Press Release

ILO, IFI, AICS/ Italy, MOLSA, and key stakeholders collaborated to conduct a workshop to launch the Iraqi Business and Disability Network

09 July 2024

This marks a crucial moment towards concrete steps to implement inclusive employment practices across Iraq

9 July 2024 - Mr. Adel Akkab, President of the Iraqi Federation for Industries IFI , opened the workshop and stated in his speech, "Today represents a new step in the IFI's journey aimed at promoting inclusive employment and empowering persons with disabilities in the Iraqi labor market. We are here today to embark together on the initiation of establishing the Iraqi National Business and Disability Network (IBDN). This initiative is a result of fruitful cooperation between the IFI and the ILO's project to promote green businesses, with support from Italy and various governmental and private entities. We will work side by side with the ILO and all partners to establish the IBDN and make it a key member of the Global Business and Disability Network (GBDN)."

Dr. Maha Kattaa, the ILO Country Coordinator, also mentioned in her opening speech, "Iraq has recently launched, with the support of the ILO, the National Strategy to Prevent and Reduce Inequality in the World of Work in Iraq for the period 2024-2028. This strategy focuses on vulnerable groups that suffer from inequality in the labor market, including PWDs. This strategy has outlined a comprehensive action plan to reduce the inequality these persons face, including providing incentives for the private sector to employ persons with disabilities. The formation of the IBDN is one of the pathways to integrate these persons into the labor market."

Mr. Raed Jabar, Director General of the Monitoring and Planning Department at the Commission of the Rights of PWDs and Special Needs, added during his presentation, "On behalf of the MOLSA, the Commission of the Rights of PWDs and Special Needs, we extend our thanks and appreciation to the ILO Iraq Office for their efforts in organizing a workshop in Baghdad in coordination with the IFI to highlight the importance of establishing the IBDN to emphasize the importance of finding decent employment opportunities for PWDs and integrating them into society while connecting it with networks established in other countries."

Ms Monica Pisu, AICS’s Iraq Development Programme Coordinator, conveyed a brief address at the opening of the workshop, highlighting the attention of the Italian Cooperation to the inclusion of PWDs in all humanitarian and development programming, as well as the importance of making accessible workplaces and in parallel building a mindset more open to inclusivity.

Mr. Jurgen Minz, Disability Inclusion Specialist at the ILO in Geneva, participated in the workshop online. Through a presentation, he explained the importance, principles, and mechanism of establishing NBDN and their connection to the Global BDN.

Mr. Hatem Al-Asmari, representative of the Qaderoon NBDN from the KSA, shared their unique experience and success path in training and employing PWDs.

The workshop included a discussion session that hosted employers with successful experiences in employing PWDs and the head of PWDs Iraq Association, followed by presentations of some experiences from PWDs who have integrated into the labour market through employment and establishing their own businesses.

The workshop concluded with a presentation by Ms. Amal Bani Awad outlining the roadmap for taking practical steps to establish and launch the IBDN.

The IBDN is poised to play a pivotal role in empowering PWDs, facilitating their entry into the labour market, and supporting their entrepreneurial ventures.

This BDN initiative is part of the project "Towards more and better employment through enhanced support to private sectors in southern Iraq – with a focus on green business."



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UN entities involved in this initiative

International Labour Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative