“I’m right here in a go to of solidarity to underscore the dedication of the United Nations to assist Iraq within the consolidation of its democratic establishments and advancing peace, sustainable growth and human rights for all Iraqis,” Mr. Guterres informed journalists in Baghdad, after touching down late on Tuesday.
After “a long time of oppression, battle, terrorism, sectarianism and overseas interference” in Iraq’s affairs – simply days forward of the 20th anniversary of the 2003 invasion – Mr. Guterres acknowledged that the challenges the nation faces couldn’t be brushed apart.
And amid experiences that Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani continues to face potential political obstacles in reviving nationwide fortunes, the UN chief, in a joint press encounter with Mr. Al-Sudani, expressed his hope that Iraq “can break cycles of instability and fragility”.
He added: “I applaud the Prime Minister for his dedication to handle probably the most urgent challenges going through the nation head on – together with combatting corruption, bettering public providers, and diversifying the financial system to scale back unemployment and create alternatives, particularly for younger folks.
“Such structural change requires systemic reform, stronger establishments, better accountability and higher governance in any respect ranges – and the United Nations stands able to assist these essential efforts.”
Referencing reported divisions over the sharing of Iraqi oil revenues between central authorities within the capital and provincial authorities within the north, Mr. Guterres inspired all events to construct on “latest optimistic steps” between Baghdad and Erbil. “Sustainable agreements” and dialogue must be the long-term goal the UN Secretary-Normal mentioned.
Dignity of Iraq’s displaced
In earlier feedback simply after touching down, Mr. Guterres additionally spoke of his “huge admiration” for the Iraqi folks, highlighting how he had witnessed the braveness of these displaced contained in the nation a number of instances, on earlier visits.
The UN Secretary-Normal additionally highlighted how Iraqi refugees in Jordan and in Syria had proven that they have been in a position “to dwell in solidarity with one another, to assist one another within the spirit that, in my view, is the very best hope for the way forward for the nation”.
Iraq’s efforts to repatriate its residents from northeast Syria – together with from the notorious Al Hol camp – had been “exemplary”, Mr. Guterres mentioned, earlier than noting Prime Minister Al-Sudani’s dedication to permitting the secure and dignified return of ethnic Yazidis to their houses in northern Iraq, after struggling genocide by the hands of Daesh in 2014.
Addressing one other key problem for Iraq, particularly water shortage, Mr. Guterres famous that the problem required worldwide consideration, earlier than flagging the UN 2023 Water Convention from 22-24 March in New York.
The mighty Tigris and the Euphrates rivers have been now working dry and the influence on agriculture has been dramatic, the UN chief mentioned, including that “it breaks my coronary heart” to see farmers who’ve been pressured to desert lands the place crops have been grown for 1000’s of years.
Iraq is without doubt one of the nations worst hit by local weather change, which has pushed displacement, threatened meals safety, destroyed livelihoods, fuelled battle and undermined human rights, Mr. Guterres maintained.
When coupled with a risky safety state of affairs and governance challenges, “it will possibly put stability in danger… so now could be the time for the worldwide neighborhood to assist Iraq in tackling its environmental challenges, diversifying its financial system, and harnessing its potential for sustainable development,” the Secretary-Normal insisted.
Then and now
Later within the day, the UN chief held a press convention the place he contrasted his go to six years in the past amidst the existential risk posed by the battle towards terrorist group Da’esh, or ISIL, with Iraq now.
His go to then was “considered one of solidarity in a second of urgency. Right now it’s a go to of solidarity and hope for the way forward for Iraq. With a brand new Authorities in place, there’s a window of alternative for progress”, he mentioned.
The Secretary-Normal on Wednesday additionally heard from representatives from girls’s teams and youth, who voiced their views on the necessity for additional opening up of civic areas and expressed concern over unemployment and local weather change.
He famous with curiosity, the rising consciousness of local weather change points each from the Authorities facet and amongst civil society. He inspired activists and civil society teams to mobilize and foyer authorities for additional motion on adaptation and local weather resilience.
The Secretary-Normal additionally held a townhall assembly with UN personnel based mostly in Iraq, together with the help mission UNAMI, the Nation Workforce and the UN Investigative Workforce convey Da’esh terrorists to account (UNITAD).
He additionally visited the Nationwide Museum of Iraq, the place he voiced appreciation for the immense contribution made by Iraq to world historical past.
“The contribution of Iraq to world civilization, to world tradition, is completely excellent”, he mentioned reflecting on the truth that the Abbasid Caliphate flourished, whereas Europe was nonetheless a “barbarian space”.
“So, I am right here to pay tribute to all these which might be working on this museum, preserving it within the tough instances that Iraq has confronted some years in the past, which permit us to have the ability to ponder the magnificent tradition and historical past of this excellent nation.”
On Thursday, the Secretary-Normal is because of go to a camp for displaced folks within the northern a part of Iraq.
He plans to satisfy residents and have a first-hand have a look at the work that UN businesses are doing there, serving these pressured to depart their houses. Within the afternoon he’ll head to Erbil and meet varied officers from the Kurdistan Regional Authorities.