By Sundus Abbas, SDGs project manager, UNDP Iraq

More than four years ago, the United Nations (UN) Member States unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as an action plan for people, the planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. Partnership with multi-stakeholders including, national and sub-national governments, universities, civil society organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other local actors, will be essential to the achievement of the SDGs targets and indicators. As the Iraqi Constitution clearly pointed to decentralization, UNDP has paid considerable attention to the request made by a number of local governorates on SDGs localization. A pilot governorate has been identified as part of the SDGs project, and to strengthen the concepts of inclusiveness at the local level, a series of consultation sessions have been implemented in addition to other planned ones. UNDP, in cooperation with the Government of Iraq (GoI), encourages local communities to take ownership of the SDGs, which offers tremendous opportunities to catalyze new and innovative actions to strengthen the enabling environment for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Iraq. In this context, UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Planning (MoP), has organized a series of consultation sessions and training workshops since March 2018, with the aim of locating the SDGs targets and indicators at the sub-national level in three pilot governorates (Basra, Anbar, and Karbala) – based on their provincial contextualization, needs, and priorities.

After numerous consultation sessions with the above-mentioned local governorates, a workshop held in Karbala, from 14 to 17 July 2019. This four-day workshop, organized by UNDP in partnership with MoP / Central Statistics Organization (CSO), on addressing in deep length the topics of data collection mechanisms and analytical methodologies related to SDGs indicators, as data are needed to understand the sector’s starting point and potential to contribute to the SDGs localization and to monitor progress. About 31 representatives from different sectors of the pilot governorates, including local statistical departments, participated in the event, as well as 4 national experts’ trainer from the CSO whom have a solid background in data collection and analysis techniques.

The concepts and mechanism for calculating national indicators related to SDGs were presented prior to exploring the most critical challenges in terms of the recent credential data availability in Iraq, both at national and sub-national levels. Then, the assessment of data gaps at the local level was carried out through working groups and discussions – based on selected SDGs indicators related to SDG 1, 3, 4, 6, 16, and 17 with reference to available national surveys and statistical documents.

In order to bolster local actions, the functioning of inclusiveness and the pledge to leave no one behind, UNDP in partnership with the local governorate and the University of Anbar, organized a consultation session on Anbar’s Vision 2030 and its interlinkages with the national vision 2030. The session took place at the University of Anbar on 29 July 2019, with the active participation of about 133 academics, youth, women, NGOs, civil society organizations, representatives from the agricultural sector and Members of Parliament (MP). The consultations focused on Anbar’s sustainable development priorities based on available resources.  The MP “Faisal Al-Issawi” stated that “although it is a great challenge for Anbar to have a sustainable development Vision 2030, after all the fighting against ISIS in recent years that left destroyed infrastructure, the local community is strong enough for sustainable development to happen as they have proven the recovery of the cities within a short amount of time”. The event has drawn the attention of multi-stakeholders through an effective discussion on their priorities aligned with 2030 Agenda and how Anbar’s Vision 2030 can have a positive impact on the governorate’s development, especially after the liberation from ISIS.

Nevertheless, two additional consultation sessions will be conducted in Karbala and Basra in September-October, for further community consultation on priorities as a crucial stage before formulating local sustainable development reviews by the end of 2019.

Finally, in order to ensure a clear roadmap on the process of preparing local sustainable development reviews, UNDP in partnership with the MoP, organized a training workshop to uphold local sustainable development committees in the pilot governorates, on the preparation of local SDGs reporting. The event, that took place in Erbil on 6-7 August 2019 was attended by about 24 SDG’s team members from the pilot governorates, the Director General of the Department of Regional and Local Development / MoP along with the National Contracted Consultant “Hassan Latef”. It focused on local reporting guidelines, preparatory steps for the preparation of local reports and lessons learnt from the preparation process of the Iraq Vision 2030 and the first country Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs).

The two-day workshop has refined the pilot governorates’ draft priorities in terms of global and national SDGs context, through training sessions, working groups and presentations of local governorates’ priorities. After organizing side meetings with representatives of each local governorate along with the National Consultant, three roadmaps were agreed for the pilot governorates to submit their SDGs reports by the end of 2019 - based on the local communities’ priorities

 

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

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