Joint Programme Launched to Stimulate Decent Work and Affordable Housing in Iraq

Press release | 21 February 2024
Baghdad, (ILO News)- A multi-partner programme to foster decent work opportunities for Iraqi youth and addressing the need for affordable housing, especially among lower-income and vulnerable populations was launched in Baghdad today.

The European Union has provided 20 million Euros to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), International Labour Organization (ILO), and the International Trade Centre (ITC) to support the four-year programme, titled “Building Equitable and Inclusive Transformation (BEIT): Towards Decent Work and Affordable Housing in Iraq”.

Aligned with the key national priorities of the Government of Iraq and the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) to promote decent work and provide affordable housing, the innovative project is the result of collaboration between the project partners and Iraq’s Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Construction, Housing, Municipalities and Public Works, and Ministry of Trade.

Covering the 2023-2027 period, the BEIT programme will focus on building the capacities of government actors, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and civil society organisations (CSOs) to facilitate job creation and bolster affordable and green housing sector productivity.

It will also enhance the understanding and application of national regulatory frameworks for green and affordable housing, fostering public-private partnerships for sustainable construction, and strengthening the capacity of local businesses in adopting green and innovative practices.

The programme also aims to empower ministerial staff and actors in the selected governorates to design effective Public Works Programmes, implement Employment Intensive Investment Programmes, and formulate policies to combat child labour while safeguarding labour rights and ensuring safe working environments for all, including women, young people, and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Dr. Maher Johan, Eng. Sadiq Mohammed Hassan, and Mr. Adnan Kareem Salman, representatives of the concerned Ministries, expressed gratitude for the support from the EU, UN-Habitat, ILO, and ITC. They underscored the importance of this collaboration in promoting economic growth, private sector development, employment, and green economy initiatives in Iraq.

Dr. Maher Johan, Deputy Minister of Planning, Republic of Iraq
“We believe and we think that BEIT project is important for the Government of Iraq because it is in alignment with the Government priorities in terms of covering the existing huge gaps in housing and creating decent job opportunities for young Iraqis,” said Dr. Maher Johan, Deputy Minister of Planning, Republic of Iraq.

In his speech, Engineer Sadiq Mohammed Hassan, Director General of the Ministry of Construction, Housing, Municipalities and Public Works, Republic of Iraq said, “we believe that this project will contribute to alleviate housing challenges faced by Iraqis which will enable them to afford a suitable housing with affordable price, reduce the unemployment rate, support to implement different housing policies and strategies that have been drafted and adopted in the past”. He further emphasized that his ministry will further reinforce the longstanding partnership with UN agencies and European Union to implement the project with collaborative and cooperative efforts that goes in line with the vision and effort of the Government to have a green housing for civilians in away with affordable price and decent job opportunities for those who are unemployed.

Mr. Adnan Kareem Salman, Advisor of the Minister, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Republic of Iraq also reiterated that the project is one of the vital projects in Iraq to create decent job opportunities for young men and women while addressing housing challenges by availing adequate housing units. For us, this project is a solution to the problem of housing and could contribute to an improved work environment for all workers in the construction and housing sector.

“We have found out that this partnership to implement this project is integrated in a way that it has right components, and the results are realistic and implementable. So, for four years to come, I believe that the ministries would seek a strategy to implement this ground-breaking project within the help of implementing UN agencies and stakeholders in alignment with the Government approaches and programmes that are under implementation by all ministries within the direct supervision of his excellency Prime Minister,” added Mr. Adnan.

Ms. Barbara Egger, EU Head of Cooperation in Iraq
Ms. Barbara Egger, EU Head of Cooperation said, “with BEIT we are joining forces for creating more and better jobs for Iraq’s youth, we are joining forces for promoting the Iraqi private sector and with that we are joining forces for creating more affordable housing for all Iraqi citizens”. She further said that “the EU firmly believes that we can jointly mobilize the investment that is needed for affordable housing in Iraq. And by doing so, we can unlock the potential of the construction sector of Iraq construction sector for contributing to better and more jobs.”

Mr. Ghulam Mohammad Isaczai, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (DSRSG/HC/RC)
Mr. Ghulam Mohammad Isaczai, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (DSRSG/HC/RC) stated that "The BEIT programme represents a significant step forward in our collective efforts to address critical challenges in Iraq. By focusing on decent work opportunities and affordable housing, we are not only aiming to enhance the quality of life for vulnerable populations but also to lay the groundwork for a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous society. This initiative underscores our commitment to leave no one behind, by building technical capacities, developing evidence-based policies, and fostering collaboration across sectors. Together, with the support of the EU and UN-Habitat, ILO, and ITC, we are working towards creating lasting impacts that will benefit generations to come."

The joint programme will build the technical capacity of government employees, developing evidence-based policies, and fostering collaboration between stakeholders, including small businesses, in the housing sector. The BEIT programme strives ‘to leave no one behind’ by promoting equity, improving living standards, and supporting economic stability, creating a more prosperous and inclusive society.