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June 31, 2003

Iraq is leaving behind the regime of Saddam Hussein and heading for a representative government. It will take time, however, to establish a representative government freely elected under a duly ratified constitution and supported by electoral laws, including voter registration regulations. For now, we want to work with as broad and representative a segment of the population as possible. As one step in this process, coalition authorities are working with the people of Baghdad to form an Interim Citizen Advisory Council system.

The Baghdad Interim City Advisory Council is a representative body for Baghdad’s citizens that provides a forum in which residents of the City of Baghdad can raise and discuss local issues of concern. It is a mechanism by which they can actively participate in the rebuilding of their city’s infrastructure and institutions.

This is a bottom up process. Neighborhoods serve as the first level of municipal representation. There are now Interim Neighborhood Advisory Councils in each of Baghdad’s 88 neighborhoods (Hayy) holding periodic meetings where residents can express their views. These Councils have selected from their membership delegates to participate at the district level (Beladiya), thus forming nine Interim District Advisory Councils. These Interim District Advisory Councils selected representatives to serve on the Interim City Advisory Council, which is expected to be established within the first week of July.

The ultimate purpose of the interim advisory councils is to be the voice of the citizens of Baghdad. The councils provide a forum in which Baghdad residents can interact with the Coalition Provisional Authority, Coalition military commanders and the Interim Baghdad Municipal Executive Committee, a body that brings together senior city employees and representatives of ministries providing services to Baghdad. Through the interim advisory councils, Baghdad residents can identify their community’s priorities and offer suggestions for rebuilding their communities.

The interim advisory councils are not responsible for the actual delivery of services to the community (e.g., police, electricity, sewage, medical, etc.). Services are the responsibility of the Coalition Provisional Authority in coordination with the Interim Baghdad Municipal Executive Committee. The interim advisory councils are advisory in nature, serving at the discretion of the CPA.

Subject to CPA Order Number 1 on De-Baathification dated May 16, 2003 (CPA/ORD/16 May 2003/01), everyone above the age of 18 was allowed to volunteer to be selected to the interim advisory councils and participate in the periodic meetings held by the interim advisory councils. The process is entirely voluntary. The interim advisory councils must carry on their activities without discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, color, tribe, religion or political belief. Further information about this process, including how you can participate, will be be provided by radio and other public announcements.


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