Strengthening institutional basis for decentralised service delivery
ASI provided a range of institutional and policy support to Iraq's Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works (MMPW), the central ministry directly responsible for delivery of many services (such as water, sanitation, solid waste management and other urban services) at local level. A key focus of the ASI work was to change the ministry's design philosophy away from the heavily supply side approach of the Baathist days to a more social demand driven approach. This was an initiative promoted by ASI and other advisers from early 2004 but was only formalised within the strategic planning process in early 2005. This has manifested itself in broad goals of investment now for the basic needs for all as opposed to inflated per capita consumption rates without any demand management (which would give disproportionately large resources to some urban areas). The work included the following tasks and outputs:
- On the advice of the ASI team the ministry has created the structures for an office for rural water to be set up in every governorate at provincial, district and sub-district level.
- On ASI advice, the MMPW created a wholly new Strategic Management Office within the MMPW in order to encourage a degree of horizontality and transparency into a very vertical management structure.
- Recommendation for the establishment of a Centre for Physical Planning within MMPW bringing the planning role for the whole ministry under one roof and putting it into the hands of a deputy minister. This initiative, currently being implemented, will provide a central resource to co-ordinate governorate level physical planning activities to share
- Design of a scalable fund for small/rural projects to provide increased local control of projects funded by the US Supplemental programme with an emphasis on moving away from large new-build urban projects and towards investment in existing physical and human capital.
- ASI presented options for output based contracting for decentralised service delivery. This was an initiative raised by US donors PCO but with their limited mandate to construct new-build projects was never followed up. ASI developed the initiative further with a policy paper in March 2005 and ensure it became a key ministry priority.
- ASI successfully recommended the removal of the distortionary priority previously given to industrial projects in the planning process so that industrial demand would be factored into the spatial or urban planning process with industrial projects paying a full share of capital investment in infrastructure.
The ASI consultants liaised extensively with other consultants, local advisers and members of the international community on strategic reconstruction issues relevant to the ministry.