Supported by the European Union, UNICEF, ILO, and WFP held a landmark Social Protection Workshop with the Government of Iraq to enhance response and accelerate reform [EN/AR]

News and Press Release
Originally published


Baghdad, 31 March 2021 – Today a workshop convening the Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and Ministry of Trade was held to discuss a joint program to reform social protection. The workshop and joint program are the culmination of a consultative process with technical partners including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), International Labour Organization (ILO) and United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and will be funded by the European Union. It puts forward an actionable roadmap for 2021-2025 to implement the Government of Iraq's vision to reform social protection as outlined in the White Paper.

At the workshop, the first of its kind, the deputy ministers and senior participants from the three ministries welcomed the close collaboration with international partners and the resulting planned joint program. They emphasized that COVID-19 and the associated socio-economic impacts caused sharp increases in poverty, unemployment, food insecurity in Iraq and highlighted the urgent need to strengthen the social protection system and accelerate reform. All workshop participants acknowledged that the joint programme builds on the lessons learned from the Government response to COVID-19 and the new reform vision, including expanding coverage and integrating social protection schemes and services at the strategy, program, and information system management level.

The people who the upcoming program and reform prioritize include the vulnerable and the poor, focusing on children, youth, women, elderly, persons with disability, and forcibly displaced persons and ensuring their equitable access to social protection and services that enable them to break free from poverty. The insightful discussions in the workshop covered the joint programme’s four key components, namely 1) Development of a social protection strategy 2021-2025, 2) Expansion of cash transfer programs for children and pregnant women with linkages to key services, 3) Expansion of employment-based social protection schemes to young people and informal sector workers and 4) Coordinating the management of information systems and the establishment of a single social register for eligible people. Additionally, in collaboration with the international partners, the three ministries will launch a ‘sector coordination mechanism’ to ensure effective collaboration and complementarity with national and international stakeholders.

The workshop concluded with the three ministries' and international partners' agreement to finalize, over the coming weeks, the workplan for the program’s first two years. Following the workshop the next steps will include the program's launch and starting the inception phase of the project.

For more information please contact:

Innocent Kafembe
Communication Specialist UNICEF
Mobile: 964 751 015 0949

Abed Alzohra
Ministry of Planning, Iraq
Head of Media Department
Mobile: +964 7903327036

Sharon Rapose
Communications and Reporting Officer
World Food Programme
Mobile: +964 780 915 0962

Nisreen Bathish
Communications Consultant
International Labour Organization (ILO)
Mobile: 00-44-75555-03579

The EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq
Press and Information Officer