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Basra Compact To Revive Southern Iraq Economy With UN Help Signed

The authorities of southern Iraqi governorate of Basra and the UN Development Program (UNDP) Tuesday signed a flagship agreement, the Basra Compact, aiming at strengthening participatory and accountable governance and reviving the economic activity in Basra, which is not just oil-rich but needs to invest in its human capacity and private sector development. Protecting the cultural and ecological heritage of the Mesopotamian Marshlands is also a priority.

Despite being the richest governorate and hosting the main port in Iraq, Umm Qasr—the only shipping hub in the country—Basra is one of the most affected by poverty and chronic unemployment with 16.1 percent of the population living below the poverty line of $2.5 per day and facing staggering challenges in terms of access to services.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with Basra authorities outlines future cooperation in the areas of decentralization, financial management and budget execution, environment protection, private sector development including micro, small and medium enterprises, and support to the governorate's 5-year strategic planning.

"Basra's cultural heritage and natural resources represent an unmatched wealth of opportunities that can actively contribute to the recovery of Iraq's economy and national stabilization strategy," noted Sabah Al-Bazouni, who leads this initiative as Head of the Provincial Council.

Aqeel Al-Khalidi, a member at the Basra Provincial Council, sought UNDP's cooperation to improve the management system of public finances at the Governorate of Basra, and said the authorities will devote all efforts to achieve the objectives of the Basra Compact.

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