IOM Iraq’s Enterprise Development Fund (EDF) encourages rapid, large-scale private sector job creation and economic recovery through tailored support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The EDF is a financing mechanism that provides SMEs with financial capital to contribute to their recovery and/or expansion.

To assess the capacity of the market to absorb medium-sized grants, the EDF market assessment was rolled out in Kirkuk, Fallujah, and Mosul in November 2018.

The assessment was led by IOM Iraq’s Return and Recovery Unit (RRU) and contributes to the necessary groundwork to introduce the EDF in any location.

Please see below the assessments for three governorates:

(Source: IOM)

EU-funded programme Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development – Launch of the Yarmouk Park Rehabilitation Project in Mosul

Mosul local authorities and citizens gathered in Al Yarmouk Park in West Mosul on 2 May 2019 to launch the rehabilitation works that will be conducted under the programme Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development.

The programme, which will target nine governorates, is funded by the European Union (EU) with €47.5 million over 4 years, and implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).

Along with the rehabilitation of damaged housing, public facilities and secondary infrastructure in conflict-affected areas, the recovery of open spaces and public amenities for citizens emerged as one of the key priorities listed in the Provincial Recovery Plans developed by the governorates of Nineveh, Salah al Din and Anbar, under the flagship Local Area Development Programme (LADP II) that was also funded by the EU and concluded in mid-2018. In the city of Mosul, the programme will be investing USD 2 million in Al Yarmouk Park and adjacent residential area.

Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq, Mr. Tomas Reyes Ortega, stated:

“The rehabilitation of Al Yarmouk Park is a great example on how we can contribute to the quality of life in cities in inclusive and participative ways. I look forward to coming back in a couple of years and seeing this project become a reality as part of the reconstruction of Mosul to which the EU is firmly committed.”

Speaking on behalf of the Nineveh Crisis Cell, Dr. Qussay Al-Assaf, Advisor to Governor, stated:

“We support all the activities and projects carried out by the organizations within the governorate, including UN-Habitat. The agreement to launch the programme was recently signed in Erbil in the presence of 9 Iraqi governorates. In Nineveh, the EU-funded programme will be implemented in two phases: first in Mosul District and then in Tal Afar District.”

Qa’im Maqam of Mosul, Mr. Zuheer Al-Araji, said:

“We are pleased to be here today in such a place in the center of the city of Mosul that is truly in need of attention and care. I thank and appreciate the efforts and great cooperation between the service departments of Mosul Municipality and the departments of Sewerage and Water, besides the high-level of coordination with UN agencies. My thanks and appreciation to UN-Habitat for their presence in areas that really need housing rehabilitation assistance and today is for the parks rehabilitation.”

Head of Mosul Municipality, Mr Radhwan Ahmed Suliman, acknowledged the generous support of the European Union and spoke about the on-going one-day cleaning campaign that engaged more than 100 daily workers and 60 volunteers from Su’ad Mosuliya in a joint effort to remove garbage from the park and adjacent residential area:

“We are very pleased that UN-Habitat has chosen this area within low-income overcrowded areas that have not been visited by many This project is funded by the European Union organizations and thus not receiving much upgrading assistance. We strongly support this effort and these projects and, God willing, will be working alongside UN-Habitat in all future projects.”

Head of UN-Habitat Iraq Programme, a.i., Ms. Yuko Otsuki, said:

“The rehabilitation of Al Yarmouk Park will be the core of a wide range of public initiatives, environmental actions, cultural events, recreation and sport activities that will benefit Mosul citizens of all ages. In UN-Habitat, we believe that public space plays a crucial role in the creation of socio-economic value, improved health and quality of life in urban areas, as well as a unique opportunity to enhance social inclusion, cohesion and peace-building in cities affected by a recent conflict.”

The manager of the programme, Ms. Anna Soave stated that:

“Al Yarmouk Park has immediately drawn our attention because of its unique size and very dilapidated conditions, in a city where public green space per capita is notoriously well-below average and recommended standards. Public space is a vital component of a prosperous city because of its positive impact on its economy, environment, safety, health, and strong contribution to community cohesion. By involving youth in its redesign as a multi-functional space, Al Yarmouk Park has a strong potential to enhance civic identity, social interaction and cultural expression.”

A Yarmouk Cleaning Day was launched in the early morning, as a joint initiative of Mosul Municipality, UN-Habitat and Su’ad Mosuliya. Prior to embarking in the cleaning of the park and adjacent streets, municipal workers and volunteers attended risk education sessions delivered by UNMAS and IHSCO.

After the launching speeches, local officials and Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq, Mr. Tomas Reyes Ortega took part to the ceremonial planting of two large palms, making the commencement of the works in the park, and were then invited to cheer schoolchildren from nearby schools engaged in a set of running competitions.

(Source: ReliefWeb)

Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development

The Steering Committee of the programme Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development held its first annual meeting in Erbil, on 17 April 2019. The programme is funded by the European Union (EU) with €47.5 million over 4 years, and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).

The Steering Committee endorsed the programme’s workplan, identifying key priority projects to be implemented in nine Governorates: Anbar, Basra, Duhok, Erbil, Missan, Ninewah, Salah al-Din, Sulaimaniyah, and Thi Qar. The projects derived from the Provincial Development Plans and the Sustainable Energy Action Plans, developed under the flagship Local Area Development Programme (LADP II) that concluded in mid 2018.

The programme revolves around supporting the decentralization of powers from central to local authorities, including through the development of institutional capacities, the optimization of revenue generation systems, peer-to-peer partnerships with EU local authorities, and the empowerment of civil society to advocate for local development causes.

Minister of Planning at the Federal Government of Iraq, Dr. Nouri Al Dulaimi, said: “Today, we endorsed a robust workplan addressing local priorities, such as decentralization, job creation and public services, in areas where needed most. With this endorsement, we renew our commitment to work closely with our strategic partners towards making sustainable, inclusive local development a reality.”

Minister of Planning at the Kurdistan Regional Government, Dr. Ali Sindi, noted: “Our past joint efforts under the EU-funded LADP II produced the Provincial Development Plans and the Sustainable Energy Action Plans. We are glad to be building upon this achievement, with the support of UNDP, to move to the next level of executing sustainable energy, environmental action and climate change adaptation initiatives.”

Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq, H.E. Ambassador Ramon Blecua, said:

The European Union continues to show its commitment in supporting local development in Iraq. The Steering Committee meeting held today, was a great opportunity to agree all together on concrete actions to be implemented at local level in the next months.

“I am happy to see this new programme in full implementation mode and look forward to its quick results, so to deliver services and livelihoods opportunities and make a difference in daily life of the Iraqi population.

Officer-in-Charge of UNDP Iraq, Mr. Vakhtang Svanidze, said:

“Under this EU-funded programme, we will do our utmost to help Iraqis in their pursuit of effective local governance for improved living conditions to all, especially the most vulnerable. This is of paramount importance to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Iraq in the long run.”

Head of UNDP Office in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I), Ms. Isabela Uribe, reiterated:

“I am more than glad that we are going local with practical solutions touching people’ s daily life. Thanks to the generosity of the EU, with ample cooperation of the federal and local authorities and the hard work of UNDP and UN-Habitat, an inclusive, transparent and cutting edge approach to local development is going to place citizens in the driving seat of a new social agenda.”

Under the new programme, UN-Habitat will contribute to the stability and socio-economic development of Iraq by improving living conditions and enhancing service delivery at the local level, through urban recovery investments and job opportunities in conflict-affected areas, and revenue generation in five governorates.

Head of UN-Habitat Iraq, a.i., Ms. Yuko Otsuki , stated that “immediate interventions will prioritize urban recovery activities, such as the rehabilitation of damaged housing and schools, repairs to secondary infrastructure through job creation and skill enhancement, and involving youth in the redesign and recovery of public spaces.”

A decision-making body, the Steering Committee is comprised of Iraq’s Minister of Planning, Dr. Nouri Al Dulaimi, Kurdistan Region’s Minister of Planning, Dr. Ali Sindi, as well as the Governors of the aforementioned Governorates where the programme will be active. Members also include UNDP and UN-Habitat as implementing partners, along with the EU Head of Delegation and Delegation Cooperation Section as donor representatives.

Governorate representatives signed the Charter of Principles that sets out an agreed upon framework between each Governorate, UNDP and UN-Habitat. The framework defines roles and responsibilities and will govern the implementation of the programme.

The programme fact sheet can be downloaded through this link: https://bit.ly/2Wlw17e.

(Source: UN)

U.S. Government to Provide Additional $100 Million for Iraq Stabilization

US Chargé d’Affaires Joey Hood has announced that the United States Government intends to provide an additional $100 million to help stabilize liberated areas once held by the Islamic State.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide the funds to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).  With this $100 million contribution, the U.S. Government will have provided $358 million to stabilization efforts in Iraq since 2015.

The Funding Facility for Stabilization is supported by the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and managed in cooperation with the Government of Iraq.

The United States and the GOI are committed to creating the conditions to allow displaced Iraqis to return to their homes and start to rebuild their lives.  Strengthened with new funding, this stabilization program will restore essential services, such as water, electricity, sewage, health, housing, and education.

In his announcement, the Chargé called on Anbar’s elected officials, tribal sheikhs, and residents to protect the project work sites and ‎do their part to re-integrate back into their communities all displaced Iraqis who wished to return home.

(Source: U.S. Embassy Baghdad)

IOM Launches Funding Appeal to Address Most Urgent Humanitarian Needs in Areas of Displacement and Return in Iraq

Five years after the onset of the ISIL crisis and the subsequent massive internal displacement, IOM Iraq is launching its funding appeal for emergency assistance in the amount of USD 41.4 million.

Although the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has gradually declined since 2017, there are still around 1,750,000 Iraqis living in displacement as of February 2019, due to significant obstacles to return such as damage to houses; lack of livelihoods and basic services; perceptions of insecurity in areas of origin; and mental and psychosocial distress. Around a third of the current population of IDPs, over 530,000 persons, is still living in camps, which require critical support.

IOM’s funding appeal is aligned with the 2019 United Nations’ Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Iraq, which estimates that approximately 6.7 million people are in critical need of support. Nearly 65 per cent of those are concentrated in Ninewa, Anbar, and Salah al-Din, the governorates most severely affected by the recent conflict.

IOM will focus its humanitarian support in Iraq on three groups of concern: IDPs who remain in displacement both within and outside camps, vulnerable host communities in areas of displacement and return – where services are overstretched – and IDPs who have returned to their areas of origin but whose basic humanitarian needs are not being met.

In 2019, IOM plans to maintain its life-saving assistance to IDPs in camp settings through the provision of Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI) support, providing primary health services, monitoring and addressing protection and psychosocial needs, supporting Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services, and supporting camp co-ordination and camp management (CCCM) of IDP camps and informal settlements.

The appeal also includes a request for the continuation of IOM Iraq’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) which provides real-time reliable quantitative and qualitative data on displacement and returns.

“We highly appreciate IOM’s efforts to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to displaced families in and out of camps as well as support them upon return their communities of origin. We look forward to our continued cooperation in 2019,” said Naseer Abdel-Sattar, Executive Director of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Centre (JCMC) of the Government of Iraq.

“The protracted displacement crisis is one of the critical challenges that needs our focused attention, as many displaced people still depend entirely on the provision of humanitarian assistance. The local resources and capacities are already overstretched and pushed to the limit. IOM has been one of the key partners to provide life-saving assistance to the displaced people inside and outside the camps. We value the continued support and cooperation with IOM to support the most vulnerable people,” said Hoshang Mohamed, the Director General of Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC) in Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government.

“Funding for humanitarian assistance is crucial to uphold the basic needs and dignity of vulnerable Iraqis in displacement and areas of return. It will prevent a reversal of the gains made to stabilize areas that have been most severely affected by the conflict,” said Gerard Waite, IOM Iraq’s Chief of Mission.

“Through partnership and collaboration with other humanitarian partners, the Government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government and local NGOs, we hope to address the most critical humanitarian needs while seeking durable solutions for those in protracted displacement,” he added.

The appeal document is available here (Arabic version here)

Click here to watch our video on the Crisis funding appeal.

(Source: UN)

EU-funded programme launched in Iraq to support recovery and stability through local development

The European Union (EU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) continue to work together to help the people of Iraq in their pursuit of recovery and stability.

On 28 March 2019, representatives of federal and local authorities, community leaders, non-governmental organizations, businesses, academia, as well as implementing partners, gathered in the city of Basra, South of Iraq, to launch a new programme.

With EU funding of €47.5 million over 4 years, the programme aims at supporting the implementation of local priority actions, derived from the Provincial Development Plans and the Sustainable Energy Action Plans developed under the Local Area Development Programme (LADP II), that address the top priorities of each governorate and pilot ways to translate policy into practice.

In addition, supporting the decentralization of powers from central to local authorities, including through the development of institutional capacities, the optimization of revenue generation systems, peer-to-peer partnerships with EU local authorities, the empowerment of civil society to advocate for local development causes, mobilization of additional resources, and improvement of donor coordination will be part of the activities.

Minister of Planning at the Federal Government of Iraq, Dr. Nouri Al Dulaimi, said:

“Iraqi communities are eager to recover after years of conflict and instability. And, we are doing our utmost to address their needs. Development at the local level is a step in the right direction. We are grateful that the EU, UNDP and UN-Habitat stand right by us in this difficult time.”

Governor of Basra, Mr. Asaad Al Eidani, stated:

“The people of Basra and other governorates across our country have rightful demands. They need adequate public services, plenty of jobs, and all the help they can get to build a better life for them and their children. We are committed to working closely with our government, local communities, and partners to maximize the impact of this new EU-funded programme and may be replicate with our own funds.”

Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq, H.E. Ambassador Ramon Blecua, said:

“The European Union is strongly committed to assist the Government of Iraq in its efforts to shape a more inclusive and accountable local development. This new EU-funded program will ensure better services and livelihoods opportunities for the Iraqi population, responding to the urgent needs affecting Basra and other Governorates across the country.”

Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms. Marta Ruedas, reiterated:

“Creating job opportunities, improving living conditions, upgrading public services, and integrating eco-friendly practices are some of our top priorities when it comes to local development in Iraq. Women and youth are an integral part in this process. The EU support represents a lifeline for communities struggling to make ends meet, as well as to promote good governance at the local level.”

Head of UN-Habitat Iraq, a.i., Ms. Yuko Otsuki, thanked the European Union for its generous contribution to the urban recovery in Iraq, and stated:

“UN-Habitat will implement priority urban recovery activities, such as the rehabilitation of housing, schools, and public spaces, repairs to secondary infrastructure, job creation, skill enhancement, and revenue generation.”

Ms. Otsuki assured that UN-Habitat is committed to continue working, to promote recovery, resilience and reconstruction in Iraq.

The programme will help the Government of Iraq to strengthen the efficiency of the country’s institutions and renew the social contract between citizens and the state. It revolves around improving the ability of selected governorates to efficiently manage local government and public services. Economic growth and job creation are prioritized, with a focus on green projects involving youth and women, in addition to enhancing the living conditions of returnees and in conflict affected areas.

Building upon the momentum created by the recently concluded LADP II, the programme will be implemented in the following nine Governorates: Anbar, Basra, Duhok, Erbil, Missan, Ninewah, Salah al-Din, Sulaimaniyah, and Thi Qar.

(Source: UN)

Peace Education in Iraq: Laying a Foundation for Sustainable Development

Strengthening the capacity of universities across Iraq to contribute to the achievement of SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, UNDP Iraq, national NGO, Iraq Al-Amal and the UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck, together launched a new national curriculum  – “Diploma Programme for Peace and Conflict Studies”, which will be piloted in October 2019.

With the endorsement of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR), the curriculum was drafted with the participation of 14 academicians from Baghdad, Tikrit, Anbar, Mosul, Kufa, Babylon, and Basra universities, and designed to admit graduate students from any BA Programme. Admission of the first cohort of the two semester programme will be determined through evaluation by an academic board.

In Iraq, a country with a conflict-torn history, from colonialism to the regime of Saddam Hussein, the foreign invasion of 2003 and the rise of ISIS, reoccuring conflict has contributed to the creation of a status quo that sees many communities traumatized and divided.  This curriculum is the first step toward a theoretical understanding of peace and non-violent conflict transformation; and lays the ground work for community engagement by educated practitioners.

Jamal Aljawaheri, Executive Director of Iraq Al-Amal, explains, “Peace Education is cost-effective and sustainable. If we are able to educate the leaders of tomorrow in ideas of peaceful coexistence and conflict transformation, these ideas will permeate into communities and in time, lessen the burden of military and police costs associated with on-going violence and the security currently required to keep others safe. Keeping in mind, this must be well informed and context specific ideas of peace and conflict.”

UNDP Iraq and Eastern Menonnite University previously collaborated on Peace Education in Iraq, having been instrumental in the establishment and capacity development of the Iraqi Universities Consortium for Peace Studies between 2016-2017, which has since advocated for the integration of peace studies into the higher education systems in Iraq.

Subsequently, the partnership with the University of Innsbruck has enabled the training of 23 Academicians (6 women) on conflict assessment/analysis, dialogue, negotiation and facilitation, which will further enable the effective delivery of the new Diploma curriculum.

“In an economy that knows the value of people, we know how to communicate with each other, we know how to cooperate with each other, we feel the empathy for the suffering of the other but also the joy of the other – and that’s what peace studies is about, that’s why we need it in universities. I think in many societies we have lost this ability, and peace studies can contribute a lot to their recovery – I think Iraq is a place where people long for that,” described Wolfgang Dietrich, UNESCO Chairholder for Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck.

In 2018, UNDP and Iraqi Al-Amal also supported 11 academicians and experts (4 from Iraq, and 7 from the region) to develop the first-ever Arabic language Peace Lexicon, which has since been adopted nationally as a key strategic tool for peace education. With over 263 key terms relating to peace and conflict, this lexicon will enable academics to share common ground when communicating about peace and conflict in Iraq, especially in the implementation of the new curriculum.

Dr Mohammedsiddig Mudawi, Head of Stabilization, UNDP Iraq, commented on the enthusiasm of attending academicians, all anxious to see the results of the pilot Diploma in October at Baghdad University, “For the first time, academicians from different fields of study – psychology, law and sociology, are coming together to explore the idea of Peace Studies, which is indeed still in its infancy in many Iraqi Universities. The fact that we could gather so many academicians not only to develop the curriculum together, but to embrace it at today’s launch, is a testament to the enthusiasm and passion of Iraqi society and their desire to achieve a peaceful co-existance.”

The development and launch of the Diploma Programme for Peace and Conflict Studies Curriculum and Arabic Peace Lexicon was made possible with generous funding from the Government of Japan.

(Source: UN)

By Hamdi Malik for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News

The Iraqi security forces have expanded their operations to track down members of the Islamic State (IS) in the vast Western Desert.

The security forces, however, have yet to reach an integrated strategy to confront IS in these lands, which stretch along Iraq’s borders with three countries and are located near key Sunni and Shiite cities.

The sub-governor of the city of al-Ratba in west Anbar, Emad al-Dulaimi, confirmed March 13 that an IS member killed a resident who was kidnapped while picking truffles more than two weeks ago in the desert.

Click here to read the full story.

By Mustafa Saadoun for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi security forces killed five suicide attackers northwest of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul Feb. 20. A car bomb in central Mosul killed one civilian and wounded 13 others Feb. 28, just the latest in many recent incidents that have also hit the southern and western parts of the country.

A group of Islamic State fighters entered Haditha province in Anbar governorate on the evening of Feb. 23 and crossed Lake Tharthar in private boats. In Najaf governorate, they came upon six fishermen sleeping in a tent and opened fire, killing them all.

On the same day, an IS group armed with explosive belts and machine guns attacked the village of Anamel in al-Shirqat, Saladin governorate. The residents along with the Federal Police and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) fought back.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC), along with investment commissions in the provinces, granted 257 investment licenses during 2018.

According to a statement from the NIC, this represents a combined investment of more than 8 billion dollars in the Iraqi economy.

Four of these licenses were issued for strategic projects at a cost of more than 3 billion dollars.

Of the total of 257 licences, 88 were granted directly by the NIC, and these were spread over 12 sectors as follows: Trade sector, 21 investment licences; Entertainment sector, 1 investment licence; Telecommunication sector, 1 investment licence; Education sector, 6 investment licences; Services sector, 4 investment licences; Sport sector, 4 investment licences; Agriculture sector, 3 investment licences; Housing sector, 8 investment licences; Tourism sector, 4 investment licences; Health sector, 6 investment licences; Industrial sector, 16 investment licences, Electricity sector, 14 investment licences (2 for power stations, 12 for charging).

The source pointed out that the number of licenses granted by the investment commissions in the provinces other than the provinces of Kurdistan Region was (169) investment licenses. – 12 investment licenses for Anbar- 66 investment licenses for Baghdad- 10 investment licenses for Holly Karbala- 26 investment licenses for Wasit- 32 investment licenses for Muthana- 15 investment licenses for Kirkuk.

(Source: NIC)