ILO and RDPP launch a partnership to combat worst forms of child labour in Iraq

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Regional Development and Protection Programme for Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq (RDPP II) have launched a partnership to tackle the worst forms of child labour amongst Syrian refugees, internally displaced persons and vulnerable host community members in Iraq.

Years of conflict, displacement and destruction of infrastructure have increased the vulnerability of children in Iraq to child labour, with around 7% of children between the ages of 5 to 17 engaged in various forms of child labour, including dangerous and exploitative work.

The EUR 2,559,175 project targets both children in or at risk of the worst forms of child labour and their families in efforts to increase protection and find sustainable solutions that address the root causes of child labour in the country. It will be implemented by the ILO through close coordination with the government and in partnership with a number of local civil society organisations as well as other UN agencies in Iraq. The project is supported by the European Regional Development Protection Programme (RDPP II) – a joint European initiative by the Czech Republic, Denmark, the European Union, Ireland and Switzerland .

“Our partnership with the ILO aims to support Government institutions and specialized local NGOs to jointly address the drivers of child labour,” stated Vincenzo Schiano Lomoriello, RDPP Project Manager. “This approach encourages the engagement of partners in both piloting local solutions to curb child labour more efficiently, and in designing strategies to ensure the policy framework further protect children.”

The ILO and national partners will work closely to pilot a Child Labour Monitoring System to identify vulnerable children at risk of or already in child labour and refer them to the relevant actors to receive the needed support.

They will also ensure that vulnerable children have access to tailored formal and non-formal education. This will include the ILO’s SCREAM (Supporting Children’s Rights through Education, the Arts and the Media) programme, which helps educators worldwide promote understanding and awareness of child labour among young people. Guardians and older siblings above the minimum age of employment will be supported to access employment services, livelihoods opportunities and informal apprenticeships to support their resilience and avoid resorting to negative coping mechanisms.

“Child Labour is a longstanding issue in Iraq for a number of reasons, including conflict and poverty,” said Maha Kattaa, ILO Iraq Country Coordinator. “An effective child labour monitoring system is critical to facilitate the identification, withdrawal, referral and rehabilitation of vulnerable children through coordinated efforts with all partners involved. We are pleased to be working with RDPP on ensuring that such a system is in place, in addition to other interventions which will enhance our efforts to combat child labour in the country.”

On the policy level, a National Action Plan Against Child Labour will be developed in close consultation with tripartite constituents, including the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, to ensure better protection for vulnerable children and families from the worst forms of child labour.

Iraq has ratified all key international conventions on child labour, namely the ILO Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) , the ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) and the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child, which are central to the fight against child labour.

(Source: UN)

The post Partnership to Combat Child Labour in Iraq first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Launch of Sumereen: Socio-economic growth through eco-tourism in Thi Qar

Funded by the European Union (EU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will be supporting socio-economic growth through eco-tourism and cultural heritage preservation in the Governorate of Thi Qar, south of Iraq.

Virtually launched, project Sumereen: Sumerian Youth for Economic Development and Cultural Heritage, will be implemented in partnership with a number of non-governmental organizations, namely Un Ponte Per, Humat Dijlah, Safina Projects and Carlo Leopardi Studio.

The two-year project is part of the programme Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development.Sumereen aims at the promotion of Thi Qar as a tourist destination, through the construction of tourist infrastructure in Ur archaeological site and the Marshlands, the provision of vocational training in eco-tourism and environmental conservation, in addition to the creation of employment opportunities for local communities, specifically youth and women.

Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq, H.E. Ambassador Martin Huth, said:

I am very pleased to see the launch of the Sumereen project that so well represents the EU’s approach to supporting Iraq and its people from North to South, notably also in Thi Qar. Led by the Governor, H.E. Nazem Hamid Al-Waeli, this project will provide some much-needed job opportunities for Thi Qar’s young people.

“I am happy that Sumereen also provides a long-term perspective for the communities by promoting the Governorates’ unique cultural and natural heritage, the archaeological site of Ur, and the marshes. Combining sustainable socio-economic development with environmental preservation is the way forward for the green recovery of Iraq. I do wish all our partners the best of success for this important project.

Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Ms. Zena Ali-Ahmad, said:

Sumereen is a promising project for the people of Thi Qar and the future of eco-tourism in the south of Iraq. We are grateful for the EU for their support to the important programme that will help us provide the necessary support to the local communities.

“We look forward to working closely with our partners in the governorate to achieve tangible, sustainable results that can transform the image of this culturally-rich Governorate, and support the youth find their place in the job market, as well as promote the investment environment in the area. Building resilient communities remains a top priority for UNDP in Iraq.

Representative of Un Ponte Per in Iraq, Sumereen Project Manager, Mr. Toon Bijnens, stated:

Un Ponte Per believes that the Marshlands and the site of Ur, both included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as the Ahwar, can foster the socio-economic development of Thi Qar. We are glad to be contributing to this goal through our partnership with UNDP.

“In the coming months, Sumereen will be involving local communities, women, youth, civil society, local authorities and the private sector through participatory processes for the preservation and development of Ur and the Marshlands.

The programme Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development aims at contributing to the stability and socio-economic development of Iraq through enhancing democratic governance at the local level. It is working to improve 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.

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

For additional information, please contact:

UNDP Iraq
Ms. Nidaa Hilal, Senior Communications Specialist
Email: nidaa.hilal@undp.org
Mob: +964 751 745 0799

Un Ponte Per
Mr. Yahia Kareem, Communication Officer
Email: yahia.kareem@unponteper.it
Mob: +964 772 550 1242
unponteper.it

The EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq
Mr. Alsadiq Al Adilee, Press and Information Officer
Email: Alsadiq.Al-Adilee@eeas.europa.eu
Mob: +964 780 928 5377
eeas.europa.eu/delegations/iraq
facebook.com/EUinIraq
@euambIraq

(Source: UNDP)

By Sajad Jiyad, for the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Torn between two allies: How Europeans can reduce Iraqi dependence on Iran and the US

After the long fight against the Islamic State group (ISIS), Iraq is now struggling to win the peace and faces acute challenges in achieving stability.

Caught in escalating tension between the United States and Iran, and confronted with a resurgent ISIS, the Iraqi leadership is paralysed by political deadlock and impending economic collapse.

The potential for the deterioration of conditions in Iraq should cause real concern among European governments that have already invested significant resources to defeat ISIS and stabilise the country.

Moreover, a recovery in the fortunes of ISIS, and greater tension between Iran and the US in Iraq, would undoubtedly have implications for European security – while a collapse of the Iraqi state would reverberate across the region in dangerous ways.

Read the full article here.

Foreign Minister Calls on his German Counterpart to Support the Removal of Iraq from List of High-risk Countries in Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mr. Fuad Hussein received a phone call from German Foreign Minister Mr. Heiko Maas. The two Ministers discussed bilateral relations between the two countries, and the prospects for promoting them to meet the aspirations of the two friendly peoples.

Minister Fuad Hussein affirmed his keenness to enhance ways of bilateral cooperation with Berlin in various fields.

Minister Fuad Hussein congratulated his German counterpart on his assumption of the presidency of the European Union, expressing his aspiration for the relations between Iraq and Europe to witness a development that contributes to achieving the aspirations of the two sides, and called for Mr. Heiko Maas to intensify his efforts to remove Iraq from the list of high-risk countries in money laundering and terrorist financing.

The German Foreign Minister affirmed that he would chair the ministerial meeting of the EU next week, and he would use his efforts to address this issue upon the request of Iraq.

The two sides discussed the economic file and activating the mechanisms of bilateral cooperation in a way that benefits Iraq and Germany.

The Minister affirmed that the doors of the Iraqi market are open to German companies for its long history of working in Iraq and the Ministry will work as far as it is concerned to communicate with the concerned authorities and ministries to address the difficulties that face Siemens.

The German Foreign Minister revealed the strong desire of German companies to work in Iraq.

The regional and international issues and their repercussions on Iraq had a share in the discussions between the two ministers. Minister Fuad Hussein called on Germany to use its political and economic influence with regional countries to prevent interference in Iraq’s internal affairs, pointing out that Iraq’s new foreign policy depends on the equation of finding balanced relations with all neighboring countries based on the principle of good neighborliness, achieving common interests, solving problems by peaceful means, and distancing Iraq and its people from international and regional tensions.

On his part, Mr. Maas considered that Iraq’s policy in establishing its relationship represents the right path for relations with regional countries, noting that Germany will work hard to protect Iraqi sovereignty, confirming Germany’s continued support to Iraq in various fields.

Thr two Ministers also touched on the Syrian situation, and Minister Fuad Hussein affirmed that the complex security and political situation and fighting in Syria are negatively affecting the Iraqi security situation.

Mr. Heiko Maas confirmed that his government is a member of the Global coalition in the fight against Da’esh and is ready to continue to support in this field, explaining that Da’esh is a threat to all.

(Source: Iraqi Foreign Ministry)

By John Lee.

A recent contribution of USD2.8 million by the European Union has provided immediate relief to 90,000 vulnerable people -half of them children – in emergency camps in Salamiya, Hamam al Alil and Jeda’a 1 and 5 IDP camps within Ninawa governorate.

Only 39 per cent of Iraq’s population have access to safely managed drinking water. The situation is particularly dire for thousands of vulnerable families living in camps and who depend on humanitarian support for their survival.

“The generous contribution from the EU enabled UNICEF to continue trucking in safe water for drinking and cooking. This helped to protect the health of children and their families from dangerous diseases, including Acute Watery Diarrhea and Cholera, both which can result from the consumption of unsafe water,” said Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF Representative in Iraq.

Funds were also used to support appropriate sanitation facilities and maintaining a clean and hygienic environment through care maintenance and waste management, water quality monitoring and distribution.

Iraqi and non-Iraqi children continue to be vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation and in need of protection prevention and response services in both camp and non-camp settings. In addition, many of the children in former conflict areas do not have birth certificate and other civil document, which is a legacy of conflict and upheaval in Iraq. This has restricted their ability to move out of camps and to access to social services like health, education and social protection.

Thanks to the EU’s longstanding support, UNICEF has also been able to:

  • repatriate 200 foreign children back to their countries of origin;
  • provide psychosocial services to 4,235 children (2125 girls);
  • legal assistance to 596 children (188 girls) in contact with the law;
  • A further 1,107 children (373 girls) received birth registration and civil documentation.

(Source: UN)

The European Union and UNITAD Sign Agreement to support Digitization of Evidence of ISIL crimes in Iraq

The United Nation Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) and the European Union (EU) have announced the signing of a Contribution Agreement through which the EU will fund a project to support the digitization and archiving of evidentiary materials of ISIL crimes held by Iraqi authorities.

The EU’s contribution of 3.5 million EUR to this project represents the largest extrabudgetary contribution received by UNITAD to date.

Through this project, UNITAD will provide technical assistance and support to national authorities and those in the Kurdistan Region, to establish a comprehensive, indexed inventories of evidence relevant to ISIL crimes committed in Iraq.

This will strengthen the evidentiary basis for UNITAD and Iraqi national authorities in developing comprehensive case-files supporting domestic proceedings brought against ISIL members for crimes that may constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, in line with international standards.

UNITAD is implementing this project with support from the government of Iraq and in consultation with the Iraqi National Coordinating Committee. As an initial step, UNITAD will conduct detailed mapping of existing evidentiary material, before developing a detailed digitization plan.

Special Adviser Karim A. A. Khan QC (pictured), Head of UNITAD, thanked the EU for its generous support and underlined:

“The preservation and organization of evidentiary material in relation to ISIL crimes will serve to deepen the evidential foundations available for ISIL prosecutions. By establishing a comprehensive documentary record of these acts, we also contribute to global efforts to promote peace and security by ensuring that the ideologically bankrupt nature of ISIL is exposed.”

The Special Adviser added that doing all this will help ensure justice and that the gravity of these crimes – and the sacrifices made by Iraqi citizens – are not forgotten. He concluded:

“The victims, survivors – and indeed humanity – deserve no less. Accordingly, I record my gratitude to the EU for its generous contribution and to the Government of Iraq for its support of this project.”

The EU funding for the project will run for 18 months, starting on March 26, 2020.

(Source: EU)

The Council of the European Union has extended the mandate of the EU Advisory Mission in support of Security Sector Reform in Iraq (EUAM Iraq) until 30 April 2022.

The mandate, which was due to expire on 17 April 2020, was prolonged following the assessment of Iraqi needs. The mission will continue to provide advice and expertise at strategic level on the implementation of civilian aspects of Iraq’s security sector reform.

Moreover, EUAM Iraq will for the first time set up a project cell for identifying and implementing projects. The project cell will also play a key role in coordinating, facilitating and providing advice on projects implemented by EU member states and partner countries.

EUAM Iraq is based in Baghdad, and the mission’s overarching task is to support coherent implementation of the civilian related aspects of the Iraqi National Security Strategy and the security sector reform. This process, supported by several international partners, involves support to institutional reform and efforts to help counter terrorism (including countering violent extremism) and organised crime, with specific reference to border management, financial crime in particular corruption, money laundering and trafficking of cultural heritage goods.

EUAM Iraq is mandated to advise officials of the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Ministry of Interior who are responsible for driving the reform. The mission also regularly conduct visits at regional and provincial levels in support of Iraqi efforts to strengthen countrywide coordination as it relates to civilian security sector reform.

The Mission was launched on 16 October 2017 following a request from the Government of Iraq for support.

(Source: EU)

Duhok will soon have its first solar energy park in a major step towards becoming a low-carbon governorate, setting an example on sustainable renewable energy to follow in Iraq.

On 04 February 2020, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a letter of agreement with the Governorate of Duhok to establish a pilot solar park that will provide a minimum of two megawatts of electricity within two years.

The European Union (EU) provided US$2 million of funding for this project under the UNDP programme “Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development.

Governor of Duhok, Mr. Farhad Atrushi, said:

Our commitment to take climate action, deliver affordable, clean energy to the citizens and address electricity shortages remains as strong as ever. Under the Duhok Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP), we pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

“Establishing the first solar park in Duhok will contribute to achieving this goal and meet the needs of the market. We are grateful to the EU and UNDP for helping to make this happen. We look forward to purposeful partnerships with the private sector for green energy for present and future generations.

Duhok experiences serious deficits in electricity and has over 1000 electricity generators that are causing chronic air and noise pollution. According to the Sustainable Energy Action Plan that was developed under the Local Area Development Programme (LADP II), Duhok foresees the installation of solar parks to provide up to 40 megawatts of clean electricity by 2030.

Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq, H.E. Ambassador Martin Huth, said:

“This intervention will not only improve access to energy for the population in Duhok Governorate but will also ensure that this energy is green. In Europe, we are strongly determined to tackle climate change and succeed in our recently launched green deal, becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050. And I am delighted that we are able to support KRI in its own sustainable energy deal”.

Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Ms. Zena Ali-Ahmad, said:

“We are encouraged by the Governorate of Duhok’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and providing green energy to its citizens. Establishing a solar park will stimulate the economy through private sector investments, create more jobs in green economy, and above all reduce pollution. The project will represent the first introduction of solar energy supply on such a scale in Iraq.”

The programme Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development aims at contributing to the stability and socio-economic development of Iraq by enhancing democratic governance at the local level. It is working to improve 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.

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

(Source: UNDP)

By John Lee.

On 11 December 2019, Christoph Buik was appointed as new head of mission for the European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM Iraq). He will take up his duties on 1 January 2020.

Christoph Buik, a German national, is currently Director of the UN Standing Police Capacity. Previously, he was Police Commissioner for the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia. He has long experience in international peacekeeping and peace building operations.

He will take over from Markus Ritter, who has held the post since October 2017.

The decision was taken by the Political and Security Committee on 11 December 2019.

EUAM Iraq is based in Bagdad and contributes to the implementation at strategic level of a comprehensive strategy countering terrorism and organised crime with specific reference to border management, financial crime, money laundering and the trafficking of cultural heritage. The mission works in coordination with key international actors operating in Iraq, including the NATO mission in Iraq.

The mission was launched on 16 October 2017 to support the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Iraqi National Security Programme. This programme aims at building state institutions capable of consolidating security, peace and preventing conflicts under the rule of law, and outlines a number of threats to national security, including terrorism, corruption and political instability.

Please click here to read Christoph Buik’s CV

(Source: European Council)

By John Lee.

On 11 December 2019, Christoph Buik was appointed as new head of mission for the European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM Iraq). He will take up his duties on 1 January 2020.

Christoph Buik, a German national, is currently Director of the UN Standing Police Capacity. Previously, he was Police Commissioner for the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia. He has long experience in international peacekeeping and peace building operations.

He will take over from Markus Ritter, who has held the post since October 2017.

The decision was taken by the Political and Security Committee on 11 December 2019.

EUAM Iraq is based in Bagdad and contributes to the implementation at strategic level of a comprehensive strategy countering terrorism and organised crime with specific reference to border management, financial crime, money laundering and the trafficking of cultural heritage. The mission works in coordination with key international actors operating in Iraq, including the NATO mission in Iraq.

The mission was launched on 16 October 2017 to support the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Iraqi National Security Programme. This programme aims at building state institutions capable of consolidating security, peace and preventing conflicts under the rule of law, and outlines a number of threats to national security, including terrorism, corruption and political instability.

Please click here to read Christoph Buik’s CV

(Source: European Council)