Video message of the Executive Director
Launch of the Iraq Country Programme Document
Good morning to you all. It is a great honour to address this distinguished audience at the launch of the UN-HABITAT Iraq Country Programme. From the outset, I wish to apologize that a prior international engagement has prevented me from being with you in person today.
But rest assured that through this recording I am with you in spirit! I am happy that we are being represented by my colleague, Alioune Badiane, the Director of UN-HABITAT’s Regional Office for Africa and Arab States.
I am delighted that this launch is taking place in Baghdad and under the direct leadership of the Government of Iraq. The Iraq Country Programme Document (2009 – 2011) before you marks a historic turning point in our partnership with Iraq. It is most appropriate that this launch comes at a time that Iraq is emerging from years of unrest and instability. Indeed, the timing here augurs well with the ambitious economic and social development trajectory of Iraq’s National Development Plan.
I am delighted too that the United Nations Country Team has started work on a Common Country Assessment. This fact alone constitutes an acknowledgment of more stable development conditions. It will lead to a new UN Development Assistance Framework that I am convinced will be of great benefit to this wonderful country.
Our HABITAT Country Programme is fully aligned with the current National Development Strategy and the International Compact with Iraq. I need hardly remind the members of this distinguished audience of the very broad consultations with the Government and other development actors that have taken place in conducting our Needs Assessment.
I wish to advise you that as the global financial crisis deepens, we must do everything in our power to ensure that the commitments made to achieve the Millennium Development Goals are reinforced, in rich and poor countries alike – and, right here in Iraq.
This means that in Iraq, decent housing and universal access to basic urban services is critical to the attainment of the Goals. Always keep in sight of the fact that sustainable development depends in the end on smart urban development.
Keep in mind too that the wealth of all countries depends on how well we manage our towns and cities.
UN-HABITAT has a wide range of activities in Iraq in support of central and local government capacity building. But they are focused on one priority, that of addressing the basic needs of the most vulnerable people living in towns and cities.
I am sure Mr. Badiane will explain in detail the UN-HABITAT Iraq Country Programme Document to you. In wishing you a successful launch for a new, prosperous and peaceful Iraq, I now take my leave of you and thank you for kind attention.