1 December 2020; Baghdad, Iraq – The Ministry of Planning and UNFPA organised yesterday a conference to reaffirm Iraq’s commitment to the programme of action of the Nairobi Summit in 2019 which marked 25 years since the International Conference on Population & Development.
At the Nairobi summit last year, Iraq made 20 commitments addressing the rights of women and couples to have as many children as they want and when they want, to have healthy parenthood, be free of gender-based violence and harmful practices and have means to support themselves and their families through decent employment and education.
Yesterday’s conference which was hosted by the Minister of Planning, Dr Khalid Al-Battal, was attended by the Minister of Displacement and Migration, Ms Ivan FaiekJabru, UNFPA Representative to Iraq, Dr Rita Columbia, Director Generals from different ministries, the Head of the Central Statistical Organization, Dr Diaa Awad and members of the Population Policies Committee, in addition to civil society and private sector representatives.
Minister Battal said in his speech: “Iraq faces great challenges, especially amid Covid-19 and its repercussions on the different groups in society, especially women and girls. The pandemic has contributed to an increase in gender-based violence, mainly against women, and exacerbated poverty and unemployment rates across the country. Regardless of these challenges, Iraq is still committed to the ICPD commitments and we call on the international community to increase its support to enable the country to fulfil its commitments and obligations.”
For her part, Dr Columbia emphasised the relevance of the Nairobi commitments to our present: “Health and social protection systems are struggling to meet the needs of affected people those infected with COVID-19 including pregnant women; survivors of gender-based violence; women who are locked at homes and being at risk of domestic violence, unemployed, especially youth, and so many others.”
“The number of vulnerable populations has increased due to the pandemic. Considering the current situation, the commitments made in 2019 are even more urgent now”, she concluded.
The event was followed by the meeting of the Population Policies National Committee to discuss the national framework and roadmap that will provide women and girls and young people protection, access to sexual and reproductive health services and livelihood opportunities.