Al-Muthana, Kirkuk, Najaf and Salahuddin Conduct Conferences Under: The Community Participation Contributes in Re-enforcing Democracy

Al-Muthana, Kirkuk, Najaf and Salahuddin Conduct Conferences Under: The Community Participation 
Contributes in Re-enforcing Democracy

 Conferences of re-enforcing democracy were conducted in four Iraqi provinces and they are: Kirkuk, Al-Muthana, Najaf and Salahuddin within the activities of re-enforcing democracy program implemented by Iraqi Al-Amal Association supported by Norwegian People Aid (NPA) which aims to re-enforce the citizens’ participation in the decision making and public policies and making democracy mechanisms more interactive and participatory. The conferences were held during December 2016 on 17th in Kirkuk and 24th in Najaf and 28th in Salahuddin.The participations in the four conferences were more than 400 citizens in an average of 100 citizens in each conference representing different sides and categories in the provinces. Media and civil society organisations, governorates’ councils, governments, executive directories, members of the parliament, municipalities’ councils, districts, counties, Academic figures, Heads of tribes, students and volunteers. Everyone participated to discuss and give their opinions and suggestions to re-enforce democracy through mechanisms that contribute in activating the citizen’s participation in the decision making and public policies.Working papers were presented in the conferences about the role of provinces’ councils, media , universities, women and organisations that focused on the partnership between different sides and how to develop this partnership and frame it in a legal manner to activate each of these sides’ role in planning and advising the government sector in charting policies and making decisions that serve the province and putting together a budget draft community-wise that takes into consideration the most priority needs of the society. In these conferences the working papers were discussed and suggestions were presented to activate the role of the universities in the process of giving consultation and scientific research and increasing the research centre’s role in the universities and community to become more active and productive in what serves society. Mechanisms and means of delivering the citizen’s voice and needs to the governments were discussed and many ideas were put forward some through boxes made especially for that purpose and through hotlines. The necessity of focusing on using social media, email and websites for the provinces councils and the executive government in the provinces for that purpose. In addition to activating the volunteer cases and volunteer groups to do part of this role because of their ability to reach citizens in different areas. The role of media was also discussed and its importance in delivering the citizen’s voice and needs and the necessity of it being professional to deliver the opinions of citizens with integrity, clarity and transparency. Talk about the difficulties that face the provinces some of them are financial because of austerity and some are security difficulties because of the destruction happened due to terrorism in Salahuddin in addition to the no elections situation in Kirkuk since 2005 and the solution of this problem was confirmed so that the citizens can practice their right in electing the members of Kirkuk governorate council. Transferring authorities and non-central management was also addressed and what faces this file of actual difficulties in addition to the routine and contexts that causes work to be idle, the necessity of studying all procedures of work was confirmed to facilitate providing services in the government’s directories through electronic portals and mechanisms. That in addition to discussing many topics in the conferences and give many ideas and opinions that were recorded by the determiners of the conference in order to prepare papers to be working on studying them in detail later with the concerned parties to activate some of the mechanisms. Many different media representatives covered the conferences.It should be noted that the program of re-enforcing democracy is being implemented since mid 2016 and will continue until 2019 and it includes a group of activities that aim to re-enforce democracy in conferences, workshops and training to the teams in the provinces and surveys in addition to giving grants to the organisations. A number of the activities of the program were conducted in 2016. Work was done in four provinces they are Kirkuk, Najaf, Salahuddin and Samawa and a survey was done in the beginning of the project in the four provinces about the role and extent of the citizen’s contribution in the decision making and social participation and more than 1100 interviews were conducted with citizens and stakeholders in the four provinces and also a committee of 18 persons was formed in each of the four provinces mentioned above consisted of governorate council, organisations, executive government, public figures, academic figures, the coordinator of non-governmental organisations and media personnel. Workshops were conducted in Erbil during November and December for the four committees in a three-days training for each committee to increase their skills in re-enforcing community participation issues. These committees held four meetings as an average for each of them and coordinated and conducted conferences.In addition to all that the program activities continue during 2017 in the mentioned above provinces and starting in 2018 until the end of 2019 work will be conducted in Baghdad, Diyala, Al-Qadisiya and Babil and the rest of the partners in the project Public Aid Organization (PAO) and the Institute for Reform and Development (IRD) cover the rest of the provinces of Iraq during the project period.

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