Workshop in Baghdad to empower additional civil society representatives to influence public policies

Apr 26, 2016

Representatives of local CSOs discussing ways to influence policy making. Photo: UNDP Iraq/2016

Baghdad – To promote strategic partnerships between civil society organizations (CSOs) and legislative institutions in Iraq, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized a training workshop on 26 April in Baghdad targeting 18 representatives of local CSOs.

This training came under UNDP’s Strengthening Participatory and Accountable Governance programme (SPAG), funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Government of Denmark. It is also part of ongoing support initiated in 2015 to build the capacity of CSOs and Iraq’s Nongovernmental Organizations Directorate to engage in the legislative and oversight processes. 

SPAG Programme Officer, Mr. Zeyad Al Obaidi, said: “We aim to enable better understanding of approaches CSOs can use to influence public policies and establish strong partnerships with the legislative branch of the Government. Trainees will be better equipped to overcome obstacles and fill gaps that have long existed, in order to move their collaboration with the state institutions to a higher level.”

“Engaging civil society in legislative processes is key to successful policy making,” emphasized Senior Legal Advisor of the Human Rights Parliamentary Committee, Mr. Ali Omar. 

In turn, Head of Shuaab Democracy Foundation, Mr. Saeed Mosa, said: “The workshop comes at a significant time, as it responds to an appeal by the Office of the Prime Minister for participation of local CSOs in the implementation of the Government Programme in order to help establish good governance in Iraq.”

Establishing 5 pilot advisory boards to work closely with parliamentary committees was amongst key action points trainees agreed upon during the workshop. Others included coordinating with the Office of the Speaker to conduct a respective public hearing session, and with some parliamentary committees to invite CSOs to weekly meetings.

“In the past, public policies were planned within closed groups that excluded CSOs,” noted Head of Communications at the NGOs Directorate, Mr. Abbas Al Hasan. “Today, we succeeded in testing the first curriculum that was developed by UNDP experts to enhance participatory governance.”

Through SPAG, UNDP provided technical advisory support to develop three training curriculums, with the aim of reaching 250 CSOs. Six groups, each comprised of 22 representatives of CSOs and NGOs Directorate, have been established as a pool of national trainers to contribute to building partnerships between CSOs, communities and legislative institutions at the governorate, regional and federal levels.


Zeyad Al Obaidi, Project Officer for SPAG

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