The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has welcomed an additional contribution of USD 5.4 million from the Government of Japan to support reconstruction and peacebuilding in Iraq through the rehabilitation of war-damaged houses and construction of low-cost housing units in key liberated cities.

More than one year from the declaration of the military victory over so-called ISIL in 2017, more than 1.7 million people are still displaced in Iraq. The rehabilitation of severely damaged structures and rebuilding of fully destroyed houses are extremely costly and require robust engineering expertise. IDPs with their severely damaged or fully destroyed homes are still in dire need of support.

Through the additional funding UN-Habitat will be able to continue its community-based interventions and the rehabilitation of “severely damaged” houses and the construction of low-cost housing units to accommodate vulnerable returnees whose houses are “destroyed.”

Returnees and members of affected communities will be trained on skills required for the works and recruited under the project to support rebuilding their livelihoods. Approximately 2,500 returnees are expected to benefit from this project, and priorities will be given to vulnerable households including female-headed households, those with elderly, infants and children under age 6, or physically impaired.

His Excellency Mr. Naofumi Hashimoto, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Iraq said:

“Japan has recently decided a new assistance package for Iraq amounting to US$ 63 million, including this project as a contribution to the housing sector. With this package, the total amount of Japan’s assistance to the people affected by the crisis reaches US$ 500 million.”

UN-Habitat is grateful to the people and the Government of Japan for their continuous generous support which allows integration of the New Urban Agenda and physical interventions for post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding.

The development of sites for low-cost housing units designed to accommodate vulnerable displaced people who lost their homes is one of the pillars of the “Housing Reconstruction Strategy” recently developed by the Government of Iraq and UN-Habitat to enhance and accelerate housing reconstruction and development in conflict-affected areas.

With a contribution of approximately $50 million since 2015, the Government of Japan has been a vital partner to UN-Habitat’s Iraq Programme.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

Panasonic Eco Solutions has announced that it has renewed its agreement with Al Manzil Group as its authorized distributor in Iraq for all Panasonic Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) – Fan products.

According to a press release, Iraq is one of the largest markets for Panasonic IAQ-Fan products and promises immense opportunities for growth with the country currently undergoing a reconstruction phase.

(Source: Press Release)

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)

Lukoil and Inpex Corporation have successfully completed testing of the fifth well as part of the appraisal phase at the Eridu field (Block 10) in the southern part of Iraq.

The well recorded daily flow rate of more than 1,500 cubic meters of oil from the Mishrif formation and proved the current geological model of the Eridu field as effective.

Lukoil continues geological exploration at Block 10. For instance, in the mid-term the Company plans to drill and test several appraisal wells, complete 3D seismic surveys at the Eridu field and 2D seismic surveys at the block’s southern and central parts.

(Source: Lukoil)

Peace Education in Iraq: Laying a Foundation for Sustainable Development

Strengthening the capacity of universities across Iraq to contribute to the achievement of SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, UNDP Iraq, national NGO, Iraq Al-Amal and the UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck, together launched a new national curriculum  – “Diploma Programme for Peace and Conflict Studies”, which will be piloted in October 2019.

With the endorsement of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR), the curriculum was drafted with the participation of 14 academicians from Baghdad, Tikrit, Anbar, Mosul, Kufa, Babylon, and Basra universities, and designed to admit graduate students from any BA Programme. Admission of the first cohort of the two semester programme will be determined through evaluation by an academic board.

In Iraq, a country with a conflict-torn history, from colonialism to the regime of Saddam Hussein, the foreign invasion of 2003 and the rise of ISIS, reoccuring conflict has contributed to the creation of a status quo that sees many communities traumatized and divided.  This curriculum is the first step toward a theoretical understanding of peace and non-violent conflict transformation; and lays the ground work for community engagement by educated practitioners.

Jamal Aljawaheri, Executive Director of Iraq Al-Amal, explains, “Peace Education is cost-effective and sustainable. If we are able to educate the leaders of tomorrow in ideas of peaceful coexistence and conflict transformation, these ideas will permeate into communities and in time, lessen the burden of military and police costs associated with on-going violence and the security currently required to keep others safe. Keeping in mind, this must be well informed and context specific ideas of peace and conflict.”

UNDP Iraq and Eastern Menonnite University previously collaborated on Peace Education in Iraq, having been instrumental in the establishment and capacity development of the Iraqi Universities Consortium for Peace Studies between 2016-2017, which has since advocated for the integration of peace studies into the higher education systems in Iraq.

Subsequently, the partnership with the University of Innsbruck has enabled the training of 23 Academicians (6 women) on conflict assessment/analysis, dialogue, negotiation and facilitation, which will further enable the effective delivery of the new Diploma curriculum.

“In an economy that knows the value of people, we know how to communicate with each other, we know how to cooperate with each other, we feel the empathy for the suffering of the other but also the joy of the other – and that’s what peace studies is about, that’s why we need it in universities. I think in many societies we have lost this ability, and peace studies can contribute a lot to their recovery – I think Iraq is a place where people long for that,” described Wolfgang Dietrich, UNESCO Chairholder for Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck.

In 2018, UNDP and Iraqi Al-Amal also supported 11 academicians and experts (4 from Iraq, and 7 from the region) to develop the first-ever Arabic language Peace Lexicon, which has since been adopted nationally as a key strategic tool for peace education. With over 263 key terms relating to peace and conflict, this lexicon will enable academics to share common ground when communicating about peace and conflict in Iraq, especially in the implementation of the new curriculum.

Dr Mohammedsiddig Mudawi, Head of Stabilization, UNDP Iraq, commented on the enthusiasm of attending academicians, all anxious to see the results of the pilot Diploma in October at Baghdad University, “For the first time, academicians from different fields of study – psychology, law and sociology, are coming together to explore the idea of Peace Studies, which is indeed still in its infancy in many Iraqi Universities. The fact that we could gather so many academicians not only to develop the curriculum together, but to embrace it at today’s launch, is a testament to the enthusiasm and passion of Iraqi society and their desire to achieve a peaceful co-existance.”

The development and launch of the Diploma Programme for Peace and Conflict Studies Curriculum and Arabic Peace Lexicon was made possible with generous funding from the Government of Japan.

(Source: UN)

The government of Japan has donated US$3.4 million to provide lifesaving health and nutrition assistance for vulnerable children in conflict affected areas in Iraq.

Approximately 4.2 million people have returned to their homes after fleeing the violence that erupted in 2014, however many find their homes and communities have been reduced to rubbles and essential health services overstretched.

“Across all conflict affected governorates, hospitals have been destroyed and those that are functioning are overwhelmed and struggling to meet health and nutrition needs, placing the lives of the most vulnerable children at risk of deadly diseases, including polio and measles,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative to Iraq.

“Japan has recently decided on a new assistance package for Iraq amounting to 63 million US dollars, including this project as contribution in health and nutrition sectors. With this package, the total amount of Japan’s assistance to the people affected by the crisis in Iraq reaches 500 million US Dollars,” said H.E. Mr. Naofumi Hashimoto, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Iraq said.

UNICEF is grateful to the Government of Japan in their unwavering support to vulnerable children and families in Iraq. Since 2015 UNICEF Iraq has partnered with Government of Japan to support the needs of children caught in cycles of violence.

The latest funding of US$.3.4 million will compliment Japan and UNICEF’s investment for Iraqi children by building the capacity of health workers, strengthening health systems in conflict affected governorates as well as providing immunization and nutrition services to nearly 1 million children and breastfeeding mothers in areas of returns as well as in the camps for displaced people.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

Docomo Digital, part of Japan’s NTT Docomo, has said it is launching a mobile gaming platform with Zain Iraq, giving more than 16 million subscribers the ability to access hundreds of titles using direct carrier billing on monthly phone bills.

Zain Games’ GamEmpire is a bundle of native and HTML5 games that can be streamed directly to mobile phones or tablets.

Docomo Digital and Zain, a leading mobile operator in the Middle East and Africa, signed the initial agreement in early 2018 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The partnership allows Zain’s 46.9 million customers to access mobile content from Docomo and have it billed monthly through the carrier.

Zain, which operates in eight countries in the region, has already launched the service in Saudi Arabia,  Kuwait and Jordan. Additional rollouts are scheduled for Bahrain and Lebanon over the next few months.

Hiroyuki Sato (pictured), Docomo Digital CEO, said:

Launching our games platform in Iraq marks yet another important milestone in our important partnership with the Zain Group, and our first such partnership in Iraq.

“We are committed to expanding our footprint across the Middle East and we hope to bring our latest suite of content and billing services to Zain’s subscribers across the region.”

(Source: Docomo Digital)

Russia’s Lukoil has successfully completed testing of the fourth well as part of Eridu field (Block 10) appraisal phase in the south of Iraq.

The testing resulted in the commercial flow of dry crude oil that proves the current geological model of Eridu field as effective. ​

Lukoil continues geological exploration at Block 10. For instance, the company plans to drill and test several appraisal wells and to complete 3D and 2D seismic surveys for Eridu field and the block’s southern and central parts, respectively.

Block 10, covering 5.8 thousand square kilometers, is located 150 kilometers west of Basra, 120 kilometers away from West Qurna-2 field.

Interests in the project: Lukoil – 60% (operator), Inpex Corporation (Japan) – 40%. The Iraqi party to the agreement is represented by the state-owned Dhi Qar Oil Company (DQOC).

(Source: Lukoil)

His Excellency Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi expressed his country’s pride in the level of relations with Japan, commended the Japanese government for its support in the fields of security, stability, reconstruction projects, economic and cultural cooperation.

His Excellency said during his reception to the Japanese Prime Minister’s Special Adviser Kentaro Sonoura and his accompanying delegation: Japan will be an excellent partner for Iraq, while many infrastructure and service projects in Iraq have been done and we have a lot of interests and ambitions for future projects, underscoring that Iraq has begun to regain stability, health and doing vital role while the countries of the world coming to us because they do feel our country stability, strengthening the security and democratic life.

His Excellency Prime Minister presented an initiative for partnership, economic and rebuilding cooperation between the Iraqi and Japanese governments, including the call for the establishment of a joint fund to finance reconstruction projects through the quantities of Iraqi oil exported to Japan. The Fund also funds the Japanese side to encourage Japanese companies to operate in Iraq,

The Iraqi government will provide a package of projects in a way that ensures the success of the work of Japanese companies and accelerate their efforts and smooth work.

Concerning that initiative, His Excellency Prime Minister confirmed that this initiative will strengthen the Mutual relationship between the two countries, accelerate reconstruction efforts, establishing economic projects, provide job opportunities for Iraqis, diversify national wealth and reduce dependence on oil, also providing opportunities for Japan’s presence in the Iraqi market and the region in general.

The Japanese official expressed his interest in the project; He said that he was present when His Excellency Prime Minister presented those projects during His Excellency visit to Japan as oil minister, assuring that he expressed interesting in that vision.

It was agreed that the Iraqi side will submit a statement of the main lines of the project through the Japanese Embassy in Baghdad to be studied by the Japanese authorities, thus contributing to the consolidation of cooperation between the two parties.

The Japanese official conveyed greetings and congratulations to His Excellency Prime Minister on the occasion of the government formation, reaffirming the Japanese government’s aspiration to expand mutual relations with Iraq in all areas and move more effectively in support of Iraq’s stability, reconstruction, completion of service projects, supporting the Iraqi government’s efforts to develop the Iraqi economy, strengthening security and stability and empowering democratic experience.

(Source: Media Office of the Prime Minister)

By John Lee.

The Basra Gas Company (BGC) is expected to increase production from its current level of 900 million cubic feet per day (mcf/d) to 1,050 mcf/d by the end of this year.

A statement from the Ministry of Oil on Thursday added that the project aims to reach a target of 2,000 mcf/d from the fields of Rumaila, Zubair and West Qurna 1.

Shell has a 44-percent stake in the $17-billion, 25-year BGC project, with Iraq having 51 percent, and Japan’s Mitsubishi 5 percent.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)