With support from the European Union, UNICEF, WFP, and ILO partner with the Kurdistan Regional Government to reform social protection
Erbil, –The Ministry of Planning and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Kurdistan Regional Government, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and the International Labour Organization (ILO), today launched a new programme to reform the social protection system and the effectiveness of its response to ongoing socio-economic shocks. This important work is funded by the European Union (EU) which has prioritised support for Iraq to build a sustainable and more inclusive social protection system for families in need.
The Ministry of Planning and Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Kurdistan Regional Government launched this new partnership with the three UN Agencies in line with their vision to develop an effective social protection response and to accelerate reform.
The joint programme will contribute to social protection reform by adapting, expanding, and innovating social protection responses to address the immediate needs of women, children, their families, workers in the informal sector and communities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reforms aim to improve the public policy environment for sustainable and inclusive expansion of social protection, and to reinforce capacities of regional authorities to deliver quality child, age, and disability sensitive, and gender responsive social protection programmes and services, fill in gaps in employment related social insurance and assistance, and make social protection schemes food security sensitive and nutrition sensitive.
The programme aims to support the Ministries of Planning, and Labour and Social Affairs to update the Kurdistan Region’s Social Protection Strategic Framework, developing reform scenarios and a roadmap, introducing a cash transfer targeting children and pregnant women with linkages to health and education. The programme also aims to expand the scope and coverage ofthe contributory social security system and active labour market programmes to young people and informal workers, coordinate management of information systems and establish a single registry of people in need of assistance.
“Social protection reform means we can better fight poverty and ensure that vulnerable women, children and their families are included and supported. This programme is just the beginning of a process that will improve access to basic needs such as food, access to health care, education and vital public services for vulnerable families, as well as employment opportunities and improved working conditions,” said UNICEF Iraq Representative Sheema Sen Gupta, WFP Iraq Representative Ally Raza Qureshi, ILO Country Coordinator in Iraq Maha Kattaa, and EU Head of Cooperation Barbara Egger, in a joint statement.
As part of this project the UN agencies will support the Ministry of Planning and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in gathering evidence, such as assessing and mapping social protection, reviewing public expenditure on social protection, and analysing multidimensional poverty, food insecurity, the labour force, and household access to social protection.
As a result, the Social Protection Programme will lay the groundwork for an evidence-based approach to social protection reform that is backed up by legislation, strengthened institutional capacities, and effective coordination.