Security Council Unanimously Extends UNITAD Mandate

The Security Council decided unanimously today to extend the mandate of the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) until 18 September 2021.

The extension, reflected in resolution S/RES/2544 (2020), was made at the request of the Government of Iraq.

Special Adviser and Head of the Investigative Team, Karim Asad Ahmad Khan QC (pictured) welcomed the unanimity of the Council’s decision as a demonstration of the continued collective will of the international community and the Government of Iraq to work side-by-side in pursuit of justice and accountability for the victims and survivors of Da’esh crimes.

Expressing his appreciation for the continued support of the Government of Iraq for the mandate and work of the Team, the Special Adviser underlined the commitment of UNITAD to continue to work closely with Iraqi authorities in the implementation of its mandate.

Special Adviser Khan emphasized that “since the start of our work in Iraq in late 2018, the realization of our mandate and the fulfillment of the promise made to survivors through Council resolution 2379 (2017) has relied on a unique partnership between our Team, Iraqi authorities, impacted communities and all States. I am delighted that, upon the request of the Government of Iraq, the Council has again underlined its unanimous support for this work, and I look forward to building on the progress made to date with our Iraqi counterparts in the coming year”.

Established through resolution 2379 (2017), the Investigative Team is mandated to support efforts to hold members of ISIL/Da’esh accountable for War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide they committed in Iraq.

Special Adviser Khan last briefed the Security Council on 15 June (See Statement as delivered).

(Source: UN)

The post Security Council Extends UNITAD Mandate first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Iraq launches National Adaptation Plan process for climate change resilience

The Government of Iraq, in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), has launched a process to develop a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) to build the country’s resilience to climate change.

The NAP process aims to reduce vulnerability to the negative impacts of climate change, especially in developing countries, through strategic planning based on projections of future climate change. NAPs are seen as one of the most important mechanisms for adapting to climate change.

The three-year project, funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) with over USD$2.5m, will support Iraq to formulate and implement its NAP, with a particular focus on strengthening institutional, technical and financial capacities to ensure that medium- to long-term adaptation needs are integrated into national development planning.

The project launch event was held virtually on 16 September, in the presence of the Ministry of Health and Environment in Iraq, the Nationally Designated Authority (NDA) committee, representatives of other Iraqi ministries, the National Committee on Climate Change, local non-governmental organizations, and representatives from UN organizations working in the country.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Jasim Humadi, Deputy Minister of Health and Environment in Iraq and National Focal Point of GCF, said:

“According to the GEO-6 report issued by UNEP, Iraq is classified as the fifth most vulnerable country in the world to decreased water and food availability and extreme temperatures, which will negatively affect food security, water security, social security and health security in Iraq. This project will support national efforts that focus on increasing Iraq’s adaptive capacity, increasing the resilience of affected sectors, increasing the awareness and preparedness of rural communities, supporting youth and women, and achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.”

A key aspect of Iraq’s NAP process is to identify, assess and bridge existing gaps in climate knowledge, as these gaps constitute barriers to long-term climate planning across local, regional and national planning processes. Climate risk assessments will be carried out to identify the livelihoods and sectors most threatened by climate impacts, as well as the most urgent adaptation priorities.

UNEP’s Regional Director and Representative in West Asia, Sami Dimassi, noted:

“The impacts of climate change on development in Iraq are already being experienced. This new project aims to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change by strengthening the country’s adaptive capacity and preparing the ground for future adaptation planning and projects. UNEP is proud to be the executing entity for the project and remains deeply committed to its core mandate of facilitating environmental governance and working with the Government of Iraq to ensure the NAP process allows for building back better.”

Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano (pictured), the UN Resident Coordinator for Iraq said:

“The development of this National Adaptation Plan could not be more important for Iraq as it is a country highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The United Nations stands ready to assist Iraq to further strengthen institutional and technical capacities. We will make the best use of the mandates and expertise of our system to deliver as one today and beyond the lifespan of the project.”

Climate change in Iraq is expected to reduce annual rainfall, which will lead to a surge in dust storms, a reduction in agricultural productivity, and increased water scarcity. These challenges are likely to have serious impacts on the health of the people of Iraq, as well as the agricultural and industry sectors, which contribute significantly to the Iraq’s GDP.

(Source: UN)

The post Iraq launches Plan for Climate Change Resilience first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

At the weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday it was agreed that the Ministry of Planning will finance the replacement of the water channel known as Al-Bada’a canal with a 238-km water pipeline.

According to a government statemet, this will help reduce water scarcity and increase access to safe drinking water in Basra.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

The post New 238-km Water Pipeline to serve Basra first appeared on Iraq Business News.

From the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF).

Dear ICF friends,

Our annual “In Their Shoes” 5K race weekend in Washington DC draws dignitaries, diplomats, veterans and business-people, families, and the media. This year we are doing things a little differently, and you can join us online for our first INTERNATIONAL VIRTUAL EVENT. 

Run, walk, bike or swim to help us meet our collective goal of travelling 6,202 miles in support of Iraq’s orphans and street children. There are more than 100 different types of activities you can count, and it’s even wheelchair-friendly!

Get ready. Join Us! Sign up now, and help us travel for the whole month of October!


How it works:

1.  Participants sign up online via the My Virtual Mission platform (link via button above), and create a fundraising page if desired. If you want to create a fundraising page, reply directly to this email and we will help you set one up, it only takes a couple of minutes.

2.  Participants pair their Fitbit, phone apps, or manually update their progress to the app, collectively progressing the distance.

3.  Finishers receive a digital certificate, and those who travel 25KM or more receive a custom ICF running buff (neck gaiter) with our new ICF pattern pictured below!

The post Opportunity to Support Iraq’s Street Children first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By Christophe Michels, Managing Director of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC).

Engineer Rasmi Al Jabri passed away suddenly yesterday on a walk outside his home in Erbil. He will be missed by his family, his tribe and his many friends, colleagues and admirers.

Rasmi was born 1939 in the city of Qurnah in Southern Iraq, where the two great rivers meet and where, it is said, the Garden of Eden once stood. His long and beautiful life encompasses the rise and fall of Iraq in the 20th century and the struggle for Iraq following the war of 2003. Rasmi was a true patriot who cut across political, ethnic, and religious divisions, which all rather seemed strange and artificial to him. He was a man of exceptional integrity with wonderful humour. He loved being part of the community he happened to be in and spoke to all people around him treating them with equal respect, be they ministers, mullahs, taxi drivers or waiters.

Rasmi was constantly on the move in Iraq, in the Middle East, Europe, and Canada, but he never left his home country for long. This happened only once to complete his studies as chemical and petroleum engineer in Birmingham. He loved and admired the United Kingdom and he fully dedicated his last years to building ties between Iraq and the UK. His work with IBBC was purely voluntary and his achievements were so great that you could not have advertised for someone to do the same.

He started with IBBC as an early member representing his company the Basrah Engineering Group (BEG). After a few years he decided to hand BEG over to his associates and to fully engage with IBBC. He first joined our Executive Committee, and soon afterwards became our Iraq Representative to finally join the IBBC Board and become Deputy Chairman.

He worked tirelessly at resolving problems of our Members in Iraq, but his real delight was to organise large delegations of Iraqi businessmen from all regions of Iraq to attend events in London. This effort culminated in over 400 Iraqi businessmen coming to the UK thanks to his efforts last year alone. There is an argument to be made that these businessmen did little business during their visits but this missed the fundamental point that having them leave Iraq and visit the UK was a crucial achievement in itself. It opened a first door to the wider world for many of them and at the same time created a unique feeling of cohesion and patriotism between these large and diverse groups of Iraqis, who found themselves visiting a western country often for the first time.

For more than a year now Rasmi has been working closely with our Baghdad office manager Muhanad Al Khatab, particularly when it comes to the organisation of these Iraqi delegations. I know that Muhanad who had deep sympathies for Rasmi and resembles him in many ways will continue this important work in the years to come.

In July of last year Rasmi, Brigadier James Ellery and myself visited Ramadi following an invitation of our friend and former MP of Ramadi Jaber Al Jabri. When we arrived at Jaber’s residence we found the great reception hall filled with maybe 50 or 60 dignitaries representing the tribes and the political and academic elites of Anbar. For 2 hours Rasmi spoke to all present about IBBC, the United Kingdom and Iraq, and why we had come to visit, and he listened and responded to all the comments made and questions asked. It was a very lively discussion which Rasmi mastered completely on his own talking to these important people whom he had never met before. Our excursion to Ramadi was indeed successful with the Governor of Anbar visiting IBBC in the UK only a few months later.

The day of Rasmi’s demise I spoke with him as I did almost every day and told him that one of our Members was in advanced discussions with Anbar governorate to engage in a major infrastructure project. This news pleased him, but did not surprise him, after all was it not the logical thing to happen?

Sayyid Rasmi whom I have never seen wearing a black turban and who in bars and cafes amused himself and others by ordering a gin and tonic without gin, will be deeply missed. It was a true privilege and blessing to have known him so well.

The post Rasmi Al Jabri, 1939 – 2020 first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

Italian oil company ENI is reported to be in talks to build a $4-billion, 300,000-bpd refinery near Iraq’s Zubair oil field.

S&P Global quotes Oil Minister Ihsan Ismaael [Ahsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismail] as saying that that the first phase, with a capacity of 150,000 bpd, would be operational by 2025.

The Minster reportedly added that the Zubair field, in which Eni holds a stake, is expected to produce 700,000 bpd by 2027.

Click here to read the full article.

(Source: S&P Global)

The post Eni to Invest bn in Iraqi Refinery? first appeared on Iraq Business News.

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

Iraq’s al-Faw port project’s endless delays

Although 10 years have passed since the Iraqi government started laying the groundwork for the al-Faw grand port in southern Iraq, the project is still far from completion.

Iraqi minister of transportation Nasser Hussain Bandar said Aug. 15 that his ministry is planning to sign a contract with the South Korean company Hanwha for resuming the al-Faw project.

Click here to read the full story.

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

Iraq’s al-Faw port project’s endless delays

Although 10 years have passed since the Iraqi government started laying the groundwork for the al-Faw grand port in southern Iraq, the project is still far from completion.

Iraqi minister of transportation Nasser Hussain Bandar said Aug. 15 that his ministry is planning to sign a contract with the South Korean company Hanwha for resuming the al-Faw project.

Click here to read the full story.

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq:

The Government of Iraq, led by Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, and the Government of United States, led by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, held a meeting of the Higher Coordinating Committee today in Washington, D.C. as described in the 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement for a Relationship of Friendship and Cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq (SFA). The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to a robust and productive bilateral relationship. Separate sessions covered economics, energy, health and environment, political and diplomatic issues, security and counterterrorism, and education and cultural relations.

In the economic session, Iraq outlined its ideas for economic reform plans that would unleash faster growth and a more vibrant private sector. The United States reiterated its support for Iraq’s economic reforms and identified areas of cooperation that could help Iraq implement its plans. Both countries discussed coordination with international financial institutions to help Iraq recover from low oil prices and COVID-19 and put the country on a more sustainable fiscal path. Both nations plan to cooperate on e-government, financial sector reforms, and private sector partnerships to boost U.S.-Iraq trade and investment. The two governments look forward to holding a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting later this year to follow up on the June 2019 meeting.

In the energy session, the United States and Iraq discussed the Government of Iraq’s efforts to increase domestic electricity and gas production, reduce wasteful gas flaring, and implement energy market reforms. The two governments plan to hold an Energy Joint Coordination Committee meeting soon to discuss these topics in more detail. On the sidelines of today’s meeting, the Government of Iraq signed substantial energy agreements with U.S. companies, including General Electric, Honeywell UOP, and Stellar Energy, as well as Memoranda of Understanding with Chevron and Baker Hughes, as concrete examples of the U.S.-Iraq energy partnership. Iraq and the United States noted ongoing cooperation with the International Energy Agency (IEA) to develop plans for electricity tariff reform in Iraq. The two governments plan to continue cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member-states and Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority on Iraq/GCC electricity connections and energy investment. The United States welcomed the progress in the talks between the Iraqi Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government with regard to budgetary and energy issues.

In the health and environmental session, the United States and Iraq noted their ongoing partnership to combat COVID-19 and their intent to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to expand bilateral health trade. The two governments also discussed ongoing cooperation on environmental, water, and scientific issues and plan to hold a separate Joint Coordination Committee meeting on those topics.

In the political and diplomatic session, the United States reaffirmed its respect for Iraq’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and relevant decisions of the Iraqi legislative and executive authorities. The two sides discussed how the United States could best support the Iraqi government as it prepares for parliamentary elections, including by increasing support for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq. Both nations reiterated their support for freedom of expression and media freedom, and the necessity to hold accountable the perpetrators of violence against peaceful protesters. The United States supports Iraq’s efforts to improve relations with its neighboring states and plans to assist the Iraqi Government in this endeavor. The United States reaffirmed its continued commitment to supporting Iraq in advancing durable solutions for internally displaced persons that are voluntary, safe, and dignified, and to help those communities that have been targeted for genocide by ISIS. The two sides recognized the need to improve access for humanitarian organizations.

In the security and counterterrorism session, the United States and Iraq reaffirmed their commitment to achieving common objectives through bilateral security coordination and continued cooperation between the Iraqi Security Forces and the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The two delegations praised the growing capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces and their joint success in the fight against ISIS, which has enabled the Global Coalition to transition to a new phase focused on training, equipping, and supporting the Iraqi Security Forces. The Iraqi government expressed its gratitude to the Global Coalition and asserted its willingness to facilitate this transition and confirmed its obligation as host country to provide protection for the Coalition’s personnel and diplomatic facilities in Iraq. Adapting to the requirements of this new phase, the Global Coalition has been able to depart from some Iraqi military bases and reduce combat forces in Iraq. The two sides plan on separate technical talks to manage the timing and transition to the new phase, including any associated redeployments from Iraq. The U.S. and Iraqi delegations recognized the progress of the Iraqi Federal Security Institutions and the Kurdistan Regional Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs in coordinating their efforts to combat ISIS remnants and discussed ways to further this cooperation.

In the education and culture session, the two governments discussed both past and current U.S. support for Iraq’s efforts to strengthen higher education in cooperation with American universities in Iraq, through the Fulbright program, and through the U.S. Embassy’s Higher Education Partnership initiative. The United States and Iraq identified additional ways to support Iraq’s plans to address higher education reform priorities and strengthen U.S.-Iraqi university partnerships. The two sides also reviewed progress in the return of the Baath Party Archives to Iraq as an important artifact of Iraq’s history. The two delegations discussed their mutual efforts to preserve Iraq’s rich cultural heritage and religious diversity and reaffirmed their commitment to cooperating in the return of Iraqi cultural property illegally imported into the United States to their rightful place in Iraq.

(Source: US State Dept)

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

No quick fix for Iraq’s Electricity Crisis

The heat wave in Iraq has raised the ire of citizens in the central and southern areas, pushing many to take to the streets once again.

The popular protests in the squares had settled down due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the searing hot weather and declining hours of electricity supply have forced the new government to once again face the protesters.

Click here to read the full story.