Pathway to peace: New recommendations to enhance local policing programmes in Iraq

Designing adaptable programmes, promoting the role of women in policing, and streamlining international interventions and are some of the key recommendations made by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in a recent conflict assessment on local policing in Iraq.

Conflict Assessment in Support of Efforts to Improve Local Policing in Iraq outlines key recommendations to mitigate the drivers of conflict and promote forces for peace, focusing on two key governorates in Iraq, Anbar and Ninewa.

It highlights different approaches to address drivers of conflict and instability, and makes recommendations to shape robust, sustainable local policing programmes in Iraq.

“Local police play an integral role in establishing and forging peace in Iraq, especially in the years since the ISIL conflict,” says Resident Representative of UNDP in Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

“We hope this assessment is a useful tool for international partners and local decision makers to shape robust and sustainable local policing programmes that reflect community concerns, and promote a more peaceful and just Iraq. In doing so, it is important to increase and promote the role of women in policing, and improve women and girls’ access to local police services,” she adds.

The conflict assessment was developed under UNDP Iraq’s Security Sector Reform/Rule of Law programme with generous funding from the Government of The Netherlands.

The assessment findings are available online in English and Arabic.

(Source: UNDP)

The Cabinet held its weekly meeting on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

The Cabinet discussed the needs of Iraq’s health sector, and agreed several measures to expand existing capacity and introduce new services. The measures included:

  • Adding additional ward capacity for the treatment of cancer patients at the National Amal Hospital and the National Cancer Centre
  • Establishing general nuclear medicine centres in Anbar, Basra, Babylon, Najaf and Nineveh provinces

The Cabinet discussed other policies and agreed to:

  • Make a one-off payment in the sum of 75,000 dinars to citizens who receive social security benefits on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha
  • Cancel the outstanding debt due from 17,552 families who receive social security support
  • Appoint graduates of medical colleges to positions in the health sector
  • Refer Al-Khairat Power Station Project to the consortium led by Hyundai. This important project will contribute to increased power generation and support the operation of the Karbala Refinery Project
  • Approve a recommendation from the Ministerial Council on Energy in relation to the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) project at Basra Refinery

The Cabinet reviewed and approved a number of other measures and policies.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

Battling Coronavirus: France prioritizes critical medical equipment in southern Iraq

The Government of France has committed EUR 300,000 (US$334,448) to support the Government of Iraq’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The funds will be used to purchase ventilators – a life-saving piece of equipment for Coronavirus patients – for Basra Teaching Hospital in southern Iraq.

“The emergence of COVID-19 has exacerbated the many challenges experienced by communities in Basra, who are struggling to access basic infrastructure and services. We are very grateful for this contribution from France which will alleviate the extreme pressure currently placed on under-resourced health facilities in Basra. As the pandemic has unfolded globally, we have seen how important ventilators have been in saving lives,” says Resident Respresentive of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

In addition to ventilators and other life-saving equipment provided to the hospital, UNDP Iraq is also building isolation units, providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers to stop the spread of the virus, and boosting the testing capacity of labs to increase the detection of cases.

It also supports an online awareness-raising platform, Corona in Iraq which outlines symptoms and risks of COVID-19, dispels rumors about the virus, and tracks symptoms to encourage people to seek medical advice.

“France is fully committed to actively support the Governement of Iraq to meet the needs of the Iraqi population. This medical equipment will contribute to help medical teams in southern Iraq to face with this urgent situation and allow them to save more lives. We welcome all the efforts made by UNDP to coordinate the help of international donors in order to combat the spread of the disease in Iraq”, says the Ambassador of France, Bruno Aubert.”

In addition to Basra, UNDP Iraq’s COVID-19 response package extends to Anbar, Babel, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Dohuk, Karbala, Kirkuk, Missan, Najaf, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din.

With this latest contribution, France has provided US$7.8 million in support to UNDP Iraq since 2015.

(Source: UNDP)

The Government of Finland has committed €2 million (US$2.2 million) to support the Government of Iraq’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq.

The funds will be used to support UNDP Iraq’s COVID-19 response package, which is being implemented under the umbrella of UNDP Iraq’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), established to repair critical infrastructure and services damaged by ISIL.

Measures to combat the virus under the COVID-19 response package include increasing the testing capacity of laboratories, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, increasing the number of isolation wards, and undertaking assessments to establish post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.

Focusing on the most vulnerable communities in Iraq, activities will be rolled out in hospitals selected by local authorities in the underserved areas of Anbar, Basra, Diyala, Dohuk, Karbala, Kirkuk, Najaf, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din.

UNDP Iraq’s Resident Representative, Zena Ali Ahmad, said:

“While the entire country is impacted by the emergence of COVID-19, it’s the vulnerable communities – including displaced communities, people living with a disability, women, and the elderly – who will carry most of the burden. We’re extremely grateful for Finland’s support which will help us target these vulnerable communities.”

Finland’s Ambassador to Iraq Mr. Vesa Häkkinen (pictured), added:

“Iraq is facing a multitude of challenges as it recovers from a long conflict. Finland wants to support the stability of Iraq and to strengthen its preparedness and response to COVID-19 emergency. UNDP is in the frontline supporting Iraq’s national healthcare system in tackling the outbreak.”

Finland is one of UNDP Iraq’s key partners, providing more than $12.1 million to UNDP Iraq’s FFS since 2015.

(Sources: Reliefweb, Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs)

Siemens Energy and the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity have signed a contract for the Al Hamudhia substation, which will provide reliable and efficient power supply to the cities of Ramadi, Fallujah, Saqlawyah, Khalediyah and surrounding areas in Al Anbar governorate, North West of Baghdad.

Located about 20 kilometers away from Ramadi city, the turnkey 400- kilovolt (kV) Al Hamudhia substation will support greater grid connectivity and allows for a higher utilization of the Al Anbar power plant’s generated power, supporting anticipated energy demand growth of 10% annually.

Ammar Mohammed Kadhim, General Director of Planning and Studies Department, Iraqi Ministry of Electricity and the Head of the Japanese loan team “IQP22” projects at the Ministry, which are being financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said:

A top priority for the new government of Iraq is rebuilding the country’s power infrastructure. Upgrading and strengthening the Iraqi power grid is crucial to this ambitious plan, which will ultimately support Iraq’s economic, industrial and infrastructure development.

“We’re already working on comprehensive grid projects across the country in collaboration with international partners, like Siemens, to deploy the most reliable and advanced technologies.

The new substation will connect up to 750 Megavolt Amperes (MVA) to the national grid, helping decrease bottlenecks and transmission losses. Construction of Al Hamudhia station is expected to start in July 2020, and is scheduled for completion in July 2022.

Mahmoud Hanafy, Senior Vice President, Transmission Solutions at Siemens Energy, Middle East, said:

The new substation will support in providing reliable power to the homes and industries in the governorate of Al Anbar.

“Our grid technology enables more reliable, sustainable, efficient and flexible power systems. From transporting electricity from power plants to the distribution stations, all the way to the citizens, our ability to optimize flexibility and efficiency will contribute to boosting the transmission infrastructure of Iraq.

Part of the JICA’s projects in Iraq, the 400-kV Al Hamudhia’s scope of work includes the design, construction, equipment supply, erection, testing and commissioning and training of personnel. The project will be completed by Siemens Energy’s engineers in collaboration with specialized local Iraqi subcontractors.

The company is currently building 13, 132/33-kilovolt substations as part of the Siemens Roadmap for the Electrification of Iraq. These projects aim to strengthen the country’s electricity transmission and distribution network – with a particular focus on the governorate of Basra as well as the other governorates that are located in the middle and south of the country. Siemens is also supplying 35 power transformers to support the Iraqi power grid.

In April 2019, Siemens and the Government of Iraq signed an agreement to implement Phase 1 of the Roadmap, which is designed to meet the country’s reconstruction and power sector goals, and includes the addition of new and highly-efficient power generation capacity, rehabilitation and upgrade of existing power plants and the expansion of transmission and distribution networks. Following Siemens Roadmap for the Electrification of Iraq agreement, 791 MW of electricity has already been added to the country’s grid.

(Source: Siemens)

Perceptions of Police, Security and Governance in Iraq: IOM Study

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Yale Law School‘s Center for Global Legal Challenges (GLC) are releasing a new report that evaluates community perceptions of police and security in three communities across Iraq.

This new study – Perceptions of Police, Security and Governance in Iraq – presents evidence from an assessment of IOM Iraq’s ‘Community Policing’ Programme, implemented alongside the Government of Iraq Ministry of Interior.

The study is based on data from two waves of surveys conducted in three communities where the programme was implemented in 2019: Baradiyah (Basra Governorate), Hamdaniyah (Ninewa Governorate), and Jubeil (Anbar Governorate).

Community policing (CP) is a method of law enforcement defined by the United Nations as “a strategy for encouraging the public to act as partners with the police in preventing and managing crime as well as other aspects of security and order based on the needs of the community.”

Surveys were conducted in July and August 2019, before IOM Iraq implemented the CP programme in the three communities, and again in December 2019 after six months of programming.

“In Iraq, where waves of violence over the past four decades have eroded trust between communities and security actors, there has been very little publicly available research on efforts to re-establish this trust,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite.

“This study is a step toward establishing an evidence base to evaluate community policing methods in Iraq, that will help tailor the programme for diverse contexts across the country.”

“In Iraq and around the world, public distrust of state institutions has driven unrest, instability, and support for violent non-state groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant,” said Oona Hathaway, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Global Legal Challenges at Yale Law School.

“This study suggests that training police in the importance of human rights and equality under the law can strengthen both human security and national security.”

The study also included surveys in two comparison communities – Khor Zubair, Basra and Saqlawiyah, Anbar – that were selected for geographical proximity and demographic similarity to the communities where the Community Policing Programme was implemented. Conducting baseline and endline surveys in these communities provides some insight into whether other trends and events unrelated to the CP Programme might have contributed to the changes observed over the course of the study.

The key findings of the endline study are available in infographic form:

Evaluating Perceptions of Security and Police in Iraq, the baseline report analysing data from the first wave of door-to-door surveys conducted before implementation of the CP programme, was published in April 2020.

(Source: UN)

Perceptions of security and police in Iraq – Baseline Survey Findings

This report by IOM Iraq and Yale Law School Center for Global Legal Challenges aims to shed light on the inter-related security and governance factors at play in three diverse communities in Iraq – Jubeil (Anbar), Hamdaniya (Ninewa) and Baradiyah (Basra) – as a way to contextualize and evaluate the effectiveness of community policing programming.

This baseline study evaluates civilians’ attitudes and behaviors towards providers of security and justice; their perceptions of the legitimacy of the Iraqi government; police officers’ attitudes and behaviors toward civilians; and the prevalence of crime and violence.

According to research findings, communities directly affected by the ISIL crisis perceive the greatest relative improvement in security, while governance and economic issues are at the top of community concerns across all communities.

The survey results also indicated heavy reliance on informal actors such as tribes and religious leaders for informal mediation and dispute resolution. When formal security actors are not trusted or considered less effective, positive attitudes towards non-state security actors increase.

Lastly, in all three communities, a majority of respondents would not allow female family members to report problems to the police on their own.

Click here to download the full report

(Source: IOM)

Sterilizing the streets: Local Peace Committees in Anbar join forces to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Eleven Local Peace Committees have taken the initiative to protect their communities from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by sterilizing public spaces in Iraq’s Anbar governorate.

Markets, streets, residential areas, schools, government institutions, mosques, and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in major areas in Anbar are being disinfected by the committees through trained response teams in coordination with Anbar’s Defense, Health and Municipalities directorates.

Established in 2018 by UNDP Iraq to promote peace and stability post-ISIL, the committees are made up of security officers, local authority personnel, civil society organization representatives and tribal sheikhs.

Each committee is led by their local Mayor, who, since the onset of the pandemic, has been working to instruct the public to adhere to health protection measures, and have shifted the committees’ focus to managing the outbreak.

Mayor of Habbaniyah district, Ali Dawood Suleiman, discusses the measures taking place in his local community. “We carried out many campaigns, including visits to hospitals and emergency rooms late at night to monitor the readiness of medical personnel to receive urgent cases,” he said.

“We will also monitor prices in the markets in coordination with security agencies to ensure the price of goods does not rise,” he added.

While the Anbar governorate is currently under curfew, basic food shops are open to residents during defined time periods. Local Peace Committee members in the areas of Ramadi, Habbaniyah, Fallujah, Amiriyat al-Samoud, Qarma, Rawa, Anah, Haditha, Rutba, Tuaim, and Heet continue to implement sterilization and communication campaigns to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

(Source: UN)

Belgium, Netherlands and Sweden commit $5 million to tackle COVID-19 outbreak

The governments of Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden have collectively committed US$5 million to support the Government of Iraq’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, in partnership with UNDP Iraq.

The funds, which were originally pledged under UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization to help rehabilitate infrastructure damaged by ISIL, are now being urgently redirected to support UNDP Iraq’s initial $24 million COVID-19 response package.

Measures to combat the virus under this package include increasing the testing capacity of laboratories, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, increasing the number of isolation wards, and undertaking assessments to establish post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.

Focusing on the most vulnerable communities in Iraq, activities will be rolled out in eight hospitals selected by local authorities in the underserved areas of Anbar, Diyala, Dohuk, Basra, Karbala, Najaf, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din.

Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad, said:

Containing the coronavirus outbreak is now the Government of Iraq’s number one priority, particularly as infection rates rise, putting more pressure on the Iraqi healthcare system outside the major capitals. We’re extremely grateful to Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden for acting swiftly to commit these funds and being so flexible in administering them.

“Due to the strict curfews imposed by the Government of Iraq, we’ve had no choice but to temporarily halt the implementation of our stabilization activities. However, by capitalizing on the tried-and-tested processes of our successful stabilization work, we will respond to this unprecedented global health crisis with the speed and agility UNDP Iraq is known for.

Once this pandemic is under control, our stabilization activities will resume. Until then, we will work closely with the Government of Iraq, the World Health Organisation and other UN agencies to curb the crisis as best we can.

UNDP Iraq is currently discussing the remaining $19 million funding gap with other international partners.

Processes have been established to ensure that once funds have been committed, the response measures can be implemented immediately.

(Source: UN)

The Government of Japan has contributed US$ 1.3 million towards UNFPA interventions for integrated lifesaving reproductive health and gender-based violence services to vulnerable women and girls in five governorates across Iraq.

UNFPA has been adopting an integrated approach to enable women and girls to receive a comprehensive package of services, continuum of care, as well as timely referrals.

The Japanese contribution will ensure that 40,000 women and girls, out of whom 25,000 are pregnant women, from the IDP, returnee, and refugees in the humanitarian settings in Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din governorates, have access to prevention and response to reproductive health and gender-based violence services which include awareness-raising sessions and case management, as well as consultations and treatment.

In addition, the new commitment will enable UNFPA to improve the capacity of national service providers, especially female caregivers, to deliver high-quality assistance, including psychosocial and referral services in the targeted five governorates.

Dr Oluremi Sogunro, UNFPA Representative to Iraq, said:

We are thankful for Japan’s trust in UNFPA programme in Iraq … Women and girls continue to suffer from the impact of the humanitarian crisis.

“Thanks to Japan’s trust, we will ensure that not only we provide the muchneeded reproductive health and gender-based violence services but we strengthen the existing national capacities to build the resilience of the system.”

His Excellency Mr Naofumi Hashimoto, Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, stated:

“Japan has recently decided to provide a new assistance package for Iraq amounting to USD 41 million including this project as assistance for women and girls.

“With this package, the total amount of Japan’s assistance to the people affected by the crisis reaches US$ 540 million since 2014. I hope that the assistance from the Government and people of Japan will help ensure protection of women and girls among IDP, returnee and refugees.”

Japan has been a UNFPA long-standing partner with contributions amounting to a total of US$ 11,852,085 over the last five years ensuring women and girls across Iraq have access to health and protection services.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled

(Source: UN)