Capacity development to reform the Public Distribution System (PDS) and Strengthen Social Safety Nets for Vulnerable Groups in Iraq
This Operation has been modified as per Budget revision 1 (see below).
Iraq is at a critical juncture in its progress towards political stability and socio-economic recovery, with challenges remaining from the ongoing political reconciliation process and fragile peace in parts of the country. Recent improvements in access to basic social services have not yet translated into significant welfare gains for the population. Stabilizing the situation in Iraq will require that the Government respond to growing demands to improve the quality of life of its people.
The existing government social safety net programmes are financially unsustainable, poorly targeted and inadequate to protect vulnerable groups. At present, the Iraqi Public Distribution System (PDS) is the largest element of the country’s social protection system and the main source of food for poor people. The PDS is affected by poor internal controls and accountability, and inefficiency in supply chain management. A comprehensive short- and medium-term plan to improve the efficiency of the PDS requires a comprehensive identification of its constraints and the establishment of an appropriate legal and regulatory framework for a gradual transition to liberalized markets.
The Government’s National Development Strategy (2007-2010), the International Compact for Iraq (2009), the new National Development Plan (2010 to 2014) and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2011-2014 have prioritized reform of the PDS and social safety nets in order to better protect vulnerable groups. In addition, article 29 of the Government’s 2010 Budget Law has requested the Ministry of Trade to develop a detailed plan to reform the PDS, with a priority focus on the targeting of poor Iraqis. In parallel, a Procurement Law has been developed with the World Bank, which is currently being reviewed by the Government.
In line with WFP’s Country Strategy for Iraq (2010-2014), the overall goal of this development project is to support the Government of Iraq to strengthen social protection for vulnerable groups through reform of the PDS and development of a more diversified system of social safety nets linked to the productive sector. The expected outcomes of the project are: (i) strengthened capacity of the Government to manage effectively the supply chain of the Public Distribution System (PDS); and (ii) strengthened capacity of the Government to design and implement effective social safety nets to protect vulnerable groups.
This development project is consistent with WFP Strategic Objective 5 (strengthen the capacities of countries to reduce hunger, including through handover strategies and local purchase) and MDG 1 (eradicate extreme poverty and hunger).