The meeting of the Cross-Sector Task Force (CSTF) on the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 took place on 12th of October 2017 in the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers in Baghdad. The meeting was presided by Mr. Mahdi Alaq, the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers in the presence of Ms. Bakhshan Zangana, the Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Women in the Kurdistan region, Dr. Zekri Alloush, Chairperson of the Higher National Committee for the Advancement of Iraqi Women and Mr. Ameer AlKinani legal advisor to the President of Iraq and Chairperson of the Legal Committee of the CSTF.
It was a very important meeting as it re-enforced the CSTF, in time where there have been currents attempts to weaken and even to fully ignore or reject the existence of the CSTF. As well, it was important that the Task Force acted as one body, directly after the independence referendum in Kurdistan and the concerns that followed the results.
In this sense, the meeting was a great success and demonstrated that the CSTF is functioning, that UNSCR1325 brings not only women together over different borders but it also brings decision makers in challenging times of divisions. The participation of representatives from ministries in KRG gave a strong signal.
Mr. Mahdi Al Alaq opened the meeting and stressed the importance of implementing the NAP by the ministerial follow up teams. He also noted the UN observations on the implementation of NAP. He explained the difficulties that the country is facing due to the financial crisis and the need to overcome them to implement the NAP by the Task Force. Mr. Alaq underlined the efforts to include a special budget for the NAP and to include gender perspective in the state budget for the year 2018 due to the importance of this subject.
Ms. Bakhshan Zangana, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Women in the Kurdistan region pointed out the great efforts being exerted to implement the NAP and the importance of this meeting at the present time, due to the role of women in consolidating security and peace in the country and countering extremist terrorist ideology.
Mr. Ameer AlKinani, the legal Advisor to the President of Iraq pointed to the efforts made in the implementation of the NAP and asked to intensify the work and to start planning to complete what has been achieved during the past period. Dr. Thikra Alloush, Chairperson of the Higher National Committee for the Advancement of Iraqi Women explained the work of the Task Force and the need to evaluate it on the basis of objective criteria that were developed. In addition, she highlighted the importance of setting up a budget for the NAP in order to enable full implementation of the NAP.
During the meeting, the achievements of the Department of Women's Empowerment were presented by Dr. Ibtisam Aziz, Director of the Department.
During the discussion, the importance of establishing of a Secretariat of the CSTF was underlined, in order to operationalize the work of the CSTF. A need of training of the ministerial teams on reporting on the implementation of the NAP was also put as a priority.
Following on the outcomes, EFI started planning the training of the ministerial teams in Bagdad in order to improve ministerial teams’ capacities on reporting mechanism, and to follow up on a common mechanism for both Iraq and Kurdistan teams.
Euromed Feminist Initiative provided a backup consultancy and advise during the preparation of the meeting as establishing of a Secretariat of the CSTF has been a priority on the NAP implementation agenda. We were glad with the outcomes of the meeting, as it picked up on the discussions around the Secretariat and budget from the CSTF Coordination meeting in July 2017 – the first activity of this project. Establishing of the Secretariat is important in order to strengthen the operational work of the Task Force and support its institutionalization.