19 Mar 09 - UNCTAD, Iraqi delegation discuss plans for science, technology, and innovation policy review
A high-level Iraqi government delegation led by Dr. Samir Raouf, Senior Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, met with UNCTAD officials today and finalized details on a programme to assist the country in using science and technology to spur economic growth and reconstruction.
UNCTAD assistance to Iraq in science and technology is based on a memorandum of understanding signed in September 2008 by Iraqi Minister of Science and Technology Raid Fahmi and UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attended the signing ceremony. The Government of Iraq has since taken a number of important steps to follow up on the memorandum, including the establishment of a national committee comprising 15 ministries and the conducting of surveys to determine sectoral priorities in the area of science, technology, and innovation.
Under the first stage of the project, UNCTAD will carry out during 2009-2010 a comprehensive review of science, technology and innovation policies (STIP) in Iraq.
UNCTAD performs STIP reviews at the request of developing country governments. The organization´s latest review, of Angola, was presented on 29 May 2008 at the 11th session of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development. STIP evaluations also have been performed for seven other developing countries.
Iraq´s efforts in science, technology, and innovation used to be among the best in its region, and a major goal of the STIP will be to help Iraq ensure that science and technology become an instrument for supporting national reconstruction. The overall goal is to help Iraq function successfully in a knowledge-based, globalized economy.
Dr. Samir Raouf, Senior Deputy Minister of Science and Technology of Iraq, meets with Mr. Kobsak Chutikul, Special Adviser to the UNCTAD Secretary-General and Chairman of the UNCTAD Task Force on support to Iraq, to discuss programme of assistance.
In addition to the STIP review, the Iraqi officials and UNCTAD representatives discussed plans for assistance in such fields as debt management, Iraqi accession to the World Trade Organization, customs automation and other steps to streamline and expand trade, investment agreements, and training for Iraqi personnel in trade-related matters.
The UNCTAD delegation at today´s meeting was headed by Mr. Kobsak Chutikul, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of UNCTAD and Chairman of the Task Force on UNCTAD Support to Iraq. The delegation also met in Amman with Mr. David Shearer, Deputy Special Representative (Humanitarian Reconstruction and Development) of the United Nations Secretary-General to Iraq and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Iraq. The discussion centered on modalities of cooperation in the context of the One UN process. In addition, the delegation met with the Economic Reform and Diversification Sector of the Iraq Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).