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Thursday, 08 August 2019 21:05

UNFPA Director for the Arab region visit to Iraq Advocacy efforts for the 2020 Population Census

BAGHDAD, Iraq, 8 August 2019 – UNFPA Director for the Arab region, Dr. Luay Shabaneh, concluded last week a four-day visit to Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. During the visit, Dr. Shabaneh marked the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), World Population Day and UNFPA 50th anniversary with the Iraqi people and Government.

The Regional Director also held discussions with high level officials in the Central South area and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq as part of UNFPA’s advocacy efforts for the implementation of the 2020 Population Census.
He met with the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mr. Adil Abdel Mahdi; the President of Iraq’s Advisor, Mr Ali Shukri; the Second Deputy Speaker, Mr Bashir Al-Haddad; the Minister of Health, Dr Ala’ Al-Alwan; the Minister of Planning, Dr Noori Al-Dulaimi; the Undersecretary at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Mr Faleh Al-Amiri; and the Head of the Central Statistical Organization, Dr Zia Kazem, as well as UN officials in Iraq.
In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Dr. Shabaneh convened with President Nechirvan Barzani, as well as the Minister of Planning, Mr. Dara Rasheed; the Minister of Health, Mr Saman Hussein Mohammed; and the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Ms Kwestan Mohammad, in the presence of the President’s Chief of Staff, Mr Fawzi Hariri; the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Dr Aumed Sabah; the Head of the Kurdistan Region Statistics Office, Mr Sirwan Mohammed; the Director-General of Planning at the Ministry of Health; Ms Vian Jaf; and the Director-General of GD for Combatting Violence Against Women, Ms Kurdo Omer.
During his meetings, he received a positive response on the implementation of the census and both Governments agreed that the census should not be used for political gains but for development purposes. Conveners admitted that there might be some obstacles that can hinder the implementation of the census, however, expressed their readiness to discuss the concerns to reach an agreement that will serve first and foremost the interest of the people of Iraq.
“I came to Iraq for two reasons: to celebrate the progress made by Iraq in women’s reproductive health and rights since 1994 and to discuss the 2020 Census with key Government officials,” said Dr Shabaneh.
“In the last 25 years, Iraq has made progress in reaching the goals of the ICPD in women’s empowerment and rights by taking measures to decrease maternal death, infant and children under-five mortality, and fertility rate, which dropped from 7 to 3.6, despite the prevailing unrest in the country. In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, further restrictions were put on polygamy in resolution 62 while resolution 59 treated “honour killing” as a punishable crime,” he added.
“Despite the remarkable progress achieved, yet a lot more needs to be done to achieve the unfinished business of the Programme of Action of the ICPD by ending preventable maternal deaths, ending gender-based violence and harmful practices, and ending the unmet need for family planning. Together with the International Community, UNFPA is committed to supporting the governments, civil society organisations, youth representatives, and community partners to achieve these goals,” he concluded.
On the issue of the census, UNFPA Regional Director asserted: “We cannot fail the people of Iraq. After years of living in challenging social conditions and suffering from the repercussions of war, we will support the Iraqi people by helping them deliver accurate data and design people-centred strategies to help them achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and enhance the quality of their lives.”
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UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
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  • Agency: UNFPA