Practical Federalism in Iraq

The Iraqi Parliament is called upon to implement the politically sensitive federal principles enshrined in the Iraqi Constitution. No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the International Alliance for Justice (IAJ) plan to organise a series of meetings throughout Iraq (including Baghdad, Bassora and Erbil or Sullimania) to enable a two-way consultation between citizens, local and regional political actors and national legislators and policy-makers. These exchanges will create the opportunity to broaden the scope of the discussion about the distribution of powers between the central state and the various federal levels (regions, governorates, provinces and municipalities).
The action builds upon the results which emerged at a meeting on the federal distribution of powers organised by NPWJ and IAJ, in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on 18-26 July 2006 in Venice, Italy. The meeting engaged high-level Iraqi participants, including members of Parliament and leaders of the major political parties, in an all-round discussion stimulated by presentations of a variety of federal or devolved systems by foreign experts. As a result of the meeting, a Steering Committee of Iraqi political leaders, drawn from the participants, was formed and devised a program of activities aimed at expanding the scope of the consultations to a wider audience in Iraq.
The events throughout Iraq will consist of comprehensive discussions involving members of Parliament, leaders of the major political parties, representatives of civil society and the media. These discussion will aim to widen the consensus on the principles of federalism and devolution of powers and competences, offering a flexible variety of options and choices at various levels within the public administration between the central state and regions and governorates for matters as diverse as taxes; public spending; natural resources; justice systems, criminal law and liberty; representation; language; education; culture; and religion.
The activities will also include the publication and distribution of the proceedings and consensus document of the Venice meeting, which offer an authoritative summary of the converging proposals on the distribution of powers as well as a detailed inventory of issues that need to be addressed for the federal constitution to become a vehicle for democracy and the rule of law.