The welfare of society axis addresses the aspects of social care, protection, justice, and rights, as well as civil society organizations. It also addresses the basic government services for the welfare of citizens, such as health, education, environment, entertainment and others.
The average household size in the Sulaymaniyah declined from 6.4 individuals in 1991 to 4.8 individuals in 201525. Furthermore, in 2013 the annual population growth rate was (3%) and dependency rate was 18.5%.
In terms of population density, it reached 96 individuals per km2, and the proportion of households with their own private housing increased from 46% in 1991 to 7.4% in 201326.
With respect to marriage and divorce cases, an increase in divorce cases has been observed in recent years, reaching 2331 cases in the Sulaymaniyah during 2013. However, there are no social comparative studies that specifically indicate the disparity between marriage and divorce cases in the Province center and other districts, in addition to the causes of divorce.
24 Presentation by the Governor of Sulaymaniyah, Dr. Aso Fereydoon, in the Iraqi provincial meeting on 6/9/2015.
26 Sulaymaniyah Province - Statistical Indicators for 2013, Sulaymaniyah Statistical Office.
Sources of Income and Poverty
The proportion of the population living below the poverty line in the Sulaymaniyah amounted to 2% in 2013, which is considered good if maintained and later reduced and the disparity between the Province center and other districts in terms of poverty line is eliminated. However, this proportion is expected to have increased during 2014 and 2015, as a result of the obstacles hindering economy and the suspension of the annual budget, as well as the movement of a number of investments out of the Province in 2014 due to security threats. As per the figure below, the sources of income in the Sulaymaniyah are based on income from the private sector at a rate higher than in Erbil and Dohuk, which signifies the importance of maintaining and contributing to further development of the private sector in the Sulaymaniyah.
2 Iraq Household Socio-Economic Survey 2012- Summary Indicators of the Region, MoPIC-KRG, Iraq, 2013
3 Iraq Household Socio-Economic Survey 2012- Summary Indicators of the Region, MoPIC-KRG, Iraq, 2013
Despite the development in health services during the years after 2003, the comprehensiveness of medical specialties, quality of service, and equitable geographical distribution for competent medical services in particular, in addition to drug supply mechanism, still needs assessment and development. Furthermore, the lack of health insurance services remains among the priorities of the next phase.
Safety and Health of the Natural Environment
Safety and health of the natural environment elements of air, soil and water, including green spaces and playgrounds, constitute important aspects of the well-being of the community. The average share of water per capita in the Kurdistan Region reached 400 cubic meters annually6, which represents twice the world average of 200 cubic meters annually.
The currently prevailing pattern of water depletion and absence of appropriate treatment of wastewater and sewage, in addition to the lack of treatment plants for solid waste and dependence on sanitary landfills, pose a serious threat to the natural environment and may lead to the contamination of drinking water in the future and contribute to climate change that may increase desertification.
This requires initiating pilot projects for the treatment and recycling of waste and intensifying efforts to raise community awareness about responsible consumption of natural resources, on the one hand.
On the other hand, it is proposed that the Regional Government adopt an effective management system of water resources, including comprehensive distribution and coverage of all areas in the Region and the application of the tariff system for drinking water.
With respect to air quality, the measurement and monitoring of air quality and the development of techniques used in this field, in addition to the establishment of specialized and advanced laboratories to measure pollution in the soil, air and drinking water is essential today more than any time before.
The development of the social protection network and provision of housing for low-income individuals through a facilitated lending system, in addition to the issuance of social security, pension fund, and health insurance laws, are among the most important aspects of social security and balanced well-being of citizens. Given the fact that the public sector in the Region, as a whole, is suffering from overstaffing, it is important to have an actuarial study that takes into account the age groups of current employees working in the public sector, in addition to the expected population growth and the expectations of future demand for jobs in the public sector, before the determination of the percentages to be deducted for the benefit of social security, as well as the percentages that make up pensions and the number of years.
Civil Society Organizations
The Sulaymaniyah is one of the active provinces with regard to civil society organizations, such as federations, unions and associations. However, this sector, as a whole, needs review and to follow-up developments, in addition to defining the legal framework and level of control required by the local government. In spite of the presence of many civil society organizations in the Sulaymaniyah, including 22 organizations working in the field of humanitarian aid7, a large number of them are considered partisan- dependent and others do not have the appropriate competence to be able to play their role in the development of the Province. In addition, there is no actual networking among organizations with similar goals and scope of work, as no network or coalition of civil society organizations has been recorded in the Sulaymaniyah Province.
Development Gaps between Males and Females
Gaps between males and females exist almost in all development aspects, starting from economic activity with high unemployment rates among females and less female entrepreneurs compared to males. The gender gap is obvious too in literacy rates, which are higher among females, while social and political decision-making positions are held by more males. Women in the Kurdistan Region spend more than six hours a day cooking, cleaning, and taking care of their children, not to mention other household tasks8. There is an apparent lack of data and studies on gender and women’s rights in the Kurdistan, but the data available to the ministries concerned about violence against women indicate undesirable reality in the Region with regard to women.
The members of pivotal action committees in the Sulaymaniyah Province and representatives of the Supreme Council for Women’s Affairs believe that the existence of a social support network for women, such as nurseries, is one of the most important factors that positively contribute to increased participation of women in development. They consider that the low quality of services provided by nurseries and weak supervision by competent authorities are some of the aspects that require more attention in the next phase.