An Iraqi Plan for a Better Future

22 Nov 2012

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A National Development Plan Conference was held in Erbil from 11-13 November to develop a unified vision for the future of Iraq. The Government of Iraq is revising the current National Development Plan 2010-2014 to better reflect the emerging development priorities for the period 2013-2017.

The conference, held under the auspices of the Prime Minister, His Excellency Nouri Al-Maliki, convened high-level delegates to discuss the strategic priorities to drive Iraq’s development over the next five years.  The conference, hosted by the Ministry of Planning in cooperation with USAID-Tarabot and UNDP, employed an innovative participatory approach unique to the region. 

Some of Iraq’s most senior public servants came together with representatives from the public sector across Iraq, as well as delegates from major donor agencies and civil society.  The conference generated commitment from UNDP, USAID and the EU to align their strategies in Iraq with the upcoming National Development Plan, thus entrenching Iraq’s commitment to sustainable and democratic, development.

The revised NDP proposes a development and investment programme in 12 sectors worth  218 trillion Iraqi dinars, or US$186 billion over the plan period, of which US$100 billion would be funded by the federal budget and the remaining US$86 billion would be funded by the private sector.  The conference provided a forum to discuss the plan through a series of workshops to debate its key elements.

The Ministry of Planning will use the feedback  to consolidate and complete the 2013-2017 plan, which will address 16 sectors, including education, health, banking and investment, energy, water and sanitation, transportation and culture.  The sustainable development of these sectors is considered critical to achieving the government’s strategic objectives and delivering its commitment to improving the life of millions of Iraqis.

The conference was opened by the Deputy Prime Minister for Economics, His Excellency Dr. Rouge Shaways, and attended by over 400 delegates, senior government officials from multiple ministries, experts from the UN, USAID, the EU, NGOs, academia, civil society and the private sector. The depth of interest and the range of delegates demonstrated a national enthusiasm for the plan and its aims.

UNDP Iraq's Country Director Peter Batchelor said in his opening remarks on behalf of the United Nations in Iraq: “ The plan needs to be robustly evidence-based and aligned with strategic priorities for sustainable development, including enhanced service delivery, a focus on vulnerable and marginalized communities in Iraq, in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals.

The revised national plan includes  quality data and statistics from the Central Statistics Organisation and the Kurdistan Regional Statistics Organisation. This new data will be key in the drafting of the revised plan.

Nael Shabaro, Deputy Chief of Party for the USAID-Tarabot Project noted, “ Development over the past five years has brought Iraq new opportunities for economic diversification and broader partnerships.”

Over the past few years, the United Nations Country Team in Iraq has worked closely with USAID to provide technical and logistical support for the first National Development Plan. Both parties are committed to continue assisting the Government of Iraq to develop strategies, systems and skills to achieve its ultimate objective and creating a better future for Iraq and its people.