Representatives from Basra, Karbala, Anbar, KRG governorates and the Ministry of Planning during a workshop on SDGs localization. Photo: UNDP Iraq/ 2019.


By Sundus Abbas, SDGs project manager, UNDP Iraq

SDG Localization is a crucial process in accelerating the implementation of the SDGs in a way that “leaves no one behind” in Iraq. It implies all stakeholders and institutions - government at the sub-national levels as well as non-state actors such as civil societies, academia, and marginalized groups - have the fundamental role to play in the formulation, implementation, and monitoring of the SDGs at their respective levels.

UNDP organized a workshop to support three governates and KRG (Basra, Karbala, Anbar, and KRG) on agenda 2030 targets localization according to the social needs and priorities. This step comes after the Government of Iraq has taken advanced steps towards the implementation of the SDGs targets in Iraq through it's National Development Plan (NDP 2018-2022) goals. The workshop brought representatives from 3 governorates and KRG facing different development challenges as well as representatives from the Ministry of Planning, National VNR Team, National SDG 16 Team, Central Statistical Bureau, and experts from UNDP Regional Hub Office.

The two-day workshop (February 12-13th, 2019) was organized in Erbil and was engaged by 27 professional representatives from the pilot governates and MOP on a better understanding of SDGs localization in general with a significant focus on SDG 16 (effective institutional and coordination mechanism) – based on their contextualization in the context of Iraq along with relevant experiences within the region and beyond. The event helped governorates representatives assess their state of play in SDG localization and discuss the formulation of an effective institutional framework and enabling an environment for a more inclusive society. During the Workshop, experts from the Regional Hub in Amman (Ms. Tomoko Vazeer) and from Algeria Country Office (Mr. Sebastien Vauzelle) have familiarized participants with key dimensions and lessons learned from SDGs localization in the region; drawing upon UNDG corporate tools and guidance and pilot international experiences. In addition to that, institutional and vertical and horizontal coordination mechanism were discussed at different levels of government and non-government actors. Thus, allowing to foster policy coherence between national and local development planning and SDG implementation, including country examples on the SDG reporting structures between the local/national authorities and lessons learned.

Governates representatives of (Sustainable Development Unit - MOP, CSB, National SDG 16 Team, and National VNR Team) have presented their institutional framework for SDGs localization and implementation in term of linkages with local development plans and targets, effective engagement of society and vulnerable groups, progress to date and lessons learned, and accountability mechanisms and reporting processes for SDG implementation at local levels. Some challenges are highlighted, such as how to create integration between existing initiatives and new initiatives, usefulness/validity of the indicators, and stakeholder engagement to achieve collective vision, incorporation of the private sector, formulation of effective urban plans, and community level initiative to address climate change, such as recycling of waste.

The National VNR Team Member (Dr. Hasan Alzobadee) has given deep insight on the reporting mechanism and guidance at sub-national levels with a significant highlight on including a particular section in the Iraq VNR report - 2019 about SDGs localization at sub-national levels. Detailed SDGs reporting guidance at the local level was presented as the pilot governates will prepare their local SDGs reports in next.  An expert from UNDP-Algeria office has shared Algeria experiences in both SDG localization and SDG 16, showcasing their project ‘CapDEL’ - the programme for strengthening capacities of local and community development actors, as well as their experience in preparation for VNR particularly on SDG 16.

During the workshop, key elements that can help and/or hinder the SDGs localization at a local level have been discussed through four working groups where MoP representatives facilitated all of the working groups. Stakeholder engagement including civil societies, public, academia, youth, women groups, etc. was needed to be fostered with high priority in all locations and coordination mechanisms both vertical and horizontal need to be analyzed for improvement, in order to scale down sectoral approaches and to leave no one behind. Despite the difference in the state of play in SDGs localization and implementation of SDG 16+, and preparation for drafting local level SDG report, the participants were able to share their experiences and challenges toward SDGs ownership and localization. Data gap remains a major challenge at both the national and local levels, and coordination with the Statistics office as well as innovative ways of collecting data need to be pursued, together with an assessment of the available data.

After the governmental representatives have appreciated the UNDP Country Office effort and support, the UNDP country office representative (Sundus Abass, SDG Project Manager) has expressed the country office plans  to support the subnational governates towards the strengthen the concept and principles of SDGs localization and effective institutional coordination mechanism toward implementing Agenda 2030 in Iraq with a significant focus on leaving no one behind principles.


For additional information, please contact:
Sundus Abbas, SDGs Project Manager – UNDP Iraq (m): +964 (0) 780 197 6464

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