Conference Report State-Building: Restructuring governance in the Kurdistan Region Duhok 27 June 2018

While there have been many debates assessing the governance system in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), very few studies addressed this subject with a systematic scientific approach. A new publication by MERI, “State-Building: A Roadmap for the Rule of Law and Institutionalisation in Kurdistan Region” focuses on reforming the management structures and mechanisms needed to promote the rule of law in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and developing methods to create an environment conducive to good governance.

Based on extensive research including in-depth interviews and roundtable meetings with more than 200 experts, the book presents a number of policy recommendations which seek to introduce meaningful changes to the governance system, strengthen institutional structures and empower KRI’s officials to engage in responsive leadership.

These policy tools are designed to enhance the functionality and resilience of KRI’s system of governance in the face of future threats and crises. The public and the political leadership (including those in power and the opposition) have no choice but to seriously engage in nation‐ and state‐building in KRI in order to achieve unity and prosperity.  Left unaddressed, the status quo will not achieve the legitimate expectations of the people and may ultimately lead to failure of the entire governing system.

To convey the above-mentioned goals to KRG administrative institutions, MERI organized a conference on the 27th of June 2018 in partnership with Duhok governorate. Over 130 participants, including high-ranking administrators and officials from within the KRG government, attended and actively contributed to the conference discussions. All three main branches of government (legislative, executive and judicial) were represented, with MPs, governors, district and sub-district mayors among the attendees.

The conference was divided into five panels.

The main focus of the conference was to reform the management structures and mechanisms needed to promote the rule of law and create an environment conducive to achieving good governance, with the following approaches:

  • adopting a transitional constitution for the KRI to serve as a framework or roadmap until the issue of the disputed territories is resolved;
  • devolving the political decision-making authority into the local governments’ institutions;
  • enhancing legitimacy in the decision‐making process and maintaining the independence of government institutions.

Following fruitful discussions and dialogues, the conference concluded with refined recommendations for developing the rule of law and institutionalisation process in the Kurdistan Region.

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About MERI:  The Middle East Research Institute is Iraq’s leading policy-research institute and think tank. It is an independent, entirely grant-funded not-for-profit organisation, based in Erbil, Kurdistan Region.  Its mission is to contribute to the process of nation-building, state-building and democratisation via engagement, research, analysis and policy debates.
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MERI’s main objectives include promoting and developing human rights, good governance, the rule of law and social and economic prosperity. MERI conduct high impact, high quality research (including purpose-based field work) and has published extensively in areas of: human rights, government reform, international politics, national security, ISIS, refugees, IDPs, minority rights (Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen, Shabaks, Sabi mandeans), Baghdad-Erbil relations, Hashd Al-Shabi, Peshmarga, violence against women, civil society. MERI engages policy- and decision-makers, the civil society and general public via publication, focused group discussions and conferences (MERI Forum)

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