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New ILO Office

ILO opens its first coordination office in Baghdad

The office will allow the ILO to expand its work to promote employment opportunities and decent work principles, as part of post-conflict reconstruction.

Press release | 10 March 2020
Construction workers taking a break in Baghdad © ILO/Apex Image
BAGHDAD (ILO News) – The ILO has opened its first Iraq country coordination office, in the capital Baghdad. The office will allow the ILO to provide better support to the government, workers and employers of Iraq in promoting decent work and increasing employment opportunities. It will also enable the ILO to support other UN agencies in development-focused work across Iraq.

The establishment of the ILO Programme Coordination Office comes in response to a request made by Iraq’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, during an ILO Governing Body session in 2019.

ILO Regional Director for Arab States, Ruba Jaradat, said reinforced ILO engagement in Iraq will work to address labour market challenges and promote decent employment, strengthen social protection, boost growth rates, and decrease fragile and informal labour.

As Iraq recovers from decades of conflict, we look forward to providing our constituents with the necessary support in order to generate urgently-needed jobs and decent work."

Ruba Jaradat, ILO Regional Director for Arab States
“As Iraq recovers from decades of conflict, we look forward to providing our constituents with the necessary support in order to generate urgently-needed jobs and decent work,” Jaradat said. “The new coordination office will also enable the ILO to better engage with other UN agencies working in Iraq, and support the transition from a mostly humanitarian to a more development-focused approach to UN work in the country. As we look to a post-crisis Iraq, the ILO’s presence on the ground becomes essential to ensure that decent work is at the heart of Iraq’s recovery and reform processes.”

The office will coordinate implementation of Iraq’s first Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP), launched in December 2019. The DWCP, which runs until 2023, supports national initiatives on employment promotion, rights at work, social dialogue and social protection. It will be implemented through close partnerships between the ILO, the government, and employers’ and workers’ representatives in the country.

The DWCP will include development of a national employment policy, employment services, skills and enterprises. There will also be a nation-wide labour force survey, and an employment intensive investment programme (EIIP).

Country programme coordinator Maha Kattaa will head the office and act as the ILO representative in Iraq. As well as coordinating on existing work with a project office in Erbil, the Baghdad office will oversee implementation of a large portfolio of projects. These include the Iraq component of an eight-country programme to improve employment and education prospects for refugees, internally displaced persons and the local host communities. The programme is being jointly implemented by the ILO, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, UNICEF and UNHCR, and is funded by the Government of the Netherlands,

Iraq has been a member of the ILO since 1932 and has ratified 68 ILO Conventions, including all eight fundamental Conventions.

Since 2004 the ILO and Iraq’s government, workers’ and employers’ organizations have worked together closely to bolster Decent Work and develop the labour market in different areas of the country, as part of the post-war reconstruction efforts.

Recent joint achievements include the adoption of a new Labour Law to improve Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work; The ratification of ILO Convention 87 on the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize and ILO Convention 187 on the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health. A roadmap for public employment services in Iraqi Kurdistan has also been designed.