The Kurdistan Parliament in Iraq faces severe difficulties at present – but this only makes it all the more important that organisations like Westminster Foundation for Democracy remain patiently committed to continuing our support.
While the Parliament faces headwinds in the form of an ongoing political impasse and difficult situation, the fundamentals needed for effective cooperation remain strong. We are encouraged by the strong desire from within the Parliament to improve governance and the performance of its legislatures. As the rapprochement between Erbil and Baghdad over budget and oil revenues shows, it is possible to take positive steps which halt the process of fragmentation and improve people’s lives.
While it is not possible to work with the KPI at present, work with the Integrity Commission, a significant institution with a legal mandate, remains viable. The success of their work is critical; while it is true that Kurdistan scores poorly on global corruption indices, we believe the development of an inclusive and consultative strategy can restore progress.
WFD’s commitment to Iraq rests on many years of engagement with the country. We have a track record of success, improving policy and legislation by providing research and support for committees. We have worked with civil society organisations since 2004 and, from 2010, supported the development of research centres in both the Council of Representatives in Baghdad and the KPI. This policy work by dedicated partners – who have been praised for being independent, non-partisan and non-sectarian – has influenced a range of policy debates including on health, education, women’s issues and transparency.
Now we are looking to build on these achievements to tackle the issue of anti-corruption. The stakes are high: successful governance reforms can help consolidate the rule of law in the region and directly improve citizens’ lives as a result. This is why WFD continues to look for new ways to provide pragmatic support – and remains open to new funding opportunities as they arise.