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.

By Luay al-Khatteeb for The Middle East Institute. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq’s long-running electricity dilemma is now a daily source of public misery.

The struggle of the power generation and distribution system to keep up with relentless demand caused by almost free electricity, especially as temperatures soar to record levels of over 120 degrees, is likely to get worse without reforms.

While the problems facing this critical sector may be numerous and complex, they can be solved.

During my tenure as Iraq’s minister of electricity, from October 2018 through April 2020, we were able to put in place plans to make the sector sustainable and briefly reverse its downward spiral.

Click here to read the full article.

From GE:

With growing demand for electricity, especially to meet the requirements during peak summer, the Government of Iraq is accelerating its focus on strengthening the nation’s power infrastructure through two new agreements signed with GE.

A long-term partner committed to meeting the future electricity needs of the nation, GE signed the agreements, valued at over US$1.2 billion, with the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity to execute the power sector projects that will secure reliable power supply across the country.

Accordingly, GE Gas Power will undertake contracts valued at US$500 million for the upgrade and maintenance of key power plants in the country, which are mission-critical to sustain the power supply of over 6,000 MW and scale up operational efficiency.

Further, GE’s Grid Solutions, having secured a contract valued at US$727 million in a landmark agreement, will reinforce Iraq’s transmission network and interconnection with the electricity grid of Jordan.

In addition to delivering the scope of services, GE will also work with multiple export credit agencies to facilitate the discussion of financing over US$1 billion for the projects.

In the presence of HE Mustafa Al Khadimi, Prime Minister of Iraq, senior officials of the Iraqi and US governments, the agreements were signed by HE Majid Al-Emara, Iraq’s Minister of Electricity and Michael Eshoo, Vice President & CFO, GE Gas Power.

A clear action plan for successful power generation

HE Majid Al-Emara, Iraq’s Minister of Electricity, said:

Our primary focus is to deliver uninterrupted electricity, especially during summer months, to meet the needs of our people and industry. To achieve this, we have already rolled out a clear action plan. Bringing world-class technology, especially to upgrade our power plants, and to ensure their seamless operation is a critical part of this strategy.

“The new agreements with GE, a leader in power technology, is an ideal fit for our requirements, and builds on the strong partnership we have with the company to deliver more power for the nation.

Scott Strazik, CEO for GE Gas Power, said:

GE has a long history in Iraq, and we continue to deliver on our promise to the nation and its people. In recent years, we have further accelerated our project execution to scale up and rebuild the country’s electricity infrastructure. As demand for power increases in tune with a growing population and to support industries and developmental projects, identifying gaps and addressing them is our focal area.

“We are thankful to the Iraqi government for their confidence in our capabilities to deliver power where and when needed. The new agreements will contribute to a more reliable and stronger power infrastructure, which is the top priority of the government.

Heiner Markhoff, Vice President and CEO of Grid Solutions at GE Renewable Energy, said:

This agreement is about more than electricity generation. It is about putting in place the necessary grid infrastructure and a sustainable approach to progress that will allow Iraq to truly drive forward positive change throughout the nation.

“We are incredibly proud to be able to continue to support the growth of a reliable and sustainable electricity infrastructure in Iraq. This partnership will be able to bring power to millions of people and enable economic development in the country.

Upgrades, maintenance and service

The service agreement is a mission-critical Maintenance & Upgrade Program between the Ministry of Electricity and GE Gas Power to execute the maintenance program across multiple sites in Iraq. GE will deploy its latest technology at the sites to be identified by the Ministry such as parts, repairs and services for power plants in Basra, Mosul, Baghdad and Karbala among others, which will maintain the supply of over 6,000 MW of power. This builds on 1.575 GW of new capacity that GE added since December 2019, and the sustained delivery of 4.325 GW to meet peak summer demand.

The reinforcement of Iraq’s transmission network

The agreement signed by GE’s Grid Solutions with the Ministry of Electricity will reinforce Iraq’s transmission network and interconnection with the electricity grid of Jordan, which will contribute significantly to decongesting the grid and securing reliable power supply. GE will execute the design, supply, installation testing and commissioning of high voltage substations and specific overhead transmission lines. This is a key initiative that will reinforce the smooth operations and delivery of uninterrupted power of the national grid across Iraq, including the liberated areas, which were adversely impacted during the strife supporting their reconstruction.

Committed partner in the progress of Iraq

GE is a committed partner in further strengthening the country’s energy infrastructure to meet the needs of the future. Building on its presence in the country for over 50 years, GE not only partners on short-term power generation to meet the peak summer demand but also on large-scale projects that will generate substantial power to meet residential and industrial needs. GE has also helped secure over US$2.4 billion in financing for energy sector projects in collaboration with export credit agencies, commercial banks and other organizations. With more than 300 employees, including FieldCore, a GE company, in Iraq currently, nearly 95 percent of them Iraqi professionals, GE’s teams are deployed in the toughest locations, bringing power where it is needed most.

(Source: GE)

On Wednesday in Washington, the United States announced nearly $204 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the people of Iraq, Iraqi refugees in the region, and to generous communities hosting them.

This funding includes nearly $133 million from the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and more than $71 million from USAID‘s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.

This funding brings the total for the U.S. humanitarian response for Iraq to more than $706 million since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2019. In addition, the United States has provided $49.5 million in COVID assistance in Iraq and more than $22.7 million to date in Fiscal Year 2020 to assist over 244,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq.

This assistance will provide critical shelter, essential healthcare, emergency food assistance, and water, sanitation, and hygiene services across Iraq. It will also improve access to civil documentation and legal services, the capacity of health care facilities and increase access to education and livelihoods opportunities.

The United States remains the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance in Iraq and globally, in line with our National Security Strategy. We appreciate all donors who have stepped up and continue to encourage both traditional and new donors to help meet growing needs.

(Source: US State Dept)

The Iraqi Cabinet held its weekly meeting in the city of Basra on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister said that the Cabinet meeting in Basra is the first of a series of such meetings that will take place in other Iraqi cities and provinces.

The Prime Minister added that Basra is Iraq’s economic and cultural gateway and has a special place in the hearts of all Iraqis.

The Prime Minister paid tribute to the people of Basra, saying they have endured the horrors of dictatorship and wars, just as they endured the consequences of corruption, mismanagement and bad planning that afflicted their city and its environment.

The Cabinet then discussed several projects in Basra, and agreed to:

  • Press ahead with contracting procedures in relation to the Great Basra Water Project, and for the work on this strategic project to commence
  • Direct the Ministry of Water Resources, in cooperation with the Ministry of Construction and Housing, and Basra Governorate, to submit a plan to implement the Al-Bida Water Project
  • Direct the Ministries of Finance and Planning to include Al-Bida Water Project in the 2021 Federal Budget
  • Establish an infrastructure implementation programme to press ahead with the distribution of residential plots of land to entitled groups through the Ministry of Construction, Housing and Municipalities which will work with the consultant contracted by Basra Governorate to review and update the designs of Al-Sayyab Residential city
  • Authorise the Governor of Basra to pay the salaries of 30,000 Basra citizens from the Governorate cash reserves
  • Refer all delayed projects in Basra to the Ministerial Council on Services which will submit to the Cabinet recommendations to expedite them
  • Refer Al-Zubair Sewage Project to the Ministerial Council on Social Services which is required to make recommendations to the Cabinet to expedite the project after inviting the Governor of Basra to take part in its deliberations.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

Debris-recycling initiative seeks to bolster return of displaced in Iraq, amidst growing risks of COVID-19 outbreak

With support from the Government of Japan, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is joining forces with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to launch an innovative debris-recycling project that will help displaced persons in Kirkuk Governorate, northern Iraq, return to their homes.

“With almost 10,000 destroyed houses in Kirkuk Governorate, our priority is to enable [displaced persons] to return and rebuild their demolished homes,” said Ali Humadi, Kirkuk’s Assistant Governor for Technical Affairs.

The plight of the approximately 1.4 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Iraq has taken on a new urgency, as they are widely recognized to be some of the most vulnerable communities to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The impact of the epidemic is exacerbated by the conditions in which the displaced live,” said Dr. Jassim Hamadi, Deputy Health and Environment Minister. “Their cramped living circumstances, both in formal camps and densely populated informal settlements, and difficulty in accessing basic services – especially healthcare – makes them extremely vulnerable to the spread of the virus.”

Emphasizing that “the presence of huge volumes of debris on peoples’ properties is the main obstacle preventing the return of at least 80 per cent of cases”, Ali Humadi welcomed sustainable solutions to the debris problem and the redoubling of efforts to facilitate returns given the ongoing public health emergency.

Kirkuk authorities estimate that from 2014 to 2017, around 8-9 million tonnes of debris were created during the conflict with so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Around two-thirds of this debris consists of concrete, blocks and stones that can be recycled, while the rest is mudbricks. A major challenge in handling this debris stems from the potential presence of unexploded ordnance.

Meanwhile, life is slowly picking-up in some of Kirkuk’s 135 destroyed villages. “It’s a citizen-led effort,” said Ibrahim Khalaf, a prominent community member from Buwaiter, a village that was razed to the ground in June 2015.

Buwaiter is one of many villages along the front lines separating militants from the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in southern Kirkuk from Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the north. This large belt of land, that stretches over 65 kilometres and divides Kirkuk Governorate in half, was until recently a no man’s land emptied of its inhabitants as entire villages were levelled flat.

“People are trying to do what they can to rebuild their homes with their meager resources,” Khalaf said. He further asserted that “that just removing the debris from one house can cost around 2.5 million Iraqi dinars (USD 2,000).” This amount is well beyond the means of many families affected by the conflict, and around half of Buwaiter’s nearly 1,000 inhabitants are unable to return as a result.

IOM Iraq estimates that there are still around 60,000 IDPs in Kirkuk.

“The most important thing now is to clear all this debris, and if possible, help people reconstruct their homes,” Khalaf noted.

“We are at a loss for what to do with all this debris,” said Hassan Nassif, the head of Multaqa sub-district whose 35 villages, including Buwaiter, were wiped out during the conflict. He went on to decry “the chaotic dumping of debris in seasonal wadis and despoiling of agricultural land, which will surely create problems for the future”.

By practically demonstrating the potential for debris recycling through this pilot project, UNEP aims to apply a circular vision to the debris problem, transforming it into part of the solution in partnership with IOM. This includes not only facilitating safe returns, but also generating livelihood opportunities through Cash for Work activities, carrying out more cost-effective reconstruction by reusing crushed rubble, and better environmental management.

The project is being implemented in close collaboration with the Kirkuk authorities and the Ministry of Health and Environment, and benefits from valuable facilitation support from the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

“Crushing the rubble is a pragmatic and straightforward answer, offering a ray of hope in dealing with our massive challenges, including creating jobs for displaced youth,” Nassif added. “We stand ready to support this initiative and look forward to expanding this recycling approach in Multaqa and Kirkuk.”

H.E. Hashimoto Naofumi, Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, said: , “Japan has recently decided to provide a new assistance package for Iraq amounting to USD 41 million including this project as assistance for debris recycling in Kirkuk Governorate.
With this package, the total amount of Japan’s assistance to the people affected by the crisis reaches USD 540 million since 2014″.

He went on to say, “Japan is pleased to invest in addressing this overlooked debris problem and support a sustainable return process that integrates the humanitarian, reconstruction and environmental angles of the question.”

As part of this one-year project, which starts this month, UNEP also plans to work closely with Kirkuk Governorate’s recently created Debris Working Group and the Environment Ministry to strengthen their capacity to develop and apply optimal debris management plans.

(Source: UN)

By Dr Renad Mansour and Glada Lahn, for the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House). Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Same Old Politics Will Not Solve Iraq Water Crisis

Addressing Iraq’s water crisis should be a priority for any incoming prime minister as it is damaging the country’s attempts to rebuild.

But successive governments have allowed the problem to fester.

Click here to read the full story.

By Dr Renad Mansour and Glada Lahn, for the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House). Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Same Old Politics Will Not Solve Iraq Water Crisis

Addressing Iraq’s water crisis should be a priority for any incoming prime minister as it is damaging the country’s attempts to rebuild.

But successive governments have allowed the problem to fester.

Click here to read the full story.

UNICEF partners with the Republic of Korea to provide water and sanitation services for the most vulnerable children in Iraq

Approximately 3 million children and young people across Iraq need humanitarian support as they try to recover from years of conflict and violence.

The Republic of Korea has partnered with UNICEF and contributed US$1 million to provide water and sanitation services to the most vulnerable children living in displacement camps in Anbar, Ninewa and Salah al Din-areas hardest hit by the violence.

Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF’s Representative in Iraq, said:

“An estimated 30 per cent of displaced children live in camps, where humanitarian needs are greatest. The contribution from the Republic of Korea will ensure we are able to continue providing critical services such as safe drinking water as well as maintaining sanitation facilities to promote hygiene and protect children from preventable diseases.”

In addition to the provision of safe drinking water for nearly 60,000 people in the displacement camps, the contribution from the Korea will support the following activities:

  • care and maintenance of the existing water systems including the network, taps, water tanks and water purification units;
  • care and maintenance for the sanitation facilities, including repair of latrines, showers, toilet pans, and septic tanks;
  • waste collection services;
  • dissemination of information, education, and communication materials on water conservation, safe purification and storage of water, and hygiene awareness sessions will take place to help maintain positive practices in the targeted population.

In 2019, the Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Cluster (WASH) co-led by UNICEF and other non-governmental organizations reached over 1.8 million people with safe water in Ninewa, Salah al Din and Anbar.

(Source: UN)

Kerlink, a French-based specialist in solutions dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT), has announced the success of a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) pilot program for reservoir monitoring in Uganda and Iraq, which incorporates Kerlink’s LoRaWAN gateway technology.

The effectiveness of the sensor-to-cloud monitoring programs in remote locations is resulting in near-term expansion to eight additional installations in Africa and Asia, and officials see a multitude of potential applications for IoT-based wireless sensor networks going forward.

The UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, is charged with providing water to millions of people worldwide, often with daunting logistics. The Ugandan Arua Field effort, where the pilot monitoring program was first implemented, provides daily water deliveries to as many as 470,000 refugees.

The LoRaWAN-enabled sensors installed at reservoirs starting in January 2019 enabled managers to monitor water levels in real time, providing unprecedented visibility into usage and resource management. They also provided a reliable new source of coordinated payment information for some 630 rental tanker trucks that were hauling up to 6,387 cubic meters (about 1.5 million gallons) of water daily when the emergency response began in 2015.

Data from the sensors designed by several companies travelled through an outdoor Kerlink Wirnet™ Station LoRaWAN gateway, which provided essential connectivity with cloud databases and applications. UNHCR managers integrated the data into a dashboard that provided new levels of visibility into operations of this global program.

UNHCR Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Officer Ryan Schweitzer noted that the IoT made it both easy and cost-effective to roll out a static water-level monitoring system. The agency hopes to use it globally as a “basis-of-payment‟ system for water-trucking operations, which in Uganda are as high as $15 million per month. “The LoRaWAN IoT technology is mature, extremely cost effective and scalable. The static reservoir-monitoring technology works extremely well,” he said.

Schweitzer added that the approach has broad potential for all sectors of humanitarian services, including monitoring of groundwater, water-supply systems, water quality, waste collection, and air quality. He described it as a “possible game-changer for monitoring in refugee settings,” noting that the ability to document delivery of safe, potable water to refugees at all times is a “holy grail”-type of technology for UNHCR water and hygiene efforts.

Next steps include replication of the pilot systems at other locations in Uganda and Iraq, as well as Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Bangladesh.

“This unique and vital use case underscores the humanitarian benefits that the IoT can support,” said Stéphane Dejean, Kerlink’s chief marketing officer. “Because the UNHCR sensor-to-gateway-to-platform system provides critical life support for large numbers of people, there’s a very high need for trustworthiness and reliability.”

“At the same time, the projects’ remote location and minimal staffing also demanded a true carrier-grade solution with quick, easy integration and deployment, and secure and straightforward administration,” he said. “We’re gratified by our Wirnet Station’s performance under harsh conditions, and honored to work with UNHCR – their work reflects our values and commitments towards society and the environment, and we look forward to continuing to provide expertise on the next round of projects.”

Since its introduction in 2014 as the first commercial LoRaWAN gateway, the Wirnet Station has been chosen for thousands of installations worldwide by public operators, cable operators, private businesses, and public authorities. It has set new standards for robust, reliable, high-performance operation; an upgraded successor, the Wirnet iStation, was introduced in 2019.

(Source: Kerlink)