Baghdad, 23 November 2020 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) brought together over 90 representatives of local governments, civil society, women, youth, academia, the private sector and international organizations to collaborate and contribute to the implementation of three local projects: Beautiful Basra, Beautiful Missan and Sumereen in Thi Qar. The projects fall under the programme Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by UNDP in partnership with the three Governorates and the non-governmental organizations Mercy Hands for Humanitarian Aid, Oxfam, and Un Ponte Per.
The projects aim at creating at least 1200 jobs through the rehabilitation of public infrastructure and the establishment of recreational areas, with a focus on the restoration of cultural heritage, urban beautification, and promotion of local eco-tourism.
In his opening remarks in Baghdad, Deputy Minister of Planning, Mr. Maher Johan, said: “Iraq’s Ministry of planning has a long strategic partnership with UNDP through which we have been working closely on sustainable development. We are grateful for UNDP as well as the EU for helping us to tailor and implement innovative solutions to local development challenges, specifically in the past few years. The people of Basra, Missan and Thi Qar, like elsewhere in Iraq, deserve better living conditions. And, for that, we are committed to continuing our efforts to make this a reality.”
Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq, H.E. Ambassador Martin Huth, reiterated “the European Union’s commitment to stand by the people of Iraq and assist the authorities and communities in their pursuit of stability, socio-economic development and recovery.” He added: “We are glad to see key stakeholders work together to undertake concrete actions to ensure that development results are sustainable and effectively serve the needs of local populations in the Governorates of Basra, Missan and Thi Qar.”
Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Ms. Zena Ali-Ahmad, said: “The southern Governorates of Iraq have a wealth of cultural heritage, unique ecological diversity as well as natural and human resources that can boost local development. Thanks to generous funding from the European Union, UNDP and partners are now able to support the local authorities and communities in addressing socio-economic challenges and moving towards sustainable recovery.”
Participants discussed collaboration opportunities and synergies between the projects during 17 sessions, including 8 roundtables. Bulgaria’s Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Ms. Denitsa Sacheva, remotely joined one of the sessions to introduce different labor market policies, employment programmes and incentives for youth.
A joint synergy action plan was produced, focusing on clean energy and environment, cultural heritage preservation, agriculture, employment and youth engagement, gender mainstreaming, strategic communications, in addition to the role of the private sector and civil society organizations in local development. The actions include sharing knowledge, best practices and databases, peer-to-peer activities targeting partnerships with the private sector for job creation, promotion of entrepreneurship and tourism, and protection of local production.
Governor of Missan, Mr. Ali Dawe Lazim, noted: “This meeting helped us to recalibrate our perceptions of the vital role that local stakeholders can play with hands joined for local development, through showcasing similar successful experiences in other countries such as Slovenia. At the Governorate level, we will do out outmost to collaborate according to the synergy action plan in order to revive socio-economic opportunities in the south, rebuild and recover with the public interest of the local communities in mind.”
The programme Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development aims at contributing to the stability and socio-economic development of Iraq through enhancing good governance at the local level. It is working to improve the ability of selected governorates to efficiently manage local government and public services. Economic growth and job creation are prioritized, with a focus on green projects and the inclusion of youth and women.
For additional information, please contact:
Ms. Nidaa Hilal, Senior Communications Specialist | +964 751 745 0799
The EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq
Mr. Alsadiq Al Adilee, Press and Information Officer | +964 780 928 5377