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UNICEF and Iraqi Government strategize on saving and improving children’s lives

© UNICEF/NYHQ2008-1500/Kamber
A woman and her sleeping baby are among residents on a street in a village in Diyala Province, about 60 km north-east of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital.

BAGHDAD, Iraq, 10 March 2010 – UNICEF’s Iraq office recently held a strategic meeting with its official counterparts in Baghdad to define the theme and parameters of the office’s 2011-14 Country Programme of Cooperation with the Government of Iraq.

Led by the Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation, the meeting took place in late January. Members of Parliament attended, along with representatives of line ministries entrusted with delivery of services and programmes for Iraqi women and children.

The strategy session followed prior consultations about the UN's overall strategy here, known as the Common Country Assessment and Development Assistance Framework. The priorities of the Iraqi Government's National Development Plan were fully integrated into the discussion, as well.

Child survival and development
UNICEF has delivered programmes and interventions to children throughout Iraq since 1983, working with the government, civil society, non-governmental organizations, and children and young people themselves.

The far-reaching theme of the upcoming four-year country programme – child protection, participation and well-being for development – will be manifested in various forms on the ground, including:

  • Delivering health, education, water and protection services in selected areas of acute child vulnerability
  • Contributing to the development of cities that are child-friendly
  • Empowering children to participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives.

Because 2011-14 is the last programme cycle before the global deadline for attainment of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, UNICF Iraq will also focus intensely on the MDGs, all of which are central to child survival and development.

“This next country programme is critical to start building the foundations of an Iraq that is fit for its children” said UNICEF Representative in Iraq Sikander Khan. “We look forward to prioritizing investments in every one of Iraq’s 15 million children, in order to secure the country’s future stability, development and prosperity”.

© UNICEF Iraq/2010
An instructor conducts training in the dangers posed by guns and other small arms as part of a programme supported by UNICEF Iraq and the Mine Advisory Group.

Training on gun dangers
Meanwhile – in a prime example of the kinds of child-protection partnerships that UNICEF will continue to support in Iraq – the organization has commenced a training programme on the dangers of small arms with the Mine Advisory Group (MAG), a humanitarian organization clearing the remnants of conflict for the benefit of communities worldwide.

Teachers from 60 schools in Diyala and Kirkuk governorates, staff from community-based organizations in Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk, and Diyala, and young people themselves are taking part in the training.

Children, in particular, are at risk due to easy access to guns in Iraq. “In the 16 years since MAG has been working here, our teams have seen too many times how children’s natural curiosity and reduced sense of risk can be deadly,” said MAG Iraq Country Programme Manager Mufleh Talouzi.



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