Iraqis came together on Sunday to agree on their country’s most pressing needs, and send a message to the international community on what issues should be prioritised after 2015.
With only two years remaining before the deadline of the Millennium Declaration Goals (MDGs), the UN is consulting with a wide range of Iraqi civil society, persons living with disabilities, academia, women and youth groups to add their voices to the global conversation on what issues the international community should prioritise beyond 2015.
“The importance of making this a civil society-led process cannot be understated,” explained Jacqueline Badcock, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Iraq. “The concerns of the most vulnerable, persons living with disabilities, women and youth are often drowned out. This series of consultations has ensured the voiceless are given a voice.”
The MDGs were established in 2000 to respond to the world’s greatest development challenges. They set concrete targets around which global efforts could be mobilised. Despite an increase in the level of income in Iraq, significant improvements are needed to address the needs of vulnerable groups including unemployment, gender-equality, food-security and environmental sustainability.
Iraq’s Minister of Planning, Dr. Ali Shukri, noted “We have made excellent progress in mapping and measuring progress related to the MDGs in Iraq. We look forward to working with our partners in the UN Development Programme to continue strengthening Iraq’s ability to track progress and identify where more work needs to be done.”
The UN designed the consultation process in Iraq to specifically hear from those who have traditionally been excluded from or underrepresented in the development process. Agreeing on priorities for a new global development agenda must be based on an open, inclusive, transparent process hearing from private individuals, to complement on-going inter-governmental discussions.
Civil society groups made the process possible by reviewing and validating recommendations from consultations held in Basrah, Baghdad and Erbil, on employment generation, political inclusion, access to basic services, and the management of natural resources.