UNDP Administrator visits Baghdad to reinforce partnership and cooperation with the Iraqi people
Baghdad - Ms. Helen Clark, the Administrator of UNDP and the Chair of the United Nations Development Group concluded a three day visit to Baghdad.
“I came to Baghdad to give support and visibility to the work that UNDP and the UN Country Team do in Iraq.” said Ms.Clark. “I’m really quite impressed with the broad UNDP programme here in Iraq across all the elements of our mandate” she added.
Ms. Clark met with a number of top government officials including the Foreign Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives and senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Planning in addition to representatives of women’s civil society organisations and independent institutions like the recently established Human Rights Commission.
During her meetings, Ms. Clark discussed ways to increase UNDP’s presence in Iraq, strengthen partnerships and provide on-going technical assistance in a number of areas including elections, human rights, public sector reform, improving basic services, gender equality and women’s empowerment, private sector development and economic diversification, water, oil and gas and the environment. In her meeting with the Ministry of Planning she discussed key issues crucial for Iraq’s development including the new National Development Plan (2013-2017), the 2012 National Human Development Report on the theme of youth and Iraq’s progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
“Iraq’s progress in achieving the MDGs has been mixed since Iraq is coming out of many years of deprivation of its people. We have seen progress in terms of a reduction of extreme poverty and child and maternal mortality rates. However, there is work to do especially in the areas of women’s empowerment and environmental issues like water” Ms. Clark said.
Ms. Clark’s visit to Baghdad comes as UNDP finalizes plans to relocate its operations and programmes to Iraq from Amman, Jordan. She stated that “We have taken the decision to move all our substantive staff to Iraq and we hope to see that happen in the coming year provided that we find adequate space in Baghdad”.
UNDP currently has 70 staff in Baghdad, Erbil and Basra and plans to expand its presence throughout the country and employ more Iraqi national staff in the coming year. UNDP has maintained an office in Amman, Jordan since the bombing of the UN Office at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad in August 2003.
Ms. Juliette Touma, UNDP Iraq, email@example.com, +962-79-826-34-37