Baghdad, 21 March 2021 - The effects of the COVID-19 crisis have had far-reaching impacts in Iraq, including those related to progress toward achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.  Accordingly, the Iraqi Ministry of Planning in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme has launched national consultations on the preparatory process for Iraq’s second Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) for 2021. The launch occurred with a workshop in Baghdad to enable local communities to actively engage in achieving sustainable development and to build a community-based sustainable development pathway for the future of Iraq.

Government officials and representatives, Non-Governmental Organizations, public and private sector actors, academics, youth and women attended the workshop to take part in the discussions and provide their feedback for the second VNR.

The Minister of Planning, Mr. Khalid Battal, stated during the workshop: “Iraq is committed to achieving the sustainable development goals within the timeframe and thus we need to invest more in humans development and the youth. Despite the current challenges that we have, we must continue working towards achieving our goals”.

UNDP Resident Representative, Zena Ali-Ahmad, stated that: “Voluntary national reviews are a way to highlight practices and policies that have proven effective in building resilience, in addressing inequality and discrimination, and paying attention to the issues and needs of returnees, IDPs and all marginalized groups that help ensure that no one is left behind, including as part of the response and recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The second Voluntary National Reviews will be drafted based on community-wide consultations, engaging civil society members and national consultants. Seven local governorates will be considered as pilot areas (Baghdad, Basra, Dhi-Qar, Karbala, Anbar, Mosul and Sulimaniya). Close attention will be paid to key problem areas in Iraq, including:

  • Popular movements/a review of the social contract/inclusion of youth in the development path;
  • COVID-19 crisis (at the national and local level / as a multi-dimensional crisis);
  • The economic crisis in Iraq; and
  • Review of the specific lessons learned in a selected number of governorates in Iraq within the sustainable development framework.

The United Nations Development Programme will support the National SDGs Committee to highlight the challenges and opportunities as the markers for the future of Iraq and to present the country's best practices towardthe 2030 Agenda.

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