ERBIL, February 24, 2015 – The World Bank Group and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)-Iraq, launched today a social protection program of support to promote equity in living standards and reduce vulnerability. The program is aligned with the government’s efforts to develop a comprehensive social protection system and contributes to the goals of KRGs Vision 2020 of “freedom, health, welfare, economic security and opportunity for people.”
Today’s launch of the technical cooperation program which follows the signing of four technical assistance activities between the World Bank Group and the Kurdistan Regional Government-Iraq (KRG) in November 2014, was held under the auspices of KRG Minister of Planning Ali Sindi. The event was attended by government officials, civil society representatives, parliamentarians, and development and international organizations experts.
“We are pleased to have the experience of the World Bank Group to enhance social protection systems in the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq,” said Minister Sindi. “The World Bank will support KRG to meet objectives set out in in Vision 2020, which starts with ‘Putting People First’ as the initial chapter.”
Discussions revolved around the different phases of the program including scope, objectives, timeframe and implementation. Global and regional trends in social protection were highlighted and emphasis was placed on how they relate to the local context of social protection systems in KRG.
“The World Bank is supporting the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq in its overall socio-economic development,” said Robert Bou Jaoude, World Bank Special Representative for Iraq. “Social protection programs are a critical element in building resilience so that people are better equipped to face shocks and crisis.”
The technical cooperation program comprises four activities: stock-taking, benchmarking and assessment of targeting effectiveness; a consultation process; the development of the KRG Social Protection Strategic Framework; and the dissemination process.
An inter-ministerial Steering Committee (SC) is being established to guide the work. The SC will ensure that the work done responds to the requirements of the technical cooperation program and is in line with the KRG Vision 2020. It will also overlook the work of the technical groups and maintains clear open channels for coordination and data sharing amongst all key institutions. The Steering Committee will be chaired by the Ministry of Planning, and will include senior representatives from the Ministry of Labor & Social Affairs; Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Health; Kurdistan Region Statistical Office; and technical advisors from the Council of Ministers.
“The development of the Kurdistan Regional Government Social Protection Strategic Framework will be guided by global best practices,” said Ghassan Alkhoja, World Bank Senior Social Protection Specialist and Task Team Leader. “However, policy options will be presented in a manner consistent with the local KRG context and implementable within a 3-5 year implementation horizon.”