IOM and UNODC Sign Agreement with the Government of Jordan to Upgrade al-Karamah Border Crossing Point

In partnership with the Government of Jordan, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) signed an official partnership yesterday (10/12) to upgrade the al-Karamah border crossing point between Iraq and Jordan.

The project, funded by the European Union Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace (EU IcSP), also contributes to the stability and economic recovery in the region.

“Iraq has always been a key economic partner for Jordan and a significant market for Jordanian exports. The closure of al-Karamah border point over the past years has had a significant negative impact on Jordan’s manufacturing sector and on the Jordanian economy in general. The government is working tirelessly to restore the economic ties with this important country for the benefit of the two sides, and we hope that the rehabilitation of al-Karamah will constitute another building block in this effort,” said Dr Maria Kawar, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation.

Al-Karamah is the only official border crossing point between Iraq and Jordan. Closed in the summer of 2015, it reopened in August 2017 raising the prospect of an improved economy among traders and consumers. Long-lasting crises in Syria and Iraq forced the closure of the land borders with both neighbors, namely the direct route between the ports of Aqaba, on the Red Sea, and Basra, on the Arabian Gulf.

Before the closure of the borders, Iraq was one of the main trade partners of Jordan. In 2013, 178,573 commercial trucks used al-Karamah to enter Iraq from Jordan, and 173,788 entered Jordan from Iraq. Border closures considerably increased the price of imports and exports.

“Border crossing points facilitate trade and exchange between people and communities. This EU-funded project will share the EU approach on integrated border management and adapt it to the situation at the Jordan/Iraq border with a view to facilitate bilateral trade and the movement of people,” said Mr Andrea Matteo Fontana, European Union Ambassador to Jordan.

The project will allow for the construction of a joint building for all departments operating at al-Karamah that will ease procedures and shorten the waiting time for passengers, allowing authorities to process a higher number of passengers per day.

The security of the passengers and the Kingdom will continue to be at the centre of the operation, with enhanced trainings on document forgery detection and other techniques related to border management.

Communities at both sides of the border will benefit from the improved border crossing point.

“I am from al-Anbar and I study pharmacy in Amman. I used to pay around 200 dollars to fly to Baghdad, and then I had to take a bus to al-Anbar from the capital. With the border post re-opened, I save money and time, and I can come home more often,” one young student told IOM staff.

“Communities in remote border regions need additional support to take advantage of the opportunities and overcome the challenges associated to a border context. The project will contribute to revitalize the economy of Mafraq and al-Anbar regions that used to rely on the livelihoods directly or indirectly created by the movements through the border post, before its closure,” said Enrico Ponziani, Chief of Mission of IOM Jordan.

The project will also improve cargo control procedures to secure and facilitate trade with the extension of the UNODC/World Customs Organization Container Control Programme at the al-Karamah border crossing point, and the establishment of a Border Control Unit.

“UNODC’s contribution to this project is two-pronged. Firstly, it aims at further securing the Al Karamah-Turaibil border crossing by strengthening the capacity of Jordanian and Iraqi law enforcement agencies to prevent trafficking of illicit goods. Secondly, it serves to facilitate trade across the border by strengthening cooperation with the private sector and streamlining cargo clearance and control processes”, said Ms. Cristina Albertin, Regional Representative of UNODC.

(Source: IOM)

The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs has contributed an additional EUR 22 million to the UNDP Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), which finances fast-track initiatives in areas of Iraq liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This brings the Ministry’s contribution to EUR 80.2 million and the total support from the Government of Germany to EUR 209.9 million.

Acting UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Mr. Gerardo Noto, said:

“Enormous progress continues to be made across the liberated areas of Iraq, with seventy percent of those who were displaced during the conflict now returned home. UNDP deeply appreciates the timely funding provided by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and while there remains a great deal of work to do, this generous contribution will help re-establish public services and rebuild social cohesion in the most vulnerable areas.”

The German Ambassador to Iraq, H.E. Dr. Cyrill Nunn, said:

“Germany continues to support Iraq’s stabilization efforts to shore up the progress made to date. As we look to the new Government to step forward to take increasing ownership of stabilisation and more long term development efforts, we will remain a committed partner for the people of Iraq and a strong supporter of the efforts of the United Nations.”

In addition to its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany also contributes to FFS through its Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development implemented by KfW, the German development bank.

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the 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 has a portfolio of over 3,000 projects – half of which are already completed – in the provinces of Ninewah, Anbar, Salah Al-Din, Diyala and Kirkuk.

The FFS repairs essential public infrastructure such as electricity, water and sewage system grids. It rebuilds schools, health centres and homes, and provides people with short-term employment through public works schemes in areas directly impacted by ISIL.

This investment in critical services sets the stage for recovery and resilience work, as well as longer-term reconstruction and development activities. Over 95 percent of all stabilization projects are carried out by local private sector companies, providing a key source of employment for local people.

(Source: UN)

As Nadia Murad (pictured), the Yazidi activist and survivor of gender-based violence is honored with the Nobel Prize for Peace, UNICEF is calling attention to the plight of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced children in Iraq whose lives are threatened by freezing temperatures and floods that have affected large parts of the country.

“As the world celebrates Nadia Murad’s incredible story of survival and her work for human rights, let us remember that there are many vulnerable children in Iraq who still need our support, even if the worse of the violence may be over” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq.

Winters in Iraq are harsh. It rains and snows and temperatures can fall below zero in the northern part of the country, where a majority of Yazidi and other displaced children live. Most displaced families live below the poverty line, in dilapidated housing with poor heating, or in camps with little protection from the cold. It impossible to afford fuel for heating and winter clothing to keep their children warm.

“The devastating floods have made this winter even more difficult for displaced children who are extremely vulnerable to hypothermia and respiratory diseases. No child should be subjected to such risks. Every child deserves to be warm and healthy,” added Mr. Hawkins.

UNICEF is providing winter clothes, including boots, scarves, and hats to approximately 161,000 children in Sinjar, Erbil, Dohuk, Ninawa, Anbar, Diwaniya, Basra, Salaheddin, Baghdad and Suleimaniah, including through cash support.

UNICEF’s winter campaign aims to reach the most vulnerable children aged between three months and 14 years living in camps for the internally displaced and in hard-to-reach areas.

(Source: UN)

Member of the parliamentary finance announces the submission of 50 notes to the government on the budget
12/10/2018

A member of the parliamentary finance committee Ahmed al-Saffar, on Monday, the Committee submitted fifty observations to the government on the federal budget for the next fiscal year, while referring to the most prominent observations made by the Committee, including the change of the distribution system of the current budget from the balance of items to a sectoral budget.


Al-Saffar said in an interview with Alsumaria News that "the parliamentary finance committee provided 50 observations to the government on the budget to be consistent with the current government program,"


noting that "was supposed to be held last Monday to resolve the discussions, but the government decided to postpone the meeting until completion Vision and changes around the observations made by us. "
Member of parliamentary finance:


He added that all the observations made by us were important and necessary, including that the budget was built on the price of an excessive barrel of oil, and the deficit was very large, and there is chaos in the item of loans and the lack of justice in the distribution of allocations between the provinces,


"pointing to" The existence of provinces have been subjected to destruction and destruction and need to build and reform currently Kalanbar, Nineveh, Salah al-Din and Basra, which is experiencing difficult conditions, although it provides most of the budget imports, where we asked to reconsider the allocation of allocations according to priorities.


Al-Saffar pointed out that "we even partially demanded that the distribution system be changed by the current budget from the balance of the items to a sectoral budget. We also called for focusing on the investment budget that addresses the suffering of the people from providing jobs, infrastructure, health and education."


The House of Representatives discussed in its session held Tuesday, November 12 , 2018 federal budget for fiscal year 2018 in the presence of Finance Minister Fouad Hussein .

https://alsumaria.tv/news/254788/%D8…9%89-%D8%A7/ar

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad, Iraq/ Development Consultancy & Research, Guest Editor IJCIS-SI, Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no.

2018 is, in more than one aspect, rather an important year; It commemorates the 60 anniversary of 14 July revolution 1958; it registers thirty years of ending the eight years long Iran-Iraq war; it counts fifteen years of the country’ invasion by the Anglo-American lead troops; it also marks a ten year period of grand opening of the petroleum sector to foreign companies; it witnessed the almost end of the “triple shocks” that paralyzed the country and finally, it testifies a minor change of the dysfunctional democracy and plaguing Kleptocracy.

This is the “Introduction” I wrote, as the Guest Editor, for the special issue of the academic International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies-IJCIS, due for release before year ends (by Intellect Books, UK)*

14 July 1958 revolution is still vivid in the memories of many of us who actually witnessed and lived that day and what followed to date. Much has been written about July Revolution during the six decades since that day, but for 2018 two important observations worth making.

First, despite a relatively short tenure of General Abd al-Karim Qasim government (14 July 1958 to 8 February 1963) its record of social economic and development achievements were not matched by achievements of all regimes since Qasim’ assassination, particularly those of post 2003. An article published on the local akhabaar news-site[1] lists most of Qasim achievements, which should make every post 2003 politician, decision maker, parliamentarian, minister among others feel ashamed.

Second, Iraq witnessed during July this year a popular mobilizations in all southern oil producing provinces protesting against lack of employment, deteriorated standard of living, insufficient basic social services especially electricity and safe drinking water and condemning the corruption in the country. In a way, July-September 2018 popular protest vindicates July 1958 revolution achievements comparative to the apparent failures of all post 2003 governments.

Thirty years ago Iran-Iraq war ended; a war that caused too much death, devastation, sufferings and pushed Iraq on the brinks of degeneration; further wars and sever comprehensive sanction led eventually to invading the country.

American and British troops invaded the country in 2003, toppled Sadam régime and, again, brought too much death and destruction but with dismantling most state institutions, inflict serious blows to social fabric and institutionalized sectarianism and ethnicity. Over these 15 years, much of oil export revenues were the target of an unprecedented cronyism and corruption, mostly Kleptocracy (defined here as formalized corruption by formal entities and influential political groups and oligarchy) with meager, if any, of actual economic and social development as manifested by spreading July 2018 demonstrations that left many dead, injured and good number of arrests.[2]

The security situation in Basra deteriorated dramatically on 4 September when the number of killed demonstrators rose to 9 with many more injured on both sides i.e. the demonstrators and security forces, and a number of local government building set on fire.[3] By 7 September number of fatalities in Basra increased to 15 dead and 190 injured with more building including private, foreign consulate and offices of some political parties put ablaze.[4]

Post 2003 democracy was basically confined to national and provincial elections, which were run on regular intervals, but none was without accusations, irregularities and corruption practices. National election of May 2018 has been the most challenged and precarious among them all.  Election results were not approved until three months after the election day even with recounts and involvement of High Judicial Council and the Federal Supreme Court-FSC; the term of the parliament ended on 30 June and the new parliament remains in limbo and was not convened and thus nominating the heads of the presidencies was delayed and the same applies to forming the new government.

FSC approved the recounted results on 19 August 2018 indicating the start of the constitutional process for forming the new government. The new parliament was finally convened, amid rather a different and also divisive political landscape post 2003, on 3 September. Not until 16 September the election of the president of the parliament was elected and on 2 October Dr. Barham Salih was elected the president of the republic- representing serious setback for Barzani’s party-  and on the same day Salih  asked Adil Abdul Mahdi, a pro privatization, the Kurds and IOCs,  to form the government within 30 days!

Provincial elections are scheduled for year ends unless they are impacted by the negative environment that tarnished the latest recent national election; the current political confused order would suggest strongly the likelihood of postponing the provincial election to further date.   But these too were and could be subject to even more irregularities with influential forms within sectarianism, tribalism and religious personality cult. Moreover, the aftermath of July demonstrations could effectively impacts holding, the process and the outcome of the elections.

The local parliamentary election in Kurdistan Region in Iraq was held over 28-30 September and again with different contested claims on its transparency, credibility and results.

2018 marks ten years of the big-push strategy or grand opening of the upstream petroleum for foreign investment and direct involvement that validates, initially, the school of thoughts that invasion was all about oil but the actual development questions that validation. The big-push strategy began by converting a production sharing agreement, was concluded during Sadam’ era when Iraq was under the severest sanction in history, into a long term service contract.

That conversion sets the main premises of a hybrid model contract that was adopted through four major bidding rounds. However, upstream petroleum since the cabinet shift of August 2016 witnessed a departure from previous practices by the return of deals concluded behind closed doors, lack of transparency and adoption of a net revenues sharing model contract that gives IOCs much more a share than offered under the previous four bid rounds.

2018 witnessed the beginning of the end of the triple-shocks i.e., low oil prices, Da’esh presence and retaking Kirkuk back from KRG seizure.

Da’esh (or ISIS/ISL) began by controlling Mosul in mid-2014 then moved to many parts of other governorates particularly Kirkuk, Salahuldeen, Dayala, Al-Anbar and came close to Baghdad. That caused untold destruction, killing, internal displacement and threatened the security and integrity of the country. The military operations to defeat Da’esh drained serious part of the annual state budgets in addition to officially estimated $100 billion reconstruction requirements.[5]

What made the situation even more alarming and drastic are the dramatic decline in oil prices and the prevailed motion of “lower for longer” that coincided with Da’esh attacks. Iraq oil export prices per barrel declined from $102.61 in June 2014 to $22.21 in January 2016 then improved gradually to exceed $74 during September 2018.

Further deterioration in Iraq financial situation was caused by the cessation of Kirkuk oil export when KRG took control of the province’s oil facilities. Though that seizure ended during the fourth quarter of 2017, export from Kirkuk still on hold at the time of writing.

The work on this special issue took eighteen months of concerted efforts, follow-up and back and forth communication involving all editorial colleagues, publisher’s team, anonymous reviewers and contributors. Well-deserved sincere and wholehearted words of thanks and appreciation are due to all of them.

Ahmed Mousa Jiyad provides review of the development of the Iraqi petroleum sector during the period 2008-2018 as post 2003 period witnessed grand opening of the sector for International Oil Companies- IOCs, particularly for upstream sub-sector. The article argues that, analytically and empirically, a sub-sector focused policy impacts, negatively, the development in that sub-sector, in the sector itself and on the sector’s contribution to the development of the national economy. The outcomes would exacerbate structural imbalances, vulnerabilities to external factors and increase dependency on oil revenues, which prohibits desirable structural change, diversification and transformation.

He also highlights the presence and impacts of the “triple shocks” combined with the prospect of “lower-for- longer” oil price that prevailed almost a year ago, contributing to continue deepening the fiscal crisis of the state and elevated the “fear-factor” among Iraqi decision makers. That, with apparent human, systemic and institutional capacity-gaps limitations resulted in Iraq giving important concessions to IOCs without having tangible benefits in return.

Juman Kubba asserts that Iraq, over the past fifteen years, took huge leaps backwards. Thus, she argued it is very important for politicians, historians, experts and judicial bodies to analyse what happened, why it happened, who is responsible and how to hold them accountable. But what is more important now is to ensure that Iraqi society recovers from the calamities of the past fifteen years as well as the preceding thirty years; and that the country’s resources are used to serve Iraqis and provide them with good living conditions and never again be wasted and dissipated. Accordingly, here article focuses on the pathway of healing Iraqi society from the aftermath of decades of war, poverty and immense suffering.

Restoring good education and healthcare is the first step on the pathway of healing and recovery. Also, neutralizing and reversing several dangerous post conflict societal problems that have arisen over the years such as traumatized war children, war injured young men, drug abuse among youth and alarming increase in neoplastic disease just to name a few.  Given the weakness of the government, corruption, and contradictions between legislation and jurisdiction, one must consider new non-traditional approaches to solving these problems; a few are presented in the article. The success of any future government should be measured by how much it can ameliorate the essential life sustaining services for ordinary citizens.

Monetary policy and particularly the role of the Central Bank have important function in the development of the country. Debating this issue, our late colleague Muwafaq Hassan Mahmood  addresses four topics; the first offers an empirical examination of the performance of the banking sector during the period 2010-2015; the second discusses banking sector reform requirements; The third topic will shed light on: i) the environments under which the Iraqi banking industry operates highlighting the limitations and obstacles that impedes the sector’s growth and ii) the investment environment and whether it’s an attractive for the business community to invest and doing businesses in Iraq. Finally, he examined the CBI’s dollar window impacts on the banking industry.

Human skills, systemic and institutional capacity gaps impact the performance of the petroleum sector and these have been the subject of international cooperation between Iraq and other entities e.g., countries, organizations and even companies. Usama Karim article focuses on one of such initiatives i.e., the establishment of the European Iraqi Energy Centre-EUIEC. He argues that knowledge acquisition and development leading to such endeavour is a process that takes long time and much resources needing meticulous planning. This process can be facilitated by the use of expertise and technology transferred by international companies and their networks engaged in ramping up energy production in Iraq.

EUIEC has four components, however, the article elaborates on the research component but Karim suggests that the final EUIEC organization, structure and facilities integrating all its components will require further efforts from the consultants, lead stakeholders and experts in setting up such complex endeavour building up on preliminary results from this study.[6]

Greg Muttitt article reviews what is now known about discussions of oil that took place during the invasion planning and execution, based on documents that have been released in the fifteen years since.

He examines the nature of the strategic objectives, how the US and UK governments planned to achieve them, and how they decided to talk about them in public. Reflecting on this evidence will allow us to revisit the question: was oil a major reason for the war and invasion of Iraq?

Federalism, an outcome of the regime change brought by the 2003 invasion and was enshrined in 2005 Constitution, needs fixing. Since 2003, Luay al-Khatteeb argues, Iraq’s experiment with federalism has in many ways benefitted Iraq, though, he asserts, functioning federalism was never given a chance to be tested in Iraq as there are various factors that have contributed to hinder the formation of a Federal Iraq. Thus, because implementation has been imperfect, it has not solved Iraq’s fundamental economic flaws, which promote the waste of oil revenues, promote oil revenue dependence and allow for local level corruption to flourish. This situation can still be remedied, he argued, but that requires time and may take generations to materialise.

Omar Eljoumayle article summarises his PhD dissertation in economic development of contemporary Iraq. The article traces the role of institutions, institutional policies and how the rapid and frequent institutional changes have driven the Iraqi economy for decades. Though applying the New Institutional Economic-NIE to Iraq expands the range of choices of institutions that could be examined, the choices have been narrowed down by revolving around three central issues: agriculture, oil and wars. The picture painfully presented is one of abrupt and instantaneous institutional changes, through which institutions were repeatedly subject to reshuffle and facing changing circumstances. Consequently these changes have severely affected the path of economic development in Iraq.

The book review part of this volume covers to recently published, in Arabic, important books: one on Iraq’s nuclear program and the other on the Iraqi economy.

While it gives me a great professional scholarly satisfaction to be the guest editor for this issue I regret to report that our colleague and contributor, Muwafaq Hassan Mahmood, passed away on 28 June 2018. Despite his illness and he and I knew he would be not with us for long,  Muwafaq (Abu Rand) was very determined and enthusiastic to deliver his article and honors his commitment before leaving us. I have known Abu Rand since mid-sixties and his early departure was indeed a devastating painful loss. My colleagues, Professor Tareq Ismael (Calgary, Canada) and Professor Bill Haddad (California, USA), and I convey our wholehearted condolences to his family, friends and colleagues and we sincerely thank Muwafaq for his contribution to this special issue.

Ahmed Mousa Jiyad,

Guest Editor, IJCIS-SI,

Norway

4 October 2018

*Jiyad, Ahmed Mousa, Introduction, IJCIS, Volume 12, number 3, 2018 (forthcoming)

[1] 1958 revolution the 60th anniversary (Performance of Qasim in akhabaar  http://www.akhbaar.org/home/2018/7/246337.html (in Arabic) accessed 14 July 2018

[2] As on 22 July the Iraqi Human Rights Commission announced 13 dead, 729 injured, including 460 from security forces, 757 arrested temporarily and release later and  91 government and private buildings and vehicles were damaged. http://www.akhbaar.org/home/2018/7/246645.html  accessed 23 July 2018.

[3] As reported by IOR, 5 September 2018

[4] http://www.akhbaar.org/home/2018/9/248576.html Accessed 8 September 2018

[5] On Da’esh effect, Kuwait conference and cost of reconstruction see , $100 billion for reconstruction http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2018/02/12/video-iraq-seeks-100bn-for-post-is-reconstruction/

[6] Actually, I was the leader of a team that prepared the “Formulation study for the EU-Iraq Centre for Economic Partnership and Business Cooperation (DCI-ASIA part)”, which was commissioned and funded by the European Commission-EC during the period January-June 2012. The study resulted in formulating and recommends the establishment of EUIEC with four major components: Research, Training, Energy Debate and Business Cooperation. The EC adopted our proposal and started the implementation in 2014 through the Service contract notice “Iraq-Baghdad: ICI+ — EU–Iraq energy centre (EUIEC) 2014/S 074-126988”

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.

A total of 41 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 73 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in November 2018*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The figures include ordinary citizens and others considered civilians at the time of death or injury, such as police in non-combat functions, civil defence, personal security teams, facilities protection police and fire department personnel.

The Special Representative for Iraq of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ján Kubiš, said the continuing loss of life is regrettable but the latest figures are the lowest since UNAMI began publishing them in November 2012.

“These are not just figures. They are human beings with families. But these figures, sad as they are, also reflect the continuing downward trend in the level of violence as the country recovers from its fight with terrorism and presses ahead towards a stable, prosperous future,” the Special Representative said.

Baghdad was the most affected Governorate, with 55 civilian casualties (23 killed, 32 injured), followed by Ninewa (08 killed and 19 injured) and Anbar (04 killed and 15 injured).

*CAVEATS: UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in certain areas; in some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate and are noted above. Casualty figures obtained from the Anbar Health Directorate might not fully reflect the real number of casualties in those areas due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground and the disruption of services. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

(Source: United Nations)

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

In Iraq, tension between the US-led coalition and armed groups linked to Iran has risen in recent months.

For example, the United States sanctioned key representatives of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah on Nov. 13, saying they had moved money, acquired weapons and trained fighters in Iraq. Problems have also arisen with some factions of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

As a whole, the PMU are part of Iraq’s security forces, but some of its dozens of factions are Shiite armed groups with ties to Iran. There has long been tension between some of the local Sunni population and those Shiite-majority PMUs from southern and central Iraq.

Click here to read the full story.

(Picture Credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Deep inequality continues to shape the lives of children in Iraq

A comprehensive survey on children’s wellbeing in Iraq released today found that conflict and inequality remain defining features of childhood. A majority of poor children are not receiving any form of government assistance. Even as the fighting has subsided, 80 per cent of all children experience violence at home or in school.

While almost all children (92 per cent) are enrolled in primary school, just over half of children from poorer backgrounds complete their primary education. The gap widens in upper secondary school, where less than a quarter of poor children graduate, compared to three-quarters of children from wealthier backgrounds.

Children’s education needs in Iraq are vast: half of all public schools in the country require rehabilitation and one in three schools run multiple shifts, squeezing children’s learning time. The five governorates with the lowest school enrollment and attendance rates are concentrated in the country’s southern governorates which remain its poorest, and in Anbar and Ninawa – the two governorates that have borne the brunt of the violence of the last few years. Attending school regularly is an essential part of healing for the more than 1 million children estimated to require psychosocial support to cope with the invisible wounds of war.

“The data is the clearest indication yet that the most vulnerable children in Iraq are the ones that are most likely to fall behind,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq. “The hard-won gains to end the conflict in Iraq and transition to a stable future could be lost without additional investments for all children to reach their full potential.”

Iraq has made notable progress on newborn and child health, including maintaining high levels of assisted births and reducing the number of children who die in their first month of life from 20 deaths per 1000 live births to 14 since the last survey was conducted in 2011. But the challenges arise soon after birth: Only 4 out of 10 of children are fully vaccinated, with the poorest children missing out the most.

Half of all Iraqi households are at risk of drinking contaminated water and less than 40 per cent of the population has access to drinking water at home, placing children at grave risk of waterborne diseases.

“As Iraq moves past the violence of the last few years and forges a new path for itself, it must prioritize the wellbeing of all children,” said Hawkins. “Children are the future of this country, and a growing gap between the haves and the have-nots sows discord and is detrimental for children and for Iraq. With the right commitment and the right policies in place, the Government of Iraq can make a difference.”

To maintain Iraq’s recent gains and protect the rights of all children, UNICEF calls on the Government of Iraq to invest in services that directly benefit those children affected by conflict and poverty, and to work towards putting an end to all forms of violence against children.

(Source: UNICEF)


Saleh assures the King of Jordan the need to provide Iraq with information on money smugglers and those wanted for the judiciary

11/15/2018

The President of the Republic Barham Salih of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, on Thursday, the need to provide Iraq with information on money smugglers and wanted to the judiciary, while calling for Jordanian companies to invest in Iraq, he pointed to the importance of facilitating the procedures for granting visas to Iraqis.

The Presidency of the Republic said in a statement received by Alsumaria News a copy of that, "President Barham Salih met, on Thursday, in Amman with Jordan’s King Abdullah II."

The two sides discussed the developments in the Arab region and the necessity of working to support the unity of the Arab ranks and the convergence of views on the issues related to the security and stability of the region.

They pointed out the importance of cooperation in activating the tripartite strategic partnership (Iraq / Jordan / Egypt ) "He said.

He pointed out that "the President of the Republic discussed with the King of Jordan the return of Iraqi frozen and smuggled funds, where he stressed the need to provide Iraq with information on smugglers and wanted to justice, as well as discuss coordination and military cooperation and exchange of information between the security services in both countries."

The statement added that "On the economic side, the two sides discussed the establishment of a free industrial city at the border port in Trebil, and the project of electricity connection between Iraq and Jordan through Anbar province ."

Saleh stressed, "according to the statement," the need to strengthen relations between the two countries by opening greater horizons for cooperation in the fields of trade and economic and security coordination common, "praising" Jordan’s position on Iraq in its war against terrorism. "

"The victory of Iraq and the defeat of the terrorist organization is a victory for the region and the world. It is necessary to preserve this victory by standing up against everything that destabilizes peace and stability," he said. "He said.

He urged the President of the Republic "Jordanian companies to invest in Iraq," pointing at the same time to "the importance of facilitating the procedures for granting visas to Iraqis."

For his part, the Jordanian King "congratulations on the assumption of the President of the Republic Barham Saleh functions," stressing his country’s keenness on "security and stability of Iraq."

It is noteworthy that President Barham Salih arrived earlier in the day, Thursday, to Jordan on an official visit.

https://www.alsumaria.tv/news/252741…D8%A7%D8%AA/ar


Aiming for more sustainable options for dealing with the huge amounts of rubble borne out of the ISIL conflict, municipalities of around half a dozen devastated cities in western Iraq explored opportunities to establish debris recycling centres to help advance recovery efforts at a two-day workshop held in Ramadi’s Anbar University on 7-8 November 2018.

Hosted by Anbar Governorate and organized in collaboration with the Iraq Ministry of Health and Environment with technical advisory support from UN Environment, the gathering brought together – for the first time – key stakeholders from local authorities, technical government departments, university academics, demining experts, as well as UN agencies to discuss more sustainable options for dealing with the huge amounts of rubble created by the ISIL conflict.

“Over two years since retaking most of Anbar’s shattered cities from the grips of ISIL terrorists in 2016, rubble continues to be a major obstacle for tens of thousands of displaced persons to regain their homes, and restart their lives and businesses,” said Mr. Mustapha Arsan, deputy governor of Anbar Governorate.

Municipal representatives from the most damaged cities of Ramadi, Haditha, Hit, Qaim and Kubaisa, in Iraq’s upper Euphrates region, underscored the major problems they continue to face in removing colossal volumes of rubble. Lack of debris removal equipment and inadequate operational budgets were highlighted as major constraints. While most of the rubble in the streets has been removed, much of the remaining debris will be generated from building demolition.

The Qaim Maqam (head of district) of Ramadi, Mr. Ibrahim Al-Awsaj, stated that around 80 percent of Ramadi – capital of Anbar governorate with a population of over 570,000 people before the conflict – lay in ruins. Preliminary estimates by Ramadi municipality indicate that around three of the seven million tonnes of debris have so far been removed with extensive support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization.

Furthermore, debris removal is significantly complicated by exceptionally high levels of contamination with unexploded ordnance and booby traps. “Over 20,000 explosive devices have so far been from Ramadi city alone,” said Mr. Al-Awsaj. Training and establishing clear procedures for dealing with explosives in the debris is a critical prerequisite for clearing-up the rubble.

“Debris continues to be scooped and dumped in an uncontrolled manner creating serious health and environmental risks and burdensome economic liabilities for the future,” decried Mr. Qais Abd, head of the Anbar Environment Directorate. Mr. Abd added that “future campaigns to remove debris haphazardly dumped all over the place may be needed,” engendering additional costs for the financially strapped local authorities.

Emphasizing that many other post-conflict cities faced similar challenges, UN Environment expert Martin Bjerregaard affirmed that considerable experience exists from elsewhere that can help inform Anbar’s debris management efforts. “We are not starting from scratch here,” said Mr. Bjerregaard, who went on to share lessons from neighbouring Mosul as well as Syria, Lebanon, Philippines, and going to back the Balkans conflict in the late 1990s.

The workshop also highlighted ongoing work by UNDP’s Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization and the International Organization Migration to establish debris recycling centres in Mosul with technical advice from UN Environment. This initiative will help create much needed jobs through cash-for-work programmes.

Original research by Anbar University engineer Mr. Salah Thameel found that crushed debris from Ramadi were of high quality and complied with Iraqi engineering standards for use in civil works, including as underlying subbase for roads.

“The cost of crushing the debris is about one third of buying fresh quarry materials and, if transportation costs are added, it would account for only 10 percent,” explained Mr. Thameel. Furthermore, “by reusing the crushed debris, we would significantly reduce negative environmental impacts of quarrying and polluting emissions from trucking gravel from quarry sites,” he asserted.

Crushing debris would not only significantly facilitate rubble removal operations by reducing the volumes handled, but would also result in important cost savings. “We are eager to start with recycling and welcome support from the friends of Iraq to help us in rebuilding our damaged cities,” stated Ms. Asmaa Osama, President of the Committee of Health and Environment and member of Anbar Provincial Council.

Workshop participants further recommended that an Anbar-wide debris management action plan led by the Governorate is developed to help coordinate debris recycling efforts across its damaged cities. Key actions including identification of potential sites for setting-up debris recycling centres were also discussed with a specific focus on Ramadi city as a demonstration pilot.

(Source: UN)