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The World Bank, Kurdistan Regional Government Partner to Enhance Social Protection Systems

Web News 02 March, 2015 

ERBIL, Kurdistan Regional Government-Iraq February 24, 2015 – Following the signing of four technical assistance activities between the World Bank Group and the Kurdistan Regional Government-Iraq (KRG) November 2014, the World Bank Group and KRG have launched on February 24 ,2015, the technical cooperation program for the development of a comprehensive Social Protection Strategic Framework for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The launch took place at an event heldunder the auspice of KRG Minister of Planning Dr. Ali Sindi, with attendance of senior staff and technical specialist from the World Bank. The event was attended by concerned government agencies, civil society, parliament, and international organizations.

The development objective of the technical cooperation program is to establish a framework for social protection policies and programs that would result in more equity in the standards of living of its population, thus reducing vulnerability. The program supports the KRGs efforts to develop a comprehensive social protection system, contributing to KRGs Vision 2020 goal of “freedom, health, welfare, economic security and opportunity for its people”.

The one-day launch is a platform to discuss each phase in the program and its related activities, as well as a knowledge sharing event. “We are pleased to partner with the World Bank to enhance social protection systems in KRG”, said Sindi, “Our partnership with the World Bank will help us meet objectives set out in the KRG Vision 2020, which starts with ‘Putting People First’ as the initial chapter”.

The launch event was divided into three parts: Part I introduced the participants to the program, its objectives, scope, deliverables, implementation arrangements and timeframe. Part II highlighted relevant global and regional trends in social protection, while identifying the local context of social protection systems in KRG. Part III was dedicated for panel deliberations and feedback from participants on the program and its relevance for KRG.

“The World Bank is partnering with KRG to support overall socio-economic development”, said Robert BouJaoude, World Bank Special Representative for Iraq, adding “social protection programs are a critical element of this, particularly in light of the impact of the refugee and internally displaced population crisis”.

The technical cooperation program activities are dividing into four parts: The first is stock-taking, benchmarking, and assessment of targeting effectiveness; the second is a consultation process; the third is the development of the KRG Social Protection Strategic Framework; and the fourth is the dissemination process.

An Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee is being established to guide the work. The SC will ensure that the work done responds to the requirement 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 KRG Social Protection Strategic Framework will be guided by global best practices”, said GhassanAlkhoja, 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”

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