Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: UN)

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

The Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council issued an official order to the Erbil Appeals Court on April 8 to implement an arrest warrant for the former governor of Ninevah province, Nawfal al-Akoub.

conflict over the post of governor ensued in the city of Mosul, which is at the heart of Ninevah province.

The Iraqi parliament voted March 24 to dismiss Gov. Akoub from his post after a ferry accident in Mosul killed nearly 100 civilians. An arrest warrant was promptly issued for Akoub.

Click here to read the full story.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held its annual Spring Conference at the Mansion House in London on 10 April, hosting officials from the UK and Iraqi Governments and delegates from the major companies operating in Iraq covering all sectors of the economy.

The conference was entitled ‘Iraq – Financing a Modern Economy’ and was organised in conjunction with the Central Bank of Iraq and the Iraq Private Banks League. H.E. Dr Fuad Hussein, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance lead a high level delegation of Government officials alongside Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, Mr Abbas Imran Mousa, DG Technical Department, Ministry of Transport, Dr Falah Al-Amiri, Councillor for Oil & Gas supplies to the Iraqi Minister of Oil,  officials from the Central Bank of Iraq, a delegation from the Union of Private Banks and the Governors of Erbil and Sulamania.

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan & Kazakhstan opened the conference alongside Alderman Sir William Russell, H.E. Dr Fuad Hussein, The Rt. Hon. Alistair Burt MP, Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Investment, Department for International Trade and Jon Wilks CMG, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq.

Dr Mehdi Al Alak presented a paper on ‘Private Sector Development and Investment in Iraq‘. Delegates received an exclusive insight into the Government’s planned measures and strategies to realise this ambition.

The event marked the 10th anniversary of the Iraq Britain Business Council and special awards were presented to Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne and Eng. Rasmi Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman of IBBC as a token of gratitude for their contribution to the organisation over the last decade.

Dr Renad Mansour of Chatham House, produced a paper on ‘The present situation in Iraq’ which was commissioned especially for the IBBC conference.

Conference Sessions & Speakers

The Banking Sector in Iraq

Chairman: Gavin Wishart, Consultant

Panellists: Dr Mazen Sabeh Ahmed, Central Bank of Iraq; Mohammed Delaimy, Standard Chartered Bank; UK Export Finance (UKEF); Ali Tariq Mostaf, Iraq Private Banking League; Richard Wilkins, JP Morgan

Stock Market & Investment Opportunities

Chairman: John Kemkers, Eversheds Sutherland

Panellists: Shwan Ibrahim Taha, Iraqi Stock Exchange; Dr Alaa Abdel Hussein Al Saadi, Iraqi Securities Commission; Abdulla al Qadi, Crescent Petroleum

Keynote Address: Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers

Oil & Gas

Chairman: Prof. Frank Gunter, Lehigh University

Panellists: Dr Mark Wharton, Shell; Lawrence Coleman, BP; Bob Dastmalchi, Chevron

Capacity Building in Iraq

Chairman: Ambassador Stuart Jones, Bechtel

Panellists: Dr Renad Mansour, Chatham House; Prof. Mohammed Al-Uzri, University of Leicester; Samer Al Mafraji, AMS Iraq

The IBBC is especially grateful to the sponsors of the event: Shell, the International Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered, Rolls-Royce and Eversheds Sutherland.

Our Partners, Speakers & Contributors

(Source: IBBC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: UN)

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has welcomed an additional contribution of USD 1,625,000 from the Government of Japan to further mitigate the threat posed by explosive hazards in support of the provision, facilitation and enablement of humanitarian and stabilization support.

Japan has recently decided a new assistance package for Iraq amounting to USD 63 million, which includes this project as a contribution to explosive hazard management,” said His Excellency Mr. Naofumi Hashimoto (pictured), Ambassador of Japan to the Federal Republic of Iraq.

He reiterated Japan’s continued support for Iraq’s reconstruction efforts, notably through humanitarian and stabilization assistance to help displaced people return to their communities.

UNMAS, working in tandem with its implementing partners, continues to maintain a weighted presence in Iraq, especially in the areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

This contribution from the Government of Japan will support UNMAS explosive hazard management activities in Iraq. UNMAS implements a strategic, comprehensive response to mitigate the risks posed by explosive hazards through three primary areas: explosive hazard management, capacity enhancement, and risk education.

This range of activities allows for a dynamic and adaptable approach covering clearance, enhancement of existing government resources, and engagement with communities to ensure a unified response to explosive hazards.

This contribution is complemented with a risk education event for internally displaced people (IDPs) sponsored by Japan, entitled “Safe Run”. Through interactive activities and a two-kilometre run for children of families residing in the camp, the event highlighted correct behaviors to adopt when encountering explosive hazards.

Mr. Katsumi Moriyasu, Consul of Japan in Erbil, talked to children in his speech at the event:

“It is my sincere hope that you keep yourselves fully cautious and protect yourselves, based upon the lessons you have learned today. You are assured that your parents, authorities, UNMAS, local and international communities continue to work closely toward a world without mines so that you, your sisters and brothers can attend school and play at outside fields, being free from getting victimized.”

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

“Significant explosive contamination remains uncleared throughout the liberated areas and pose a significant threat to all members of the affected communities, with children being especially vulnerable. Whether through direct explosive hazard management, or risk education initiatives such as this ‘Safe Run’, Japan’s generous contribution will go a long way in supporting humanitarian and stabilization efforts in the country.”

The Government of Japan is an essential contributor to UNMAS explosive hazards management activities in Iraq and has donated over USD 14.4 million since 2016.

(Source: UN)

IBBC Spring Conference 2019

Iraq – Financing a Modern Economy

10 April, The Mansion House, London

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) invites you to attend its Ninth Annual Conference at the Mansion House on the 10th of April. This year’s conference is organised in partnership with the Central Bank of Iraq and the Iraqi Private Banking League.

With a strong focus on the Iraqi banking sector, two sessions of the conference will be devoted to financial sector issues. Other areas will focus on building human capital in the public and private sector and on oil & gas.

Christophe Michels, Managing Director of IBBC states:

“The security situation in Iraq is now much improved, with a new Government in place that has a clear mandate from the people to improve governance and to provide important basic utilities. IBBC is the Iraqi Governments private sector partner of choice for developing the private sector in Iraq. We firmly believe that only private enterprise can meet the challenges facing Iraq by developing a modern economy”.

H.E. Dr Fuad Hussein, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance will lead a high level delegation alongside Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, officials from the Central Bank of Iraq, a delegation from the Iraq Private Banks League and the Governors of Erbil, Sulamania and Karbala. A large delegation of Iraqi Businessmen from all governorates of the country will also be in attendance.

Round-table discussions will take place with Iraqi officials, including the Iraqi Governors, where delegates can engage in concentrated debates on country specific issues. As well as specific round-tables on Tech in Iraq and Women’s Group.

Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers will present a paper on ‘Private Sector Development and Investment in Iraq‘. Delegates will receive an exclusive insight into the Government’s planned measures and strategies to realise this ambition. There will also be special presentations by the Central Bank of Iraq and Basra Gas Company.

Dr Renad Mansour, Research Fellow at Chatham House and the preeminent voice on Iraq in the UK is publishing a briefing paper specifically for the IBBC conference, discussing the short to medium term economic and political outlook for Iraq.

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan & Kazakhstan will open the conference, alongside The Lord Mayor Locum Tenens, H.E. Dr Fuad Hussein, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Jon Wilks CMG, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq and Louis Taylor, Chief Executive of UK Export Finance (UKEF).

Conference Sessions & Speakers

The Banking Sector in Iraq

Chair: Gavin Wishart, Shire Oak International

Panellists: Dr Mazen Sabeh Ahmed, Central Bank of Iraq; Mohammed Delaimy, Standard Chartered Bank; UK Export Finance (UKEF); Ali Tariq Mostaf, Iraq Private Banking League; Richard Wilkins, JP Morgan

Stock Marker & Investment Opportunities

Chair: John Kemkers, Eversheds Sutherland (tbc)

Panellists: Shwan Ibrahim Taham, Iraqi Stock Exchange; Dr Alaa Abdel Hussein Al Saadi, Iraqi Securities Commission; London Stock Exchange (tbc)

Oil & Gas

Chair: Prof. Frank Gunter, Lehigh University

Panellists: Dr Mark Wharton, Shell; Lawrence Coleman BP; Bob Dastmalchi, Chevron

Capacity Building in Iraq

Chair: Ambassador Stuart Jones, Bechtel

Panellists: Dr Renad Mansour, Chatham House; Prof. Mohammed Al-Uzri, University of Leicester; Samer Al Mafraji, AMS Iraq

Dr Mai Yamani will be presenting the closing remarks for this important event.

Join IBBC, its members and the international business and finance community for a full agenda of expert speakers, UK & Iraqi politicians and many networking and business development opportunities.

You can register and purchase tickets via the IBBC website: https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/event/spring-conference-at-the-mansion-house

The conference is being generously supported and sponsored by Shell, Rolls-Royce, Standard Chartered Bank and Eversheds Sutherland.

For more information email london@webuildiraq.org or telephone 020 7222 7100.

(Source: IBBC)

By John Lee.

UK-based recruiter Samuel Knight International has reportedly announced plans to open a new office in Baghdad.

According to Business Leader, the company focuses on the rail and energy sectors, and recently received investment from Gresham House Ventures.

In recent days, another British recruitment agency, SSK Recruitment, was reported to be looking to open an office in Erbil.

(Source: Business Leader)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Communications and Media Commission (CMC) has reportedly ordered operators to block calls between their customers and Korek users in a dispute over number portability.

According to Rudaw, the regulator told mobile network providers that Erbil-based Korek had failed to meet its “contractual obligations” to allow customers to keep their phone number when they change service provider, while other providers such as Zain and Asiacell had complied with the regulations.

Korek has called the policy “unfair and unjust” both to customers and companies.

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)

By John Lee.

UK-based recruitment agency SSK Recruitment is reported to be looking to open an office in Erbil.

Bdaily quotes Managing director Adam Smith as saying:

With all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, we decided to focus on building relationships in the Middle East.

“The margins are significantly higher in the Middle East than here in the UK and we’ve been lucky that through existing relationships we’ve formed with our current clients, they have in turn recommended us to other companies.

It adds that the company is looking to engage with more companies in the oil and gas sector and is holding meetings in the UK, Dubai and Iraq.

(Source: Bdaily)