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21 June 2021; Baghdad, Iraq - The UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNFPA Deputy Executive Director, Mr Ib Petersen, UNFPA Regional Director for the Arab States, Dr Luay Shabaneh, and UNFPA Representative to Iraq, Dr Rita Columbia, visited on 20 June, the President of the Republic of Iraq, Mr Barham Salim and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mohammed al-Halbousi.

During their meeting with the President, Mr Petersen discussed the importance of people-centred and evidence-based population policies to achieve sustainable development, emphasising the need to conduct the Population and Housing Census for Iraq. He reiterated UNFPA support and advocacy for women and youth rights, and commitment to working with the government of Iraq, the civil society and the international community to empower women and girls through education, especially education related to reproductive rights, so they can contribute effectively to change within their communities.

For his part, Mr Salih called for further investment in youth as the driving force for change and development in Iraq and for the protection of women from gender-based violence.