The KRG Department of Foreign Relations and the UN agencies in Kurdistan this week agreed to strengthen mechanisms for sharing information.
The meeting was organised by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Department of Foreign Relations (DFR) to provide an opportunity for a comprehensive activity report between the DFR and the various UN agencies, as well as to consider mechanisms for a more consistent and comprehensive exchange of information in the future as well.
Representatives from all institutions of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and other UN agencies operating in the Region participated in the meeting.
In his opening remarks, the KRG's Head of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, thanked each organisation for its contributions to the development of Kurdistan, and he discussed the significance of good governance to the overall progress of the Region
"Beyond all of the construction and the infrastructure development that can be seen around us now, it is important to remember that the apparatus of a government, laws and civil society has had to be established before these more visible changes could take place," the Minister said.
The Head of UNAMI's Regional Office in Erbil Mr Sokol Kondi thanked the KRG for its excellent cooperation and assistance to his team. Comprised of 13 UN agencies, Mr Kondi said that UNAMI plays a key role in pursuing social, political, and humanitarian efforts in Iraq under the framework of the Constitution.
"The developments in Kurdistan reflect a much larger symbolic importance, and UNAMI sees the KRG as an example for the rest of Iraq," said Mr Kondi. He also highlighted the UN's success in localising their workforce, pointing out that their international-to-local worker ratio is now 1 to 5. He also revealed plans to expand their growing presence to neighbouring governorates in Kurdistan.
Each of the departments and agencies provided an update of their ongoing projects in Kurdistan and gave their projections for the future, and Minister Mustafa responded that the KRG considers UNAMI and other international organisations in Kurdistan as partners in its development and expressed his appreciation for their ongoing activities.
He said, "We commend your efforts, whether through assistance with the poor, through capacity building with our public servants or through helping to maintain and develop our infrastructure by providing oversight and assistance with public works projects."
However, he went on to emphasise that this meeting was not replacing the donor coordination meetings that the Ministry of Planning holds, and that the DFR does not wish to intervene in the agencies' work with other KRG Ministries and departments, concluding that the DFR would simply like to know if there are ways that it can better assist their efforts and promote even greater exchange of information between both sides.
Dr Dindar Zebari, the Head of the Directorate of International Organisations at the DFR, also thanked the agencies for their participation in the meeting, saying, "We have a common understanding regarding the priorities and needs of our citizens, and your assistance and contributions are needed to ensure our ongoing development is sustainable. However, we need to reiterate that the KRG's position and characteristics have to be considered when designing and implementing projects in the country."
The meeting was also attended by Mr Karwan Jamal, Deputy Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations.