Continued U.S. Assistance to Better Meet the Needs of Minorities in Iraq

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have agreed to increase assistance to Iraqis, particularly religious and ethnic minorities, to enable them to return to their homes in areas liberated from ISIS.

Following Vice President Pence’s remarks in October of last year, USAID renegotiated the terms of its agreement to contribute to the UNDP Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) so that $55 million of a $75 million payment will address the needs of vulnerable religious and ethnic minority communities in Ninewa Province, especially those who have been victims of atrocities by ISIS.

The modified agreement ensures that the U.S. contribution will help the populations of liberated areas in Ninewa Province resume normal lives by restoring services such as water, electricity, sewage, health, and education.

The $75 million contribution is the first tranche of the $150 million announced for the FFS by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman in July 2017; fulfillment of the rest of that pledge will depend on UNDP’s success in putting in place additional accountability, transparency, and due-diligence measures for the FFS.

USAID is also proceeding with a process called a Broad Agency Announcement to solicit innovative ideas that support the resettlement of ethnic and religious minorities in their ancestral homes in Iraq. The results of that competition will be available by early Spring.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

Commission of Integrity launches campaign to engage non-governmental organizations in the fight against corruption

Iraq’s Commission of Integrity (CoI) has launched a national campaign to promote a broader engagement of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society in the fight against corruption.

Under the leadership of the office of the Prime Minister of Iraq and through the Funding Facility for Economic Reform (FFER-Federal) project, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is supporting Iraq’s efforts to implment the refrom agenda introduced by Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi in late 2015.

During a ceremony in Baghdad, the Head of the CoI, Mr. Hassan Al-Yassery, said:

“Only by working together we can reinforce our efforts to end corruption. The six-month campaign that we are launching today will help us to mobilize civil society and improve coordination with NGOs to promote transparency, integrity and accountability for a better Iraq.”

The Director General of Relations with NGOs Office at the CoI, Mr. Mahmod Al-Jboree, added:

“Nearly 300 Iraqi NGOs are participating in this campaign, in addition to academic institutions. By engaging this large number of NGOs from different governorates, we are expecting to raise awareness of 3 to 4 million Iraqis.”

UNDP Adviser on Anti-Corruption, Mr. Anwar Ben Khelifa, said:

“This campaign is one important step in deepening the culture of integrity and leveraging the role of civil society as a key actor in flighting corruption. Through FFER-Federal, we will continue to support initiatives that help Iraq move towards good governance.”

UNDP’s FFER-Federal has already channeled high-caliber international expertise to support top priority reform initiatives. This includes assistance to corruption eradication activities, maximizing of non-oil revenue collection, and support to the Government to meet economic reform commitments and fiscal adjustment made under the loan agreements with international lending institutions.

(Source: UNDP)

The Government of Netherlands has contributed an additional USD 14.2 million (EUR 12 million) to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), which finances fast-track initiatives to stabilize areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The Netherlands is currently the fourth largest donor supporting stabilization work in Iraq, with a total contribution of over USD 42 million.

“Now that combat operations against ISIL are over, the highest priority in the country is stabilizing the areas that have been liberated,” said Lise Grande, UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq. “There are urgent needs everywhere. This contribution from the Netherlands means that we can accelerate progress in the most sensitive areas, including Mosul.”

“Today, in the Old City of Mosul, I have seen firsthand the devastating destruction that ISIL has left behind. But I have also seen how life in other areas is coming back, thanks to the courageous work of the Iraqi people and local authorities, supported by UNDP’s critical rehabilitation projects.” said H.E. Matthijs Wolters, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Iraq, who visited several areas in Nineveh Governorate last week accompanied by senior officials from the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Funding Facility for Stabilization in Iraq and the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), to assess progress achieved on stabilization efforts across the province, particularly in the areas of education and health.

“The Netherlands stood with Iraq in its war to uproot ISIL. Today, we also stand with Iraq in peace, as a focus country for Dutch development aid. We are proud to support UNDP’s impressive stabilization effort in Iraq.”

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence and extremism.

The Facility currently has 1,500 projects underway in 23 liberated cities and districts, helping local authorities to quickly rehabilitate essential infrastructure. More than 95 percent of all stabilization projects are done by the local private sector employing local labour. In Mosul, FFS is implementing 548 projects; 105 electricity, water, sewage, health, education and livelihoods projects are already completed.

“I recall well my own mother’s stories of the devastation of her hometown of Rotterdam, during World War II,” said Ambassador Wolters to a group of graduate students whom he met as part of his visit to the Women’s Education Faculty in Mosul University, drawing parallels with the current destruction of Mosul. “Rotterdam has recovered, and today it is a vibrant city. In the years to come, I am hopeful that Mosul will follow in Rotterdam’s footsteps.”

(Source: UN)

The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany has contributed an additional US$ 94 million (€80 million) to two major UNDP programmes that are helping to stabilize newly liberated areas – the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), which finances fast-track initiatives in areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP), which promotes recovery and resilience-building.

This latest instalment brings Germany’s total contribution to both programmes to $263.2 million, making it the top supporter of UNDP’s work in this area.

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

Nothing is more important right now in Iraq than stabilizing the areas which have been liberated from ISIL.

“The task is huge. Electricity grids need to be rehabilitated, water systems repaired, rubble removed and schools and hospitals opened. Germany’s support comes at just the right time. Three million Iraqis are still displaced. Helping to improve conditions in their home towns is the first step in giving people confidence in their future.

Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Iraq, H.E. Dr. Cyrill Nunn, lauded UNDP’s stabilization programmes in Iraq as one of the most effective and efficient mechanisms in Iraq to lay the ground for the safe return of internally displaced persons, giving hope to those who strive for a normal life again.

I am happy to see Iraqi youth today taking the lead in shaping the future of their country. Germany is committed to support recovery in Iraq, but we firmly believe that it is the people of Iraq who will ultimately determine how successful and sustainable that recovery will be,” stressed Ambassador Nunn on his first visit to Mosul, on 12 December 2017, to review progress of stabilization work in Mosul, especially focusing on health and education projects.

Over 300 participants, mostly youth, gathered in Baghdad on 12-14 October 2017 to participate in UNDP’s Innovation for Development workshop.

Design Thinking and Lean Start-up methodologies were introduced as innovative tools to identify local development challenges and find solutions linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Iraq has adopted in early 2016.

Design Thinking is a human centered approach to planning projects and businesses. It depends on empathizing with target groups or customers, as well as visualizing ideas and solutions. On the other hand, Lean Start-up methodology focuses on learning about the customers and building sustainable projects around solutions and ideas.

The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to present their ideas to representatives of both the private and public sectors, such as the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministries of Youth and Sport, Industry, Labour and Social Affairs, Higher Education, and Planning, in addition to the Technology and Al-Nahrain Universities, Syndicate of Engineers, Chamber of Commerce and Ashur Bank. The participants were also informed about respective governmental and non-governmental opportunities and programmes.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized this workshop under its Innovation for Development Initiative, with funding from King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) and in partnership with Zain Iraq, GigaNet and Frame Production House companies.

Key Ministers and officials from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I) alongside representatives of the private sector, civil society, labour unions, the international community, donors and development agencies convened at a high-level conference yesterday in Erbil on E-Governance and Public Service Centres.

The Ministry of Interior of the KR-I organized the conference under the auspices of the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, H.E. Mr. Nechirvan Barzani, and with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The conference examined progress on efforts of the Ministry of Interior to simplify citizens’ access to basic government administrative services, such as the e-visa and the new drivers’ licence renewal system, through online electronic platforms that can be used also from the convenience of their homes.

This comes under a project entitled E-Governance for Better Service Delivery that the Ministry launched in March 2017, with help from UNDP, aiming to improve the responsiveness, transparency, and accountability of its delivery of quality administrative services to the public. To that end, the project promotes the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), including computer-aided platforms that can also be accessed remotely through the internet.

“The Ministry of Interior is committed to providing the quickest high-quality services to the citizens,” emphasized the Minister of Interior, Mr. Kareem Sinjari. “This will not only save considerable time and money for the citizens and Ministry alike, but it will help address potential administrative and financial corruption as well.”

By the end of the third quarter of 2017, UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) was undertaking 1,208 projects in 23 cities across five governorates in Iraq.

Over one quarter of the projects were being implemented in the city of Mosul, which was fully liberated in July 2017. The liberation of all of Mosul marked an important milestone in the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), representing the biggest city to have been retaken by the Iraqi Security Forces as well as the most complex stabilization challenge to date.

Mosul’s road to recovery has only begun, especially in West Mosul where the destruction is unprecedented. Access to all portions of the city on the western side remains a challenge in some parts, especially the Old City which was almost completely destroyed.

The Funding Facility is working with the Government of Iraq to prioritize the response, focusing on restarting public services and setting the conditions for people to come home with dignity.

In a dozen cities where FFS is cleared to work, many basic services are now functioning. From Ramadi and Fallujah to Tikrit and Qayara, returnees have much improved access to water, health, and electricity services. Schools are being reopened and university campuses are bustling with students.

Whilst a colossal amount of work remains to be done, there is palpable progress being made. Nearly 900 projects completed or ongoing in FFS areas outside of Mosul are helping create the sense that there is momentum and the Government of Iraq is helping returnees.

Governorates that have been liberated for over a year are beginning to transition from immediate stabilization to expanded stabilization priorities. In Anbar, Salah al-Din, and Diyala, expanded stabilization projects that were being designed and procured are increasingly being implemented.

Twenty-four donors have contributed US$ 426,611,814 as of 30 September 2017, and approximately $300,000,000 in hard pledges are expected to be mobilized in the fourth quarter of 2017. This report provides an overview of all FFS activities underway during the third quarter, which encompasses 1 July – 30 September 2017.

Highlights

  • In Mosul, 350 projects are being implemented or developed, 250 schools were assessed, and water has been restored to 300,000 residents in East Mosul
  • In the Ninewah Plains, 45 schools were completed or being rehabilitated. Work on the Hamdaniyah Hospital, the first Expanded Stabilization project in the Ninewah Plains, is underway
  • Two major bridges in Anbar were reopened, and another five are being implemented
  • Housing rehabilitation in Fallujah and Ramadi targeted over 6,000 homes
  • Five segments of the Tikrit Teaching Hospital are complete; the rehabilitation of the main building will begin soon

The full report can be downloaded here (7.6MB)

(Source: UNDP)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

The Government of New Zealand has contributed an additional US$1 million to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), which finances fast-track initiatives in areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This brings the New Zealand’s total contribution to FFS to $2 million to date.

Based on priorities identified by the Government of Iraq and local authorities, FFS helps quickly repair public infrastructure, provides grants to small businesses, boosts the capacity of local government, promotes civil engagement, and provides short-term employment through public works schemes.

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

“The scale of destruction in western Mosul is the worst in the country. The electricity, water and sewage systems all need to be rehabilitated. Many schools and hospitals are either damaged or completely destroyed. Tens of thosuands of people need jobs. With so much to do, we are very grateful to New Zealand for stepping forward with this contribution at this key point in time.”

The Chargé d’Affaires for the New Zealand Embassy in Iraq, Ms. Anna Reid, said:

New Zealand congratulates the Iraqi people, the Iraqi Security Forces and the International Coalition on their ongoing success in defeating ISIL. Restoring core services and infrastructure is crucial to ensuring that people displaced by the conflict are able to return to their homes and communities.

“This further contribution to the Funding Facility for Stabilization, alongside our support to building capacity in the Iraqi Security Forces, demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to support stability in Iraq.”

Established in June 2015, FFS is working in newly liberated areas in Anbar, Salah al-Din, Ninewah, Diyala and Kirkuk Governorates. More than 1,200 projects are completed or being implemented across 23 locations. Since the start of the crisis, over 2.2 million people have returned to their homes.

(Source: UNDP)