The Government of Denmark has committed DKK 6,000,000 (approximately US$870,000) to support the Government of Iraq’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq.

The funds have been pledged under UNDP Iraq’s overall COVID-19 response package which is administered under the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) and includes increasing the testing capacity of laboratories, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, increasing the number of isolation wards, promoting social cohesion, and undertaking assessments to establish post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.

Denmark’s contribution will largely focus on supporting local peace committees – established by UNDP with Denmark’s support in 2018, to promote social cohesion, peace and stability in Iraq post-ISIL – to respond to the pandemic. Funds will also be used to boost the capacity of youth and women’s community groups to address social issues like stigma and discrimination among communities.

In connection with the Danish support, the Danish Foreign Minister, Jeppe Kofod (pictured), stated:

“The Danish support for Iraq’s COVID-19 response is a part of our continuous support for peace and stabilization in Iraq. It is very encouraging to see how local community groups are stepping up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – and I applaud the tremendous work carried out by both UNDP and these community groups, which is essential in our common efforts to curb the spread of the virus”.

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

The support of community groups in managing the COVID-19 pandemic has been invaluable. Local peace committees, along with community youth and women’s groups, have taken the initiative to protect their own communities from COVID-19 through initiatives such as sterilizing public spaces, providing food baskets for vulnerable families, and setting up mobile health clinics.

“These activities help to curb the spread of the virus but at the same time promote more cohesive communities. We’re grateful to Government of Denmark for this generous contribution and their continued commitment to a peaceful Iraq.

Denmark is a key partner for UNDP Iraq, providing more than $58 million for stabilization, social cohesion, and security sector reform activities since 2015.

(Source: UN)

Denmark Grants Additional USD 4.4 Million for Explosive Hazard Management in Retaken Areas of Iraq

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq welcomes an additional contribution of DKK 29.5 million (over USD 4.4 million) from the Government of Denmark to further enable stabilization and humanitarian efforts through explosive hazard management in retaken areas of Iraq.

With this contribution UNMAS will be able to better support the safe, dignified, and voluntary return of displaced communities, as well as permit rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts to proceed.

UNMAS in Iraq is working closely with the United Nations system and the Government of Iraq to enable humanitarian and stabilization efforts by providing survey and clearance activities of explosive hazards.

As part of its response to the mine action needs of the country, UNMAS also undertakes risk education initiatives targeting vulnerable women, men, and children who live in retaken areas. This ensures that local citizens are informed of the dangers posed by explosive hazards, and are aware of suspicous items.

In addition, UNMAS also works with the Government of Iraq to provide technical support to the Ministry of Interior and national mine action authorities with trainings on Explosive Ordnance Disposal/Improvised Explosive Device Disposal and Explosive Hazard First Responder.

In connection with the Danish support, the Danish Foreign Minister, Jeppe Kofod (pictured), stated:

”Denmark has been a long-time supporter for UNMAS and their important work in Iraq. It is my hope that the additional Danish support will facilitate the return of IDPs to areas previously taken by ISIL and help to stabilise Iraq. Denmark remains committed to the long-term stabilisation efforts in Iraq.”

Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Senior Programme Manager, said:

“Through its continuous support and close collaboration with UNMAS, the Government of Denmark is helping to reduce the threat posed by explosive hazards, including improvised explosive devices, to the Iraqi people, thereby enhancing community safety and facilitating the return of displaced people to their homes.”

The Government of Denmark is an essential contributor to UNMAS explosive hazard management activities in Iraq. This latest contribution brings to DKK 148 million (more than USD 22 million) the total amount of funds donated since 2016. Additional donations are planned for 2020 and 2021.

(Source: UN)

Denmark and UNITAD Sign Agreement to Enhance Investigative and Forensic Capacity in Iraq

The United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement a project aimed at strengthening the capacity of Iraqi courts, judicial system and forensic capacity, with whom UNITAD works in the implementation of its mandate pursuant to Security Council resolution 2379 (2017).

The Danish contribution of approx. USD 800,000 (5 million DKK) will fund a training and mentoring programme (2020-2021) that UNITAD will deliver for investigative judges in key courts across the country, and forensic experts, as part of their ongoing cooperation with the Investigative Team.

The training programme will be informed by a comprehensive assessment of training needs, so that the developed training modalities are tailored to address specific challenges faced in Iraq.

Incoming UNITAD National Professional Officers, who work on an equal footing with international staff, will also benefit from the investigative and analytical training under this project, enabling them to get quickly up to speed with the work of the Investigative Team, and acquire new skills that can be employed in their daily activities.

In connection with the Danish support, the Danish Foreign Minister, Jeppe Kofod, stated:

“Important that we maintain focus on the long-term goals – not least in the present situation. It is my hope that the Danish support provided through UNITAD will strengthen transitional justice in Iraq, and thereby contribute to heal the wounds inflicted by ISIL on the Iraqi society. The Danish support for capacity building of the Iraqi judicial system will contribute to the ambitions voiced by both the Iraqi government and the people of Iraq for a society based on the rule of law”.

Special Adviser Karim A. A. Khan QC thanked Denmark for its support and stressed:

“That enhancing Iraqi capacities is part of UNITAD’s mandate and directly feeds into the Investigative Team’s work to ensuring accountability for ISIL individuals responsible for the most serious crimes and delivering justice to victims. Through holding fair trials, in which incontrovertible evidence is presented to national courts, can we expose the baseless ideology of ISIL, establish justice for victims from all Iraqi communities and prevent revisionism.”

Ultimately, by enhancing investigative and forensic capacities in Iraq, this project ensures the collection of evidence on the ground meets the highest international standards, and contributes towards strengthening rule of law in key areas impacted by the crimes committed by ISIL.

The Danish contribution to the UNITAD Trust Fund is provided through the Peace and Stabilization Fund as part of the Syria–Iraq Peace and Stabilization Program (2019-2021).

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

Denmark has reportedly offered to lead a NATO mission to train Iraqi forces, replacing Canada, whose term ends in late 2020.

According to AFP, the year-old NATO mission provides around 500 soldiers to advise and train Iraqi troops.

It qutoes the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (pictured) as saying that they would be prepared to send 200 troops to Iraq at the end of next year.

(Source: AFP)

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq welcomes an additional contribution of DKK 73 million (over USD 11 million) from the Government of Denmark to mitigate the threat posed by explosive hazards and enable stabilization efforts in liberated areas of Iraq.

The scale, scope, and complexity of explosive hazard contamination in liberated areas is substantial, and far exceeds the existing national resources to clear them.

This multi-year contribution (2019 to 2021) from the Government of Denmark is critical to the continuation of operations and brings the total Danish support for UNMAS work in Iraq to DKK 165,500,000 (approximately USD 26 million).

Through strategic partnerships and engagement of both internal and external stakeholders, and in support of the Government of Iraq and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNMAS has so far cleared over 1,400 critical infrastructure sites. These include bridges, water treatment and power plants, hospitals and schools. All littered with explosive hazards following the defeat of ISIL.

With this contribution from Denmark, UNMAS will be able to better support the safe, orderly, voluntary and dignified return of displaced communities through explosive hazard management, risk education, and capacity enhancement initiatives in support of the Iraqi government.

Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Anders Samuelsen (pictured) underlined the importance of explosive threat mitigation for the return of IDPs:

“We are painfully aware that the return of internally displaced persons to some kind of normal life is not possible as long as explosive hazards threaten their life and safety. That is why UNMAS’ work remains so critical.”

Mr. Pehr Lodhammar, Senior Programme Manager of UNMAS in Iraq, said:

Explosive hazards are found everywhere: in infrastructure, schools, hospitals, homes and under bridges. They are mixed with the rubble, and are found in rural and urban areas, sometimes visible, but often hidden, waiting for potential victims. They must all be cleared before communities are safe.

“UNMAS has been in Iraq for just over three years, and we still have a long way to go. We are very grateful for this generous contribution from Denmark that will allow us to continue our work in explosive hazard management and simultaneously save lives in the process.

(Source: UN)

Denmark provides an additional $4 million to Security Sector Reform in Iraq

The Government of Denmark will contribute an additional 27 million Danish Kroner (approx. USD 4 million) to advance Security and Justice Sector Reform in Iraq in the coming years.

This support will be managed and facilitated by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

UNDP Security Sector Reform/ Rule of Law Programme provides advice to Government of Iraq’s Security Sector Reform Programme through partnerships with the Office of the National Security Advisor, Ministry of Interior, Higher Judicial Council, Ministry of Justice, Parliamentary Security and Defense Committee, Iraqi civil society organizations and, other international donors.

The Danish grant will, among others, be used to support implementation of the Local Police Road Map, for development of quick impact projects to improve police – public partnerships, and for mid-level management and, related specialized trainings to Iraqi police officers in close collaboration between Danish National Police, UNDP and the Ministry of Interior. Denmark has supported Iraq’s security and justice sector reform efforts since 2015.

Danish Ambassador Gert Meinecke said “Denmark maintains its commitment to supporting Iraq’s transition to stability, security and recovery”.

While visiting a mid-level management training course at the Ministry of Interior, the Danish Ambassador expressed hope that the trained Iraqi Police Officers will provide a safer and more secure day-to-day environment for the people of Iraq. “The strengthening of local police is important in the transition from ‘green to blue’ security”. added Ambassador Meinecke.

Mr. Vakhtang Svanidze, Officer in Charge of UNDP Iraq said “I would like to thank the Government of Denmark for its generous contribution of 27 Million Danish Kroner which comes in addition to the in- kind support of the Danish police advisor and, expert trainers”. “Improving key public security services such as policing and justice services in the liberated and, other areas will be a key determiner to Iraq’s transition to stability and, maintain safe returns” added Mr. Svanidze.

UNDP is very grateful to the Government of Denmark’s committed and generous contributions to UNDP Security Sector Reform/ Rule of Law Programme in Iraq.

(Source: UNDP)

By John Lee.

Iraq has been ranked 171st out of 190 countries in the World Bank‘s recent Doing Business 2019 report, down from 168th place the previous year.

Top of the list were New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark, with last place going to Somalia, just behind Eritrea and Venezuela. Iran ranked 128th, with Libya 186th.

Doing Business measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year’s ranking on the ease of doing business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Doing Business also measures labor market regulation, which is not included in this year’s ranking.

More details here.

(Source: World Bank)

UNDP and Denmark Support Mid – Level Police Management Training in Iraq for Citizen Service Oriented Policing

On 11 November 2018 UNDP and Danish National Police started the first of a series of Mid-Level Police Management Training Courses for the Local Police in Iraq.

The courses are developed and delivered in close collaboration with the Ministry of Interior’s Training and Qualification Directorate. Each course duration is three weeks and, a total of 300 police officers from liberated and, other provinces in Iraq are expected to benefit from the training.

The key objectives of the course are to:

  • advance the implementation of the Local Police Road Map and, its reform priorities through leadership development at both national and provincial levels.
  • motivate police mid-level leadership to lead Iraqi police transformation from a fighting force to a public security service in post – ISIL Iraq with modern managerial techniques and, skills in-line with national and international standards.

The Danish Ambassador Gert Meinecke expressed, that he hopes “the training courses will contribute to successful transformation of the Local Police Service Road Map into tangible action on the ground”.

Wishing all participants a successful course the Danish National Police Commissioner, Jens Henrik Hoejbjerg said:

“Danish police have a lot to offer internationally. Therefore, I am pleased that Danish police officers will be responsible for the training of mid-level police managers for the Iraqi police. I have no doubt that we can contribute to the fact that both the Iraqi police and the Iraqi communities continue to move forward and develop”.

UNDP Acting Country Director Gerardo Noto added:

… improving Local Police Service is an identified key priority within the Government of Iraq’s ongoing Security Sector Reform Programme under the system priority Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement that is supporting by UNDP and International Partners.

“Therefore, leadership development is a key precursor in the overall implementation of the Government’s Security Sector Programme as a fundamental pillar for rule of law and building sustainable peaceful societies.”

UNDP is grateful to Denmark for its generous funding and, for the highly experienced police trainers to conduct the Mid – Level Management Courses to Iraqi Police.

(Source: UNDP)

UNODC Launches New Counter-terrorism Programme in Iraq, To Open Baghdad Office

Within the framework of the fruitful cooperation between Iraq and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) officially launched today its new programme for Iraq (2018-2019) on the “Lessons learned from Iraq’s counter-terrorism efforts and response to future challenges: Iraq after Dae’sh”, and announced the plan to open an office in Baghdad.

The launch was made at a event in Baghdad under the patronage of His Excellency Prime Minister Dr. Haider Al-Abadi. At the event, Iraqi representatives shared the lessons learnt and the best practices from fighting Dae’sh in Iraq.

Ending the scourge of terrorism and protecting people is a priority that concerns us all,” said UNODC Executive Director Mr. Yuri Fedotov. He added that this event was a testament to the strong partnership between Iraq and UNODC.

With the rise of terrorism in Iraq, UNODC multiplied its efforts in providing counter-terrorism legal technical assistance and capacity building assistance to its Government.

Also speaking at the event, Ms. Christine Albertin (pictured), UNODC Representative for Middle East and North Africa said: “Iraq suffered most from terrorism, being the greatest victim of terrorist activities in the region and a target of several terrorist groups and militants.

Ms. Albertin added:

“With the rise of terrorism in Iraq, UNODC has enhanced its response and multiplied its efforts in providing counter-terrorism legal technical assistance and capacity-building assistance to the Government by training of hundreds of competent law enforcement officers and criminal justice officers. As a result of these activities and capacity-building measures, important outcomes and substantial milestones have been reached like, for example, an increase in criminal justice investigators who have started using new investigation techniques and tools, better understanding of Special Investigation techniques, and the development of the methodology in obtaining and processing digital evidence. Together with the outstanding efforts by the Government, rates of mortality due to terrorism have dropped and schooling rates have gone up”.

The UNODC/TPB programmes for Iraq have been generously funded by the Government of Japan since 2014. Additional contributions from the Government of Denmark were received in 2017.

(Source: UN)

Denmark has contributed an additional US$ 21.4 million (DKK 135 million) to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), which finances fast-track initiatives to stabilize areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

This brings Denmark’s total contribution since 2015 to US$ 38.1 million (DKK 246 million).

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

“It is truly impressive to see the progress that is being made in newly liberated areas. More than half of all of the nearly six million people who fled their homes during the conflict have returned. Accelerating stabilization so the 2.6 million people who are still displaced can go home and rebuild their lives is one of Iraq’s highest priorities.”

The Danish Ambassador to Iraq, H.E. Gert Meinecke, said:

Denmark congratulates the Iraqi people and the Iraqi Security Forces on the continued success in liberating Iraq from ISIL, with support from the International Coalition. Rehabilitation of critical infrastructure and reestablishing public services remain critical to enable the return of people displaced by the conflict.

“This additional contribution to the Funding Facility for Stabilization, together with our funding for mine action and our support to strengthen the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces, demonstrates Denmark’s continued commitment to support stability in Iraq.

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

The Facility currently has more than 1,600 projects underway in 23 liberated cities and districts, helping local authorities to quickly rehabilitate essential infrastructure. More than 95 percent of all stabilization projects are done by the local private sector employing local labour.

(Source: UNDP)