My experience with UNDP: An integrated approach to meet the aspirations of citizensOct 31, 2017
By Hoshyar Abdullah, Member of Iraq’s Council of Representative, Parliamentary Security and Defence Committee
As a member of Iraq’s Council of Representatives (CoR) and the Parliamentary Security and Defence Committee for the past three years, I participated in numerous workshops, trainings and discussions organized by national and international organizations. Amongst these, the most significant and beneficial were those organized by UNDP, owing to its integrated approach and relevant topics related to Iraq’s present and future.
A major challenge for Iraq is security, especially in light of the fight against the terrorist organization, Daesh. Since 2003, the country has been struggling to maintain its security, in the absence of capable security institutions that are resilient to mounting challenges with minimum losses. In this regard, UNDP focused its assistance on security sector reform efforts in Iraq. On many occasions, I stressed that existing security institutions need restructuring.
I participated in a few workshops UNDP organized in Sulaimaniyah, Amman, Cairo and Tunis. Amongst others, discussions revolved around security sector reform and restoring institutional and economic capabilities and collaboration between institutions, ensuring effective workflow, capacity building and training requirements, and advocating for quality work - issues of paramount importance to our current situation.
UNDP’s focus on these topics was remarkable, as well as generating concrete recommendations for the development of security cooperation frameworks between the executive and legislative institutions. Similarly, involving the executive, judicial and legislative authorities was key to the success of these efforts; i.e. in the area of security sector reform oversight, adopting an integrated approach that extends beyond the CoR to the state level and strengthening civil society collaboration.
During my time in office, I have noticed the following strengths in UNDP work:
1- Selection of relevant and sensitive topics: many workshops organized by national and international organizations tackle issues proportionally related to the Iraqi context. However, some are not priorities or even of tangible benefit. I can say that the topics we tackled in the Security and Defence Committee workshops were critical and sensitive. Security sector transformation through assessing its strengths and weaknesses is one example.
2- Careful planning with the Security and Defence Committee to develop a work mechanism and future vision. From the very beginning, we had a clear roadmap to guide a series of technical, well-prepared workshops that concluded with recommendations, followed by implementation of the desired results relevant to security sector reform.
3- Objective and realistic handling by the expert facilitators through the application of theories combined with practical examples and experiences that are relevant to the Iraqi context.
4- Teamwork: There was a spirit of teamwork between the Security and Defence Committee and the UNDP team, as well as with other organizations and stakeholders, such as the executive and judiciary.
5- Follow-up: after each workshop, UNDP coordinates with the Committee to implement the recommendations, thus ensuring our joint efforts are sustained and produce tangible results.
Finally, I would like to say that my experience with UNDP was very beneficial at the professional level. Overall, UNDP efforts were an added value to our work, especially in terms of facilitation of our work and identification of gaps in the security sector in order to apply reforms and create a security environment that meets the aspirations of citizens.