Peter Batchelor, the Iraq director for the United Nations Development Programme
Peter Batchelor, the Iraq director for the United Nations Development Programme, addresses a news conference in Baghdad. Batchelor said Iraq has allocated $250 million to fund joint development projects with international partners in 2012. © Ali al-Saadi - AFP
Peter Batchelor, the Iraq director for the United Nations Development Programme
AFP
Last updated: November 16, 2011

UN: Iraq allocates $250 million for joint projects

Iraq has allocated $250 million to fund joint development projects with international partners in 2012, the country director for the UN Development Programme in Iraq said on Wednesday.

"For next year, 2012, the government has put aside in the federal budget $250 million," Peter Batchelor told a news conference in Baghdad, adding the allocation was still subject to parliamentary approval.

"The aim... is to use it to create joint projects between the government and the United Nations and other international partners," Batchelor said.

"This is a really unique thing -- most governments wouldn't do this. They would just expect the UN to bring money, or the World Bank to bring money, so this is a very unique decision," he said.

The United Nations Development Programme, he said, would also spend about $100 million of its own funds next year in Iraq, with an emphasis on three main areas.

One is "addressing poverty in Iraq, because there are more than 23 percent of Iraqis living in really extreme poverty," said Batchelor.

"The second is working to stimulate the economy and particularly the private sector to generate jobs, because the government is never going to be able to actually employ enough people so that all Iraqis will somehow be employed in the public sector," he said.

"And the third is basically... our governance work, and the reform of certain institutions, including the public sector more generally, which is critical in terms of the delivery of quality services to Iraqis."

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