Symposium sheds light on Iraq’s social security and protection policies and practices

With the support of the European Union, the symposium was an opportunity to analyse challenges and good practices on key aspects shaping Iraq’s labour market and directions for more inclusive social security systems.

News | 28 May 2022
Baghdad, Iraq (ILO News) The International Labour Organization (ILO), together with ‘Al Malooma’ – Information Centre for Research and Development, organized a one-day national symposium in Baghdad to discuss key policies and practices related to social security and protection and their implications on the country’s labour force.

The event, entitled “Iraq 2050: Economically Productive and Socially Protected” brought together scholars, academic and experts; representatives from the government and members of parliament; employers' and workers' organizations; key policymakers and practitioners; as well as UN and development agencies.

"It is our pleasure to accept your invitation to attend this symposium due to its importance in devising future plans for Iraq 2050, while holding discussions on some of the challenges that the country will face in the coming decades in relation to the local and global labour market, and efforts needed to create decent jobs for all, which will contribute to achieving equality and social justice for members of society,” said Mr. Amir Kamel Al-Mamouri, Member of the Parliamentarian Committee on Labour.

Dr. Maher Hammad Johan, Deputy Minister of Planning for Technical Affairs, added: “It is important to hold such symposiums which ensure the participation of relevant stakeholders in discussions on important issues related to the revision of laws, especially in the presence of members of parliament. This law (being discussed) covers social security and social protection and the labour laws. Information provided from international experience and experts is a great resource which will contribute to our outcomes”."

The symposium was an opportunity to analyse challenges and good practices on key aspects shaping Iraq’s labour market and directions for more inclusive and integrated social policies that will create decent employment and protection for workers and their families.

“It is important to have a long-term vision of the country’s developmental path so that future generations can benefit from more inclusive systems of social protection that support economic development and promote fundamental rights at work,” said Dr. Maha Kattaa, ILO Country Coordinator in Iraq during the event on Saturday (May 28). “This symposium is a platform for constructive dialogue between all relevant parties on those critical issues, to exchange knowledge, explore challenges and propose directions for improvements." 

“Today’s symposium is an important step for accelerating the inclusive discussion with all stakeholders including civil society on the pathways towards extending social security for all Iraqis,” said Ms. Barbara Egger, Head of Cooperation for the European Union in Iraq. “For the economic transformation of Iraq and in particular to increase the attractiveness of employment in the nascent private sector, it is imperative to ensure that working youth and adults, irrespective of the form of employment, are covered by an effective, efficient as well as fiscally sustainable social security system.”

“As European Union and together with our UN partners, we will continue providing support to Iraq for the reform of the wider social protection system and in particular, social security,” Egger added.

The discussions were based on seven evidence-based papers developed by researchers in Iraq and the ILO that span several topics including: demographic shifts in relation to the socio-economic environment; informality and employment; social security and protection; private sector development and employment; education and the labour market; and the role of the government, employers and workers in creating jobs.

The symposium is part of broader efforts, supported by the European Union, to reform social protection in Iraq. Under this programme, the ILO has been working with its tripartite constituents - government, employer, and worker representatives - to review a draft retirement and social security law, which is in the process of enactment. The draft law aims to replace Social Security Law No. 39 of 1971 and bring in several changes that would make the Iraqi social security legislation closer to meeting the minimum requirements of International Labour Standards. 

Key improvements under the draft law include extending coverage to informal economy workers and introducing new short-term benefits such as those related to maternity and unemployment.