Wednesday, 12 September 2018 21:35

Grant to Support Social Protection Implementation in Iraq

Baghdad, September 12, 2018 – The World Bank Group and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) signed today a US$500,000 (£400,000) grant agreement to support Iraq’s efforts to strengthen social protection systems, working closely with its Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

The “Social Protection Support Program Phase II” builds upon the successful implementation of a first phase of interventions which made several achievements including the introduction of new poverty targeting mechanisms, strengthening the social worker program, development of the welfare database, and the launch of the pilot conditional cash transfer program.

“The Government of Iraq has made great strides in reforming its social protection systems. We are excited to continue our partnership with the Government of the United Kingdom to support these reforms,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq Regional Director. “This program will complement the national-level efforts by providing strong coordination and integration mechanisms across social protection programs.”

The program would contribute to the wider socio-economic intervention by the World Bank in Iraq and will be consistent with existing strategies and frameworks, namely Iraq's Second Poverty Reduction Strategy (2018-2022) and the Iraq Social Protection Strategic Framework, which has been under implementation since 2015.

“The program will support the ongoing social protection reforms led by the government” said H.E. Engineer Mohammed Shiyaa Al-Sudani, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, “It will help us strengthen existing programs relying on the international experience of the World Bank”.

Jim Carpy, Head of DFID Iraq in Baghdad said “The UK is very pleased to provide support to the reform agenda in Iraq. We hope to do more if this kind of activity in future alongside the World Bank and other partners. This specific grant will allow the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to continue with activities that can ensure the improved delivery of Iraqi social protection assistance to over a million Iraqi households in need across the country.”

This program will strengthen the systems and resources shared amongst social protection schemes, while leveraging existing capacities to scale-up resilient interventions in the future. The continued development of the Iraq National Unified Registry is critical to ensure common systems planning and benefit provision across social protection programs. These are also foundational elements for the harmonization across the development and humanitarian aspects of cash (and in-kind) transfers, the utilization of the enhanced role of social workers, and the improvements needed in poverty targeting mechanisms to minimize errors of inclusion and exclusion.

It is more important than ever that government systems are part of the response to assist Iraqi families left devastated by the conflict with Da’esh. A new component of this program will focus on building stronger linkages with international humanitarian actors to reach those most in need with more sustainable and cost-effective support.

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