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United Nations outlines new track in Iraq

After more than six years in Iraq, the United Nations is changing it approach from a solely emergency humanitarian response mode to a track that will focus on long-term social, political and economic development.

world Updated: Jan 19, 2010 07:02 IST

After more than six years in Iraq, the United Nations is changing it approach from a solely emergency humanitarian response mode to a track that will focus on long-term social, political and economic development.

Christine McNab, the world body's number 2 in the country, outlined five areas which would be addressed under this new phase--good governance and human rights, strengthening the Iraqi government's ability to provide services to its people, private sector development and economic diversification, environment and climate change, and human resource development.

"Water is a huge issue," McNab told the gathered diplomats, noting that water scarcity is a looming challenge not just in Iraq but also in the Middle East as a whole.

With one and a half million Iraqis still in need of humanitarian assistance, McNab pointed out that the UN would still be continuing with its critical post-conflict work as well, particularly de-mining and disaster management.

The notable challenges for the country that has seen a prolonged insurgency, according to the senior UN official, would be dealing with issues of urbanisation such as sanitation and drinking water, public accountability for corruption, modernisation of services and strengthening the private sector.

The ambassador from Iran, Mohammad Khazaee, said Tehran looked forward to "working very closely" with its neighbour.

Iraq will hold its parliamentary elections in March 2011.