USAID-Tarabot worked with the Ministry of Environment to implement administrative reforms through capacity building, structural changes, and the introduction of public policy processes. Sustainability was foundational to USAID-Tarabot’s approach in training ministry staff on project management techniques and policy processes, as demonstrated by the establishment of a Project Management Office and a Department of Public Policy to ensure the anchoring of systems introduced by Tarabot. To illustrate its ownership of these initiatives and ensure the sustainability of USAID-Tarabot’s work, the Government of Iraq allocated $50,000 in cost share funding to support Tarabot’s activities with the Ministry of Environment.
USAID-Tarabot assisted executive offices of the Government of Iraq and key service ministries to address public policy issues in a systematic way, and to introduce new tools and procedures for policy coordination in support of public administrative reform and better service delivery. Through the introduction of evidence-based policymaking practices, Tarabot worked to strengthen decision making processes and to promote coordinated and mutually reinforcing policies across government entities.
USAID-Tarabot provided 16 policy advisors with training in public policymaking processes, and helped the ministry to develop a strategic plan and standard operating procedures for its public policy unit. The Ministry of Environment identified two environmental issues and drafted policy papers titled “Reducing the Use of Gases that Deplete the Ozone layer,” and “Tigress River Pollution Caused from Sewage within the City of Baghdad” with USAID-Tarabot. The two policies were finalized and submitted to the minister for approval and implementation.
The Ministry of Environment issued an executive decree in May 2014 to establish its public policy unit, developed with the assistance of USAID-Tarabot, as a separate department under the immediate supervision of the Deputy Minister. The Department of Public Policy will ensure the anchoring of sound public policy practices within in ministry.
USAID-Tarabot, in partnership with COMSEC, strengthened the capacity of the Ministry of Environment to more effectively implement its capital investment budget by training 20 engineers on modern project management techniques using Project Management Institute (PMI) standards. Training was provided to engineers in PMI processes, estimation techniques and Microsoft Project, and feasibility studies.
The Ministry of Environment has embraced the project management systems promoted by USAID-Tarabot through the establishment of a Project Management Office, which will oversee capital investment projects, and ensure effective implementation through the use of internationally recognized methodologies.
USAID-Tarabot, in partnership with the Ministry of Planning, is working with the Government of Iraq to execute its investment budget through fair and transparent procurement systems, enabling a favorable environment for international and domestic businesses and better services for the Iraqi people.
USAID-Tarabot worked with the Ministry of Environment to support the development and adoption of standardized procurement processes, and mechanisms for procurement planning in line with international standards. USAID-Tarabot equipped 74 ministry staff with this knowledge and these tools. Additionally, Tarabot assisted the ministry to develop its 2012 and 2013 procurement plans to guide the ministry’s procurement activities. Lastly, Tarabot supported the creation of systems for procurement report to strengthen accountability and transparency in the ministry’s procurement activities.
Iraq Development Management System
To support the management of the ministry’s projects, USAID-Tarabot assisted the Ministry of Environment to operate the Iraq Development Management System (IDMS), an online software package for overseeing and managing the ministry’s capital investment cycle. The system serves as a reliable and credible source of information on the distribution of development projects according to sector, location, and implementing institution. The IDMS feeds information for planning into the decision-making process, and illuminates project implementation performance by ministry, sector, or individual projects. This information allows government officials to make wiser decisions with its capital investment resources, and to better identify and address any weaknesses in implementation. This critical step in modernizing Iraq’s public administration contributes to improved efficiency in the capital investment cycle, and promotes transparency and accountability in the allocation of development funds.
Tarabot provided eight ministry staff members with training on the system’s initiation and maintenance, including how to update and enter project information into the system, query it for information, and generate reports on projects and their implementation progress.
Many countries in transition face the challenge of broadening the enabling environment to reform and stimulate economic growth and create jobs. Outdated and unnecessary laws and regulations impose efficiency costs on economic activity, while promoting corruption and reducing the government’s ability to deliver services. Tarabot worked to review legislation and regulations and made recommendations for their reform or elimination through an inclusive and transparent process built on extensive stakeholder input.
The Ministry of Environment reviewed nine business-related regulations that affect the environment with the support of USAID-Tarabot’sIraq Solution for Regulatory and Administrative Reform (ISRAR) initiative. Legislation reviewed included the “Instructions No. 2 for the year 1990 for Manufacturing, Trading and Storage of Pesticides” and the “Law No. 21 of 1966 to Prevent Noise.” In partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Tarabot identified outdated laws and regulations, and set forth recommendations for their elimination or reform.
Center of Excellence
The Iraq Center for Excellence in Government (ICEG), formed under COMSEC, is the culmination of years of effort by USAID-Tarabot and its predecessor, Tatweer, to improve the performance of Iraqi government entities. It is a public entity that encourages leadership and innovation in service delivery by providing frameworks and guidelines for organizational management and institutional capacity development through the application of the Excellence model, which consists of seven criteria in the areas of leadership, people, knowledge, strategy, resources, processes, and results. The Excellence model provides a holistic view of an entity and how these elements relate to one another to affect organizational performance and results achieved. To enable ministry staff to identify opportunities and gaps in organizational development and service delivery, Tarabot trained nine members on the application of the Excellence model. Tarabot also helped the ministry to establish an Excellence unit and provided technical assistance to complete steps required to for the adoption of the ICEG model.
In December 2013, the ministry used $50,000 of its cost share funds to send its Excellence unit to the King Abdullah Excellence Center in Jordan for a ten-day study tour to learn about Center of Excellence processes and mechanisms. With this knowledge, the ministry is better positioned to reengineer its internal work processes for greater efficiency and functionality, and to implement core ICEG components that will facilitate improved service delivery.