By ICSSI Secretarite 

Iraqi unions continue their preparations for the 4th season of Iraqi Social Forum, which will launch on 30 November 2017 and continue until 2 December 2017. Broad participation from Iraqi trade unions and civil society organizations is expected. The Forum was preceded by a national conference on social dialogue in Iraq on 29 November, organized by the Iraqi Social Forum, Solidarity Center, Peace and Freedom Organization, Un Ponte Per…, the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative, and other international organizations. In addition to these organizing groups, other parties participated in the dialogue on the 29th, specifically, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the Federation of Iraqi Industries, as well as  representatives from the parliament and a number of Iraqi ministries.

The primary focus of the pre-Forum conference was the foundations of social dialogue in Iraq, the rights and freedoms of trade unions, the features of economic and social policies in Iraq, and the importance of social dialogue in the formulation of policies relating to these themes. During the Forum, trade unions and civil society organizations will implement the activities agreed upon at the conference, with special attention given to issues relating to trade union freedoms and future economic policies in Iraq, social security, women’s rights and education.

The preparations for the Forum have been critical to ensuring its success this year — the logistics of gathering such a large and diverse group together demanded coordination at both the national and international levels. In addition to resolving practical issues, the varied perspectives of participants must be fairly represented and addressed. Mr. Kazem Shamki Amer, expert and advisor at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, helped immensely with this complex process. His valuable contributions and proposals during the initial meetings helped to ensure the success of the conference, and will undoubtedly bring necessary attention to the needs of trade unions during this 4th season of the ISF.