With help from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funding from the World Bank International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI), a dozen Iraqi civil servants are taking a 10-day training session in tracking donor aid.
"The Iraqi administration needs a clear picture and understanding of where rehabilitation projects are being implemented, who is the funding source, what sectors are involved, in which region, and how they link to other aspects of reconstruction such as the National Development Strategy," said Annie Demirjian, UNDP focal point for the project launched today in Amman, capital of neighbouring Jordan.
The 12 participants from the Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation will be trained in the management and operation of the Donor Assistance Database (DAD) to be housed in the ministry in Baghdad. DAD is essentially a web-based information collection, tracking and planning tool to immediately identify who is doing what where.
Similar databases have already been successfully created by UNDP in other post-crisis countries to coordinate rehabilitation efforts and avoid overlaps, notably in Afghanistan.
"Our role is to enhance the managerial and technical capacity of ministry staff so they can confidently use this database as a unique planning tool," Ms. Demirjian said. "The key to sustainability is that the database be owned and operated by local resources."
Today's launch is the first in an intended series of training sessions initially targeting the planning ministry but later, with additional funding, extending to the Ministry of Finance and key line ministries.
"This database is essential for good coordination in our reconstruction efforts in Iraq," Planning and Development Cooperation Minister Mehdi Al-Hafidh said
"With tens of thousands of individual projects amounting to billions of dollars, we urgently need a tool for managing international assistance, to track the flow of aid, to follow-up on-going projects, to synthesize and analyze information necessary to make appropriate investment decisions, both public and private," he added.