Baghdad - 23 February 2020 – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the Ministries of Planning, Agriculture, Health and Environment and Water Resources establish a multi-sectoral platform for the planning, implementation and follow up of agriculture, water and environment programmes and policies in Iraq. The initiative will improve coordination among stakeholders for planning and implementation of programs aiming at enhancing the socio-economic status of farming communities according to national priorities and plans.
The meeting was attended by Dr. Maher Hamad Johan, Technical Deputy Minister of Planning, Dr. Jassim Al- Falahee, Technical Deputy Minister of Health and Environment, Dr. Mahdi Al-Kaissy, Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and Dr. Salah ElHajj Hassan, FAO Representative in Iraq. Also in attendance was Mrs. Meaad Hatto, Assistant Director General of Planning and Follow-up for the Ministry of Water Resources in addition to a large number of specialists from the four ministries.
In his welcoming notes, Dr. Johan emphasized the importance of reviving the agricultural sector to be a leader in Iraq’s economy and maximize its contribution to national production; he also commended the effectiveness of FAO Representation in Iraq in supporting the agricultural sector.
During the meeting, Dr. Al-Falahee highlighted the importance of supporting coordination between the different stakeholders, and the role played by the Ministry of Environment as a national coordinator to increase the resilience of Iraqi society and its ability to withstand climate shocks. He also extended his appreciation to FAO and the Ministry of Planning for embracing this framework for joint cooperation.
Dr. Al-Kaissy stated that Iraq’s agriculture sector has mitigated unemployment in the country during years of instability, despite the fact that the oil sector constitutes the highest percentage of domestic production among economic sectors in Iraq. He also praised FAO interventions in the agricultural sector that have improved self-sufficiency, particularly the promotion of fish farming.
Mrs. Hatto indicated that the Ministry of Water Resources has prepared a strategy for water and land resources, which represents a road map for the development of water resources and infrastructure up to 2035, this strategy, will ensure water security and meet food security, energy and environmental protection demands. He added that the current state of the water sector would result in a deficiency in meeting the water needs of the agricultural sector, amounting to about 11 billion cubic meters annually, which constitutes a threat to stability and civil peace.
Dr. ElHajj Hassan stressed on the importance of establishing a joint framework through an effective, innovative and sustainable mechanism for coordinating the development of the agricultural sector in Iraq. This framework will guarantees optimal investment of resources in supporting sustainable agriculture growth to achieve food security, employment generation and climate change resilience.
The meeting concluded with an agreement to examine the priorities of each ministry in detail and align the plan with the strategic plans of each ministry in addition to setting a date for the next meeting to agree on each priorities according to each ministry’s vision.