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The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) is dedicated to bringing together Iraqi and international civil societies through concrete actions to build together another Iraq, with peace and Human Rights for all.

A localised Approach on Consensus-building and Reconciliation in Iraq

The PAX Iraq Alert, a policy brief published by the Dutch peace movement PAX.

September 2015

The latest popular protests in central Iraq point to a general trend of crisis in political leadership. One year since the start of the military campaign by the International Coalition against ISIS (the International Coalition), national consensus and effective central governance in Iraq have become increasingly difficult due to the fragmentation of the Iraqi state and the dominance of regional players at the national level.

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In this context, Dutch peace organisation PAX calls for a localised approach on consensus-building and reconciliation in Iraq. A context-tailored approach towards good governance and accountable leadership is particularly relevant in the areas recently recaptured from ISIS. It is vital that local authorities are able to build responsive and inclusive governance structures in order to regain the trust of all communities affected by the struggle against ISIS. International actors can build on this momentum of national demands for change and restructuring of local governance in areas recaptured from ISIS by investing in efforts to plan for recovery and local reconciliation. This will facilitate the effective reintegration of the ISIS-affected governorates in Iraq’s state model. Moreover, support of local governance can also provide useful examples for peace and security in other parts of Iraq that have been affected by the national mobilisation against ISIS and the displacement crisis.

Recommendations

The EU, UNAMI, UN agencies and the Working Group on Stabilisation of the International Coalition against ISIS should develop a peacebuilding plan, as part of a consistent political strategy, in areas recaptured from ISIS by:

–          Using their leverage in Erbil and Baghdad to mitigate obstruction of provincial governing bodies, such as the provincial councils and governors, in particular the provincial councils in exile, in order to facilitate the rebuilding of strong and inclusive local governance representing communities of both Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and those currently under ISIS control;

–          Facilitating the rehabilitation of local governance structures, such as the Mosul Provincial Council, and empower these structures by allowing them to take a leading role in reconstruction efforts;

–          Supporting and challenging local authorities to develop their own local, inclusive post-ISIS reconstruction plans in consultation with local civil society leaders and leaders of each of the local communities, which should ensure local ownership and increase effectiveness for successful and inclusive reconstruction;

 

For more recommendations and analysis, Iraq Alert II Sep 7 2015