Iraq is seeking to be a peaceful and stable nation under the auspices of a federal democracy. It is also seeking to be an effective nation that functions in accordance with market mechanisms and a regional economic power. Based thereupon, Iraq will use its economic resources, both human and natural, effectively and efficiently to attain a competitive and diversified economy in which the private sector has a leadership role in generating wealth and jobs, while the government performs an organizational and enabling role to address market failures and ensure equitable distribution of national income so as to enable the most vulnerable social groups to fulfill their role effectively in achieving economic and social progress. All of this is to be achieved with guidance from the principles of democracy, the rule of law, good governance, sustainable development, competitiveness, social justice, freedom, and human rights”. In order to achieve the aforementioned Vision, the Government of Iraq adopted in 2010 the mid-term (five-year) National Development Plan (NDP) that proposes a new economic philosophy based on a market economy. Main new features of this Plan compared to the past are: the adoption of a participatory approach during its preparation; the consideration of private investment a fundamental partner in the development process; and the strengthening of a decentralized administration in order to improve the effectiveness of provinces’ roles in developing and managing their resources and the development process.The NDP translates the strategic vision through the following general objectives: (i) increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) at a rate of 9.38% per year during the plan period; (ii) generate 3 to 4.5 million new jobs through activities and projects adopted by the Plan; (iii) diversify the Iraqi economy particularly the production, agriculture, and industrial sectors, along with tourism; (iv) strengthen the role of the domestic and foreign private sectors particularly in comprehensive animal and vegetable production projects; fisheries; tourism; conversion industries; passenger transportation merchandise, communications, as well as port and airport management; and education, health, and housing; (v) improve and increase productivity and promote the concept of competition; (vi) reduce poverty rates by focusing on comprehensive rural development and the creation of job opportunities, particularly for vulnerable groups; (vii) establish a spatial development trend characterized by fair distribution of infrastructure services and public services; (viii) establish sustainable development that balances economic, social, and environmental considerations so as to optimize use of available natural resources; (ix) increase awareness about and acceptance of the principles of sustainable development and quality of life; (x) strengthen the role of local governments in developing their provinces and building capacity for coordination. The priority is given to the oil and electricity sectors as primary source of financial resources for sustainable development. High priority is also given to the agricultural sector for its contribution to economic diversity and support to the country’s food security. It also has an important role in generating employment opportunities that will contribute to reducing poverty and reducing migration to urban areas. Transportation and communications sectors are also important for their highly functional interconnections with other sectors.The topics covered by the NDP concern: Overall Economy, The Financial and Monetary Sector, Agriculture and Water Resources, Industry and Energy, Infrastructure, Public Services, Social Status, Spatial Development and Environmental Sustainability, Private Sector, Good Governance.To help eliminate hunger and food insecurity, the Plan aims at: (i) a better utilization of capabilities of the agricultural sector so that will become fundamental in and supporting its role in attaining food security, creating employment opportunities, developing the countryside, limiting poverty and actively participating in diversifying the Iraqi economy; (ii) improving the arable land irrigation system to cover another 23 million donoms over the 45 available (in Iraq the donom equals 2500m²); attracting agricultural investments; (iv) developing storage, especially in grains, as a strategic infrastructure component, ensuring food security for the general public.In order to make agriculture more productive and sustainable, the NDP highlights the need of investments in the sector to develop and diversify interventions, which focus mainly on the importance of the operation and modernization of water irrigation and water distribution systems, such as: (i) irrigation and canal networks; (ii) applying the principles of integrated management of water resources for the ideal use of water resources and maintaining them, including the treatment of sewage and industrial wastewater, not letting it go into the rivers before treating it, and studying the possibility of reusing it; (iii) supporting and expanding agricultural guidance, spreading the application of agricultural researchers, and expanding guidance projects so that users of water are aware of the importance of the wise use of water, (iv) Improving water treatment capacity; (v) Establishing an information bank in the field of managing water and irrigation to use in the processes of planning, managing the demand for water for different purposes, developing the apparatuses of measuring wastes and levels and methods of collecting hydrological and climate methods about the basins of the Tigris and Euphrates, and documenting them; (vi) encouraging the planting substitute crops that consume less water and can resist salinization and drought; (vii) continuing to maintain dams and reservoirs and building new dams to store quantities of water in suitable areas; (viii) directing research studies toward finding the necessary methods and applications to increase the standard of irrigation, reduce waste, use nontraditional water resources like sewage and agricultural wastewater, and (ix) considering water an important economic resource and setting a suitable price for it to maintain this wealth. More generally, the Plan suggests entering the field of exporting dates and fruits; making ideal use of the natural, financial, human; and productive resources; utilizing modern technology and foreign expertise; developing a safe and sustainable storage methods to ensure availability of the main crops as wheat and rice.The Policy is strongly focused on the objective of reducing rural poverty. The main actions to be taken in this regard are; (i) developing the agricultural sector, as already mentioned, that creates a vast number of job opportunities, increase levels of nutrition of rural families, and reduce migration to urban areas; (ii) reducing the differences between rural areas and urban areas by spreading schools, healthcare organizations, and water and electricity projects using all available power resources, including renewable powers, establishing rural roads that connect main villages with the districts and counties and maintaining the work force in the rural sector.To enable more inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems, the goals of the NDP include: (i) equitable opportunities for all segments of society to participate in the development process through strengthening civil society organizations and instituting laws that emphasize collective views and inclusiveness in decision making, giving special priority to vulnerable groups; (ii) more decentralization, on both the political and administrative fronts that can foster greater responsiveness in service provision and can strengthen citizens’ ability to participate in the decision-making process and claim their rights; recognized importance to participation of the following groups in the development process: women –guaranteeing their access to resources necessary for production, such as land, loans, income, inheritance - youth, civil society organizations and local authorities.In order to increase the resilience of livelihoods to disasters, the following actions are proposed: (i) ending desertification through expanding agricultural areas and preserving natural resources, reducing urban expansion in cities and working to develop rural areas, upgrading slums to become environmentally friendly settlements, addressing the issue of soil salinity and preventing it from expanding, building an information database for plant and animal species, establishing natural reserves and protecting endangered species; (ii) establishing a national project that deals with studies on international climate change, its effects on the water that comes into Iraq, and the future living conditions in light of expected scarcity; (iii) instituting a special system for environmental impact assessment in Iraq to ensure that investment projects included in the development plan meet environmental requirements and specifications; (iv) maintaining biological variations and increasing the flexibility of food production to meet the challenges imposed by climate change; (v) increasing the number of the natural protected areas and maintaining the ones that are currently available and using gene banks, and (vi) developing environmental laws, regulations and specifications, or updating the existing ones, to match international advancements in this area, especially with respect to the issue of climate change.As for the governance, it is emphasized the need for good governance based on the principles of rule of law, accountability, transparency, justice, inclusivity, efficacy, and effectiveness. The plan additionally emphasizes the importance of modernizing the public sector in accordance with these principles.
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