The United Nations and Iraq signed Wednesday a landmark agreement for reconstruction, development and humanitarian assistance that will be implemented within three years, dpa reported.
Under the agreement, UN agencies will assist Iraq in achieving its key economic and social goals as devised by the so-called International Compact for Iraq, a UN-led programme for rebuilding the war-torn nation.
The UN will help implement development and humanitarian programmes for better social services, such as education and water, and help Baghdad develop programmes to protect highly vulnerable groups. Iraq's private sector will receive assistance to create more jobs and develop stronger, more accountable systems for governance.
"The strategy signals a real moment of opportunity in Iraq, with greater stability, a clear will to recover, a growing UN presence and better access to many areas," said David Shearer, the UN's humanitarian coordinator for Iraq.
"We will now be able to consolidate achievements and shift focus - helping Iraq to mobilize its substantial capacity and resources while we work to meet outstanding humanitarian needs," he said.
Shearer noted that the three-year reconstruction plan was inked on the eve of the fifth anniversary of an attack against the UN in Baghdad on August 19, 2003, which killed 22 UN staff members. The dead included Sergio Vieira de Mello, the chief of the UN mission at that time.
"Five years later, we are now in a position to strengthen our international presence across Iraq," he said. "We plan to see faster implementation on the ground and stronger policy guidance in Baghdad."
Iraq's Minister of Planning and Development Cooperation Ali Babab, said the agreement represents an important step in Iraq's recovery process.
"It brings the whole UN organization together in partnership with Iraq and its people, to reduce poverty, foster growth and consolidate democracy in our country," he stated.