The EU has announced an additional €30 million in humanitarian assistance. Another €20 million in development funding will contribute to the reconstruction of the country’s cultural heritage, as well as the creation of jobs and opportunities for vulnerable youth.

The announcement was made by Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides (pictured), on the occasion of his sixth visit to Iraq today.

Commissioner Stylianides said:

Each time I visit Iraq, I see the hope of its people despite the challenging circumstances. At this critical moment for the country, our new funding reaffirms the EU’s commitment to stand in solidarity with all Iraqis and will help the most vulnerable.”

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica added:

The EU is committed to the reconstruction of Iraq. With today’s new support, we will help to restore the rich cultural heritage of Mosul and Basrah, and at the same time create much needed jobs and opportunities.”

Whilst in Iraq, Commissioner Stylianides, alongside Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, visited Mosul, where schools and hospitals are being supported by EU funding to help the most vulnerable get access to essential services. In Erbil, the Commissioner visited camps hosting thousands displaced by conflict. In Baghdad, the Commissioner held meetings with the Iraqi authorities.

Humanitarian assistance: The new EU humanitarian assistance worth €30 million will include protection, emergency healthcare, basic shelter, food, safe water, sanitation and hygiene to those in the greatest need throughout the country. These include Iraqis who remain displaced and Syrian refugees in Iraq. It will provide mental health support, increasing services for survivors of sexual violence, and ensuring physical therapy and rehabilitation to war-wounded. Furthermore, the EU will support the resumption of basic public services including health, education, and water supply in war-affected areas, such as Mosul, western Anbar and Hawija.

Development cooperation: The €20 million development cooperation will provide tailored technical and vocation training opportunities for youth in the construction sector, to help to recover the historic urban landscape of Mosul and Basrah. In addition, it will provide small grants to Small and Medium Enterprises and associations, with a focus on the revival of socio-economic and cultural activities. This funding, to be signed on 21 February, is part of the flagship initiative ‘Revive the Spirit of Mosul’ run by UNESCO, and designed to foster social cohesion and promote peace. With the full support of the Government of Iraq, the initiative will focus the restoration and rehabilitation of cultural heritage, as well as the revival of educational and cultural institutions. This measure is part of the EU’s pledge at the Iraq Reconstruction Conference held in Kuwait in February 2018.

Today’s funding announcement brings total EU humanitarian assistance to Iraq to €420 million and development cooperation to €309 million since the beginning of the crisis in 2015.

(Source: EU)

The Government of France has contributed US$568,690 (€500,000) to UNDP’s Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP) to promote recovery and resilience-building in areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The funding will help improve access to income-generating opportunities for 200 vulnerable returnees in Sinjar and Hamdaniya – where returnee numbers are high – through small business grants and saving schemes, as well as professional training programmes.

In an effort to ensure sustainability, the contribution also bolsters ICRRP’s work with national chambers of commerce to build their capacities to respond to future crises.

During a signature ceremony to launch the new project, the French Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Bruno Aubert welcomed Ambassador Eric Chevallier, Director of CDCS (Centre de crise et de soutien) in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who highlighted that:

“this project is well aligned with both French and Iraqi priorities for stabilization. Targeting the improvement of the conditions for the safe return of IDPs in areas strongly affected by ISIL occupation, the provision of immediate livelihood and employment opportunities – in particular for youth and women – is a key step toward more resiliency and sustainability for these communities.”

Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Ms. Marta Ruedas, added,

“UNDP will support the financial empowerment of individuals to help alleviate the pressure on public finance, whilst at the same time creating a diverse business environment that will enable long-term economic growth.”

Many areas of Ninewa have experienced extensive damage to public and private infrastructure and with the effects of long-term displacement are now experiencing a lack of diverse livelihood opportunities, often exacerbated by prevailing security threats.

ICRRP is part of the  Recovery and Resilience Programme (RRP) that was launched at the  Kuwait International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq earlier this year. In this context, the Government of France support will contribute to the RRP results area of expanding livelihoods opportunities in Iraq.

UNDP’s Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP) promotes the recovery and resilience of communities vulnerable to multi-dimensional shocks associated with large-scale returns and protracted displacement of Iraqis and Syrian refugees.

This is achieved through medium-term programming, integrating crisis management capacity building, rehabilitating basic service infrastructure, livelihood recovery and social cohesion.

(Source: UNDP)

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

To what extent can US aid help Iraq’s minorities?

Iraqi minorities have warmly welcomed the Oct. 16 announcement by the US State Department that it would be providing $178 million in additional aid for ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq.

Murad Ismael, the executive director of Yazda, a global Yazidi organization, wrote on his Facebook page, “Thank you, America, because you are the mother of persecuted minorities. … The United States today stands with the Yazidi people … this is not something new for America, but the Yazidis really appreciate this stand.

Mona Yako, an expert focusing on the protection of minorities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, welcomed the size and timing of the US aid. She also stressed to Al-Monitor that such aid must be disbursed fairly, be based on priorities and be free of corruption.

Click here to read the full story.

UNHCR supports 130,000 Iraqis taking the first steps on the road to recovery, thanks to funds from the UK Department for International Development

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, completes a year-long series of activities this month, supporting 130,000 vulnerable Iraqis as they take the first steps on the road to recovery, thanks to the generous donation of £9 million from the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

With these funds, UNHCR was able to reach approximately 90,000 people with cash assistance, and support 40,000 people to obtain the legal documents that are essential for them to access social welfare services provided by the Iraqi government.

The recent conflict cast a long shadow across Iraq. As the country begins to recover, the challenges faced by millions of people diversify. Although different to the situation endured during the years of extremist control and conflict, the current problems are no less acute for the people facing them.

By promoting self-sufficiency, reducing the burden of debt and encouraging reintegration into existing social mechanisms, programmes like cash assistance and access to legal documentation help to lay the groundwork for longer-term recovery.

“The UK continues to stand by vulnerable Iraqis affected by the devastating conflict with Da’esh,” said Mr. Jim Carpy, Head of DFID Iraq. “Through UNHCR’s programme, UK aid is providing families displaced by conflict with cash assistance, allowing them to buy food and other essential items, re-build their lives, and ultimately return home when it is safe to do so. Our support to displaced people – including many female-headed households – offers them dignity while empowering them to prioritise their own needs in a flexible and cost-effective way.”

“Cash assistance and access to new and replacement documents are crucial for Iraqis making the jump from crisis to recovery,” said Mr. Bruno Geddo, UNHCR’s Representative in Iraq. “The first step can be the hardest to take, and we must continue to stand by the people of Iraq as they start the long journey to peace and stability. UNHCR is grateful to DFID for its long standing support on cash assistance. At a time when global interest in Iraq is diminishing, I urge key donors to maintain the support they have so generously provided throughout this critical time. There is no quick fix for Iraq, and underfunding could severely impact many vulnerable people still unable to return home in a safe and sustainable way.”

(Source: UN)

Iraq Displacement Figures Drop Below Two Million for First Time Since 2014; Nearly Four Million Have Returned Home

For the first time in nearly four years, the number of displaced Iraqis has fallen below two million, according to a milestone IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) report released today (04/09).

Data collected by IOM staff for the 100th DTM report, concluded that 1,931,868 people remain displaced, the lowest figure since November 2014. Round 100 also reported that nearly four million people have returned home. Publication of this data is significant for IOM, the UN Migration Agency, as it marks more than four years of tracking displacement in Iraq.

Since January 2014, Iraq’s war against ISIL has caused the displacement of six million Iraqis – around 15 per cent of the entire population of the country. In December 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of the country’s war against ISIL.

Across Iraq, IDPs continue to return home at a steady though slower pace than in 2017. The governorates with the greatest number of returnees are Ninewa (1.49 million), Anbar (1.27 million), Salah al-Din (nearly 553,000), Kirkuk (296,000), Diyala (222,000) and Baghdad (77,000).

Virtually all (97 per cent) have returned to their habitual residences, two per cent to private settings, while one per cent (19,000 individuals) remain highly vulnerable having sought shelter in religious buildings, schools and unfinished or abandoned buildings.

The remaining IDPs are concentrated in: Ninewa (602,000), Dahuk (349,000), Erbil (217,000), Salah al-Din (169,000), Sulaymaniyah (151,000) and Kirkuk (124,000). Of those who continue to be displaced, 1.2 million are in private settings, 574,000 are in camps, and 176,000 are in critical shelters.

According to latest DTM data, returnees cited the improved security situation, availability of housing, lack of financial means to remain in displacement, the encouragement of community leaders and support from friends and relatives as factors in their decision to return.

Obstacles to return shared by families who are still in displacement include damage or destruction of housing and infrastructure, lack of financial means and job opportunities, and security concerns.

“IOM DTM data has documented the phases of the crisis and has been critical for planning humanitarian assistance,” said Marta Ruedas, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq. “Data on returns is also essential for this next phase of our support for recovery and reintegration.”

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite said: “DTM makes an important contribution to humanitarian efforts in Iraq by informing the direction of resources to displaced and returnee populations. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi families continue to be displaced and face significant obstacles to return. Both displaced and returnee populations are often vulnerable and need humanitarian assistance to regain their livelihoods and support their families.”

The DTM is IOM’s information management system to track and monitor population displacement during crises. Since early 2014 IOM Iraq has been producing data sets, monthly reports and thematic reports, including on the Mosul crisis, obstacles to return, location assessments and emergency tracking. This information is shared publicly to inform humanitarian efforts.

The IOM Iraq DTM is supported the US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).

DTM round 100 can be downloaded at:
http://iraqdtm.iom.int/LastDTMRound/Round100_Report_English_2018_July_31…

IOM Iraq DTM portal address is: http://iraqdtm.iom.int

(Source: UN)

Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas deliver vital support to AMAR IDP clinics

As Iraq’s security conditions have improved, international donors have turned their attention to other troubled parts of the world, leaving many IDP camps in the country on the brink of closure.

Thanks to the continued support of Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas, however, AMAR have continued to deliver much needed healthcare and support to Khanke Camp’s 16,000 residents

Nearly 2 million Iraqis remain displaced within Iraq, a vast proportion of them still in camps for internally displaced people (IDPs). From victims of conflict who have lost homes and livelihoods to families too afraid to return to their homes after the violence of recent years IDPs remain among the most vulnerable population in the country.

After the trauma of violence and displacement, families in the camps continue to rely on the safe, supportive and nurturing environment in the camp to start rebuilding their lives. But with charitable funding drying up, many camp facilities, especially health care centres, are facing imminent closure.

Dana Gas and Crescent Petroleum, which have contributed considerably to causes within Iraq, remain committed to AMAR’s services in Khanke, delivering vital health and wellbeing services to the thousands of residents at the camp.

Crescent, one of the Middle East’s oldest and largest upstream oil companies, and Dana, one of the largest private-sector natural gas companies in the region, are committed to helping AMAR deliver vaccinations, antenatal care and child health monitoring at the camp.

IDPs are among the most vulnerable people in Iraq, but sadly they are often overlooked by donors,” said Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum. “We are proud to be partnering with AMAR to provide critical healthcare services and training to the people in Khanke camp.

A key part of the health programme at the camp are the Woman Health Volunteers (WHVs), who are the front line to identifying health and wellbeing issues among the residents and are trained to deliver health care when needed. Between April and June of this year, the WHVs made thousands of home visits to families at the camp, providing basic healthcare services and delivering health advice, in addition to providing mental health outreach. In all, the WHVs offered support and services to more than 15,000 people during the spring period.

One AMAR WHV, Thikra, for example, recently paid a visit to the Jamila family in the camp. One of the family’s sons had been showing distressing changes in behaviour, including fatigue, excessive sleep and weight gain. Thikra identified the signs of depression in the boy and confided in Mrs. Jamila to openly discuss her son’s symptoms. She then advised the mother to seek a medical assessment for boy’s the condition and set the family on the path to recovery.

Thikra’s work is funded by Dana and Crescent, and is emblematic of the kind of support the companies are funding and promoting in the community.

The companies also provide funds for vocational training programmes in the camps, including sewing and design, IT, and English lessons, providing residents the opportunity to develop skills that can boost their chances of finding employment or to set up their micro-business of their own.

Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas are among the largest private foreign investors in Kurdistan. Their focus is on developing the region’s natural resources in sustainable way to deliver lasting benefits to local communities. Their US$1.1bn development of the Khor Mor gasfield provides the natural gas to power electricity plants in Erbil and Chamchamal, delivering 1,700 MW of electricity to over 4m people living in the region.

LPG Plant in Kor Mor

Patrick Allman-Ward, CEO of Dana Gas’, said:

“We are committed to developing resources in Kurdistan to provide power to communities and build the structures for inclusive growth, as well as to tackle the economic and social factors that are a barrier to this development. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with AMAR in the future so that we can continue working towards these goals across the region.”

Other projects Dana and Crescent have funded in Kurdistan include renovating and supplying schools, funding hospitals and providing potable water to villages.

Baroness Nicholson, AMAR’s Founder and Chairperson said:

“It is vital that we continue to provide healthcare and education in the camps, as people living there continue to experience extreme deprivation. Thanks to the exceptional generosity of Dana and Crescent, we are able to do this in Khanke. We are very grateful to them for giving us the opportunity to bring relief and support to communities in real need.”

(Source: AMAR)

The Teams of the Iraqi Red Crescent distributes more than 500 food parcels for the families who have returned to their areas in Tikrit.

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has distributed more than 500 food parcels for the families who have returned to their areas in Tikrit district.

” The teams of the IRCS have distributed 537 food parcels for the families who have returned to their home areas in Tikrit district and they are continuing to distribute for all the displaced families that have been surveyed because they are covered by food assistance”, said the IRCS relief teams official of Salahuldin center Mr. Hyder Qassim.

Qassim has added that the IRCS`s health teams have implemented health awareness and psychosocial support programs  for the displaced families who are living in the camps of Al-Shahama and Al-shuyukh orchards in Salahuddin governorate through conducting field visits and delivering awareness lectures to the displaced families in the camps, the number of the beneficiaries has reached more than 180 people.

(Source: IRCS)

UNHCR welcomes the generous donation of 1.5 million euros from the Government of Finland. The new funds will help UNHCR support vulnerable Iraqis and Syrian refugees in a rapidly changing context.

A year on from the end of fighting in Mosul, the situation in Iraq is increasingly complex.

While the country recovers from conflict, the needs of Iraqis diversify. Almost 3.9 million people displaced by the recent conflict returned to their homes and are restarting their lives. Children are back at school, water and electricity networks are functioning, and devastated communities are seeing the shoots of regrowth. In places hard-hit by the conflict, the conditions for sustainable return are not yet met. Assistance for the 2 million internally displaced Iraqis and the communities that host them must continue for some time to come to discourage people from returning home too soon.

In addition, around 700 people cross the border every month to escape the fighting in Syria that shows no sign of abating.

To meet diversifying needs, UNHCR provides support over a broadening spectrum. From comprehensive humanitarian assistance in camps to community-based projects to promote social cohesion in slowly reforming communities; from psychological assistance for survivors of gender-based violence to support in acquiring the new or replacement identification documents people need to access state social welfare benefits.

“Iraq is an important partner to Finland and the EU,” said Ms. Päivi Laine (pictured), the Finnish Ambassador to Iraq. “We want to support the Iraqis to return home after years of conflict and continue their lives in home communities. It is remarkable that despite its own complicated situation Iraq is generous towards refugees from Syria. UNHCR has been for years a reliable partner and Finland is very satisfied to continue the co-operation in Iraq. The latest donation is 1.5 million euros.”

“The changing context in Iraq requires us to be ever-more nimble in our response,” said Mr. Bruno Geddo, UNHCR’s Representative in Iraq. “Even as cities are rebuilt and communities begin to flourish, hundreds of thousands of people struggle to make ends meet. Flexibility and creativity are at the heart of UNHCR’s work in Iraq, to consistently meet people’s changing needs. Unearmarked funding from donors like the Government of Finland enables us to be responsive and compassionate to the changing situation Iraqis face. With their ongoing support, we will stand with the people of Iraq until the job is done.”

(Source: UN)

The European Commission for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) has provided an additional € 4.5 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) to maintain health security and resilience for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), returnees and host communities in conflict-affected governorates of Iraq.

This comes on top of the €29.2 million already contributed by the commission since 2015.

This renewed support will be used to sustain health services more than 500 000 vulnerable people in hard to reach and newly accessible areas of Ninewa and Anbar for the coming 12 months and to ensure vigilance for diseases with a potential of causing outbreaks.

The funds will also support to provide necessary essential medicines and medical supplies as well as facilitate referral services for returnees who have limited access to primary healthcare, secondary rehabilitative and referral health services.

ECHO Head of Office in Iraq, Simon Mansfield said:

“ECHO is keen to continue this support of the provision of medical humanitarian assistance in Iraq. Access to essential medical services for displaced populations and assistance for victims of war injuries remain ECHO’s priorities in country. In 2018, ECHO maintains this strategic partnership with WHO”.

WHO’s Representative in Iraq, Altaf Musani said:

“We welcome this additional contribution from our long term partner, ECHO. This contribution will support WHO and health partners to ensure uninterrupted access to essential and rehabilitative health care services for at least 500,000 IDPs, returnees and vulnerable host communities in the country’s most conflict-affected governorates”.

This partnership between ECHO and WHO represents a strong commitment in improving the health of the people of Iraq.

(Source: WHO)

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie visits West Mosul, less than a year after the city’s liberation.

The visit marks Jolie’s 61st mission – and her fifth visit to Iraq – with the UN Refugee Agency since 2001.

She arrives in the city on the second day of the Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

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