Leaving No Woman Behind: UNDP and COMSEC collaborate to integrate gender perspective in Iraq’s public sector

Sep 22, 2016

Over 170 participants agreed to establish a high level commission for women affairs to review national policies and legislations from a gender perspective. Photo: Baraa Afif/UNDP Iraq/2016

Baghdad– In collaboration with Iraq’s Council of Ministers Secretarial (COMSEC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized a conference on the integration of gender perspective as a basic pillar of the Sustainable Development Goals (2015 – 2030). Titled Leaving No Woman Behind: Towards Transformative Inclusive Development, the conference was held on 22 September at Al Nahrain Center in Baghdad, under UNDP’s Iraq Public Sector Modernization Programme (I-PSM). 

Secretary General of COMSEC, Mr. Mahdi al-Alaq, and National Security Adviser, Mr. Faleh al-Fayyad, were amongst over 170 participants to attend the conference, in addition to Deputy Ministers of Planning, Construction and Housing, Transportation, Labour and Social Affairs, Health, and Education. Representatives of national statistics bodies, civil society organizations, and the diplomatic corps also participated.

In his opening remarks, Mr. al-Alaq reaffirmed the importance of achieving gender equality in Iraq, and specifically underscored “the achievements in the health and education sectors,” whilst highlighting “inequality in wages” in general.

Mr. al-Fayyad said: “Women in Iraq have an important role to play in establishing peace and security, and in countering terrorism.”

Participants discussed six papers presented by national experts, including on the importance of gender equality and ensuring women’s full participation in the promotion of peace and security to reach the SDGs. 

UNDP Gender Specialist, Ms. Sundus Abbas, said: “Conflict and violence, displacement, and lack of basic services and social protection measures pose serious threats to women’s security in Iraq and hinder their participation in public affairs.”

Amongst priority actions identified to Support the Government efforts to simultaneously fulfill its commitments to achieve the SDGs and realize gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, participants agreed to the following actions:

-        Establish a high level commission for women affairs to review national policies and legislations from a gender perspective within a national indicators framework to be developed to ensure mainstreaming gender across all the SDGs;

-        Work to integrate gender perspective in security policies and plans at all levels to ensure women participation in peace and security; 

-        Ensure the participation of gender experts in all national efforts on the SDGs;  

-        Provide more support to the Gender Units of various government bodies as they represent the sub-national commission for women affairs in Iraq; and

-        Encourage and support non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to review the Government Programme 2014-2018 in light of the SDGs and assess progress towards gender equality and women empowerment.

To ensure the implementation of these actions, a follow up committee co-chaired by COMSEC and UNDP was established, with the membership of academia and the Central Organization for Statistics.

Contact

Sundus Abbas, Gender Specialist, (m) +964 780 197 6464

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