Press Release

Towards developing a national action plan to promote green business and create better and more job opportunities in Iraq: International MSMEs Day Event

27 June 2024

In a bid to combat pressing environmental issues, Iraq charted a course for a greener future by fostering green businesses and empowering women entrepreneurs. This progressive step involved working on the development of a national action plan to expand the green economy.

Baghdad, Iraq – [27 – June -2024] – In a successful collaboration, the Iraqi Ministry of Environment (MOEN), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) co-organized an interactive event titled " Towards developing a national action plan to promote green business in Iraq and create better and more job opportunities " on June 27, 2024, in recognition of International MSMEs Day.

The event brought together over 60 participants, including government representatives, industry leaders, civil society organizations, green MSME entrepreneurs, and young climate change advocates. This diverse group engaged in fruitful exchange of ideas, paving the way for a national action plan to support green businesses in Iraq, with a particular focus on empowering women entrepreneurs.

The event featured two discussion panels. The first panel included key government stakeholders, focusing on policy frameworks and regulatory support for green business initiatives. The second panel comprised representatives from the private sector, employer organizations, and financial institutions, who discussed strategies, opportunities, and financial mechanisms to advance green business practices in Iraq.

The event was inaugurated by the Prime Minister's Advisor for Investment and the CEO of the Development Fund of Iraq, who stated “The Iraqi Fund for Development was created to address a number of economic and environmental challenges facing Iraq and transform them into investment opportunities. The Fund also seeks to create incentives to support small and medium-sized companies by focusing on green businesses, as these projects have great potential for progress and development.”

Spearheading Iraq's transition to a greener future, the MOEN actively promotes sustainable practices and empowers stakeholders to contribute to environmental well-being. Recognizing the critical role of green businesses and women's leadership, MOEN played a pivotal role in co-organising the World MSME Day event.

" The MOEN’s participation in this event is an important step in promoting and supporting green projects in Iraq. These projects contribute to preserving the environment, creating job opportunities, and stimulating economic growth. Furthermore, The MOEN enhances efforts in both the governmental and private sectors, particularly the project to promote green business in southern Iraq. In this project, the Ministry cooperates with the ILO and the AICS, reflecting a significant direction in supporting such initiatives”. said Dr. Iktfaa Al-Hassnawi, Administrative and Financial Deputy  for MOEN.

The ILO plays a vital role in promoting decent work opportunities in Iraq through its Decent Work Country Programme. Recognizing the potential of the green economy to create sustainable and well-paying jobs, the ILO has made green job creation a significant focus. This commitment extends to supporting training programs, fostering worker rights within the green sector, and advocating for policies that incentivize green business development. 

“Currently, the International Labor Organization is implementing several projects across various governorates in Iraq, aimed at supporting small and medium enterprises and helping them access financing by enhancing the efficiency of entrepreneurs. Special importance is given to women, youth, and people with disabilities. We are also working to evaluate the business environment to implement thoughtful initiatives that will facilitate the development of a sustainable business environment. Additionally, we are building the capabilities of banks and financial institutions to design financial green products suitable for different groups and sectors. We train and certify trainers from various backgrounds on the well-established International Labor Organization tools for business management and financial education, so that they, in turn, can train potential entrepreneurs to ensure the continuity of programs even after the projects are completed”.

The International MSMEs Day event yielded a significant outcome: the initial framework for a national action plan to support green businesses in Iraq. This plan tackles challenges head-on by identifying bottlenecks like access to finance and expertise through collaborative workshops It fosters open communication between workers, employers, and government to develop cost-effective green policies that incentivize private sector investment. Finally, the plan will be refined based on stakeholder consultations to create a supportive environment. This includes streamlining regulations, promoting public awareness about green products and services, and fostering stronger collaboration between government, private sector, and civil society, paving the way for a greener future in Iraq.

The event concluded with a sense of shared purpose and a commitment to continued collaboration. The Ministry of Environment, ILO, AICS, and other stakeholders are determined to build upon this momentum to empower green MSMEs, with a special focus on women entrepreneurs. Together, they aim to pave the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future for Iraq.

This initiative falls under the “Towards more and better employment through enhanced support to private sectors in southern Iraq – with a focus on green business" project, implemented by the ILO with the support of Italy. The project is part of broader efforts under the Iraq Decent Work Country Programme signed by the Government, employers’ and workers’ organizations and the ILO to promote employment opportunities and decent work.

UN entities involved in this initiative

International Labour Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative