The Iraqi government signed three memoranda of understanding with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Population Fund on Monday (March 14th).
The memoranda include economic development projects, projects for the wellbeing of children and mothers, and programs for developing Iraqi government institutions.
The three UN agencies agreed to support the Iraqi government's development agenda over the next four years at an estimated cost of $600 million.
Shaheed Sabr, deputy director of the National Center for Technical Consultancy and Management at the Iraqi Ministry of Planning, said signing these agreements "reflects the extent of the United Nations' interest in continuing engagement with the Iraqi people and its commitment to protection and development".
During a recent meeting with UN Special Representative for Iraq Ad Melkert, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked the United Nations to assist the country in rebuilding ministries and institutions by providing expertise.
Sabr told Mawtani that the UN projects will include an integrated program to train Iraqi officials on development and administration at various government ministries and institutions, in addition to helping to conduct the census in Iraq.
"Assistance in conducting the census will be a real foundation for determining the size of the Iraqi population, population centers, youth, the workforce and the true rate of unemployment, which will enable us to chart a correct economic policy," Sabr said.
Osama al-Khoja, deputy envoy of UNICEF in Iraq, said the organization's agreement with the Iraqi government covers several areas, including protecting children's lives and health, improving water and sewage treatment, and securing high-quality and universal education.
"The current plan focuses on needier children in remote areas not reached by services, where [the UN] will work with the Iraqi government to determine which areas are more in need of services and how to reach them," al-Khoja said.
Sana Majeed al-Dabbagh, representative of the Arab Children's Fund in Baghdad, said the importance of the memoranda are clear, and the evidence of which would become apparent in the coming months, especially in remote areas of Iraq.
"The issue of children in Iraq, caring for them and fighting illiteracy represent an important step in building a strong, solid Iraq," she said.
Ghifran Malik, 41, a teacher in Baghdad, said, "Caring for children, providing them with housing, fighting illiteracy and developing the work of the ministries are all services that the Iraqi government must provide. When it needs help, it must ask for assistance from international organizations."
"Signing these memoranda is an important step and a great accomplishment presented by the world community to the Iraqis. Iraqis are fighting terrorism on behalf of the world, and this is the least the UN can provide for us," she said.
Baghdad resident Muhanned Abdul Razak, 35, said the UN support makes Iraqis feel like they are not alone.
"This support makes us feel that we are not alone in our war against terrorism and that the world community stands by us," he said.