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Concerted Effort To Help Reconstruct Iraq

UN Trade And Development Arm Join Concerted Effort To Help Reconstruct Iraq

New York, Oct 24 2008 12:10PM

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) signed an agreement today giving it access to a fund of $1.3 billion for the reconstruction and development of Iraq.

The UN Development Group Iraq Trust Fund (UNDG ITF) is one of two funds created in 2004 to help donor nations channel their resources and coordinate their support for rebuilding the violence-ridden country.

UNCTAD, which joined 21 other participating UN Organizations in providing support to Iraq within a common UN framework, will access UNDG ITF resources to support its key assistance programmes – the Automated System of Customs Data programme and a science, technology and innovation policy review (STIP).

The STIP review will provide policy support to Iraq for shaping and establishing a national science, technology and innovation system to help reconstruct the nation’s economy and accelerate its development, with a view to becoming a functioning knowledge-based, globalized economy.

While Iraq’s efforts in science, technology and innovation were once among the best in the region, the troubled country’s intellectual infrastructure has been decimated in more recent years. UNCTAD estimates that 80 per cent of the country’s universities and research institutions are not fully operational, and large numbers of Iraqi engineers and scientists have left the country.

A memorandum of understanding on the project was signed at a formal ceremony – attended by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – in Geneva on 1 September by Iraqi Minister of Science and Technology Raid Fahmi and UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi.

At the event Dr. Supachai expressed continuing readiness to provide UNCTAD-wide support in favour of Iraq to “help this country participated effectively and gainfully in today’s globalized world economy and the multilateral trading system.”

The STIP review will be prepared by experts working under the direction of UNCTAD and in partnership with Government officials, private-sector interests, academics and researchers. It will provide a basis for comprehensive Iraqi plans to encourage and capitalize on science, technology and innovation as a way of spurring long-term economic growth, according to a press release issued by UNCTAD.

ENDS

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