Moreover, they discussed the social challenges faced by ISIL victims as well as the persecution of perpetrators.

In the second panel, the participants tried to give recommendations to improve the future governance of Ninawa. The case of Ninawa province was compared to that of other provinces in Iraq, including those of the Kurdish Region of Iraq. In order to promote stability and improve governance, participants discussed some proposed solutions, such as restructuring the administration of local government institutions with regard to legislative and executive branches, or redefining the administrative unit at the level of sub-districts to ensure the delivery of basic services. Moreover, decentralization – within Ninawa and between Baghdad and the province – is necessary to combine competencies between the two levels.

Although the thought of the political future is still overwhelming for Ninawa policy makers in terms of addressing the impact of ISIL destruction and its consequences, the conference was necessary to put the need for good governance back on the agenda and to gather various actors to discuss their strategies in order to find possible solutions.

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Laure-Maïssa Fargelat

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