Representatives of the government, private sector and UN agencies have participated in the first steering committee meeting for "Strengthening the Agriculture and Agri-food Value Chain and Improving trade policy in Iraq" (SAAVI) project.
The steering committee is led by the Ministry of Planning and co-chaired by the European Union Delegation. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade will chair Technical Working Groups, respectively on agribusiness development and on trade policy.
The meeting reviewed the progress of ongoing project activities and discussed ways for timely implementation of future SAAVI initiatives. Project objectives and activities with focus on the work plan and priorities for 2022 were also examined in detail.
This was also an opportunity for obtaining feedback from the Iraqi government on the progress to ensure that the project catered to the immediate national development priorities.
The steering committee was held at the Ministry of Planning premises in Baghdad and chaired by Dr. Saher Abdulkhaduim Mahdi.
Eric Buchot, who leads the International Trade Centre project in Iraq said:
"We are grateful for the opportunity to hear from representatives of the government and of the private sector. The insights received today will help us and our partners in ensuring that our strategic approach caters to the most immediate needs of the agriculture sector and those associated with it."
Barbara Egger, Head of Cooperation for the EU Delegation, said:
"The EU is committed to supporting efforts to increase economic opportunities across Iraq. Agriculture value chains have the potential to provide decent work to many young Iraqis, men and women. At the same time, the project will support the Iraqi government as it develops its trade policy and progresses towards the country's accession to WTO, which is a key component of economic development and job creation. I am therefore pleased that ITC is working closely with the Government while also coordinating with partners and the private sector."
The meeting endorsed the project governance structure, as well as the work plan for the upcoming year. PSC meetings will be held annually.
Project steering committee members expressed their strong commitment to support the project and thanked the European Union for their ongoing support to private sector development and job creation.
All members renewed their commitment to contribute to the discussions and agreed that cooperation and coordination among all actors are key for successful project implementation.
SAAVI contributes to inclusive economic growth and job creation, particularly for youth in Iraq, by improving the country's agriculture competitiveness and supporting trade development.
The project is funded by the European Union (EU) and forms part of the overall EU Special Measure 2019 for Iraq which aims at supporting stabilization and governance through building the capacities of key Iraqi institutions to deliver public services, as well as sustainable job creation through the development of human capital and the private sector.
As such, SAAVI is fully aligned with the activities of FAO, IOM, ILO, UNESCO, and GIZ in the domain of private sector engagement and agricultural development.