EU Signs Contracts of 57.5 Million Euros with UN to Support Mosul Recovery, Promises Additional 20 Million Euros Next Month

A delegation from the United Nations in Iraq and the European Union Mission to Iraq yesterday toured a number of EU-funded and UN implemented projects in Mosul, seeing first-hand the clearance, stabilization, rehabilitation and development work undertaken in the northern Iraqi city more than a year after its liberation from Da’esh.

Illustrating the joint efforts in post-Da’esh Iraq, the EU signed a contract with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) worth 47.5 million euros, another with UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) totaling 10 million euros, and announced 20 million euros in additional support for UNESCO as well as a further 15 million support for FAO, to be signed in January 2019.

The conflict with Da’esh has destroyed many areas of Mosul and Ninewa Governorate, and displaced a large number of the population. Since the military defeat of Da’esh a year ago, many people have returned, encouraged by the efforts to ensure a secure and safe environment. Some areas still lack basic services, and the UN, in support of the Iraqi authorities, are working to ensure a decent living for the people to facilitate the dignified return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The delegation called on the Governor of Ninewa, Nawfal Al-Agoub, after which a signing ceremony was held.

EU Director for Development Cooperation for Asia, Central Asia, Middle East/Gulf and the Pacific Region, Pierre Amilhat, said:

“The Iraqi people have suffered enough, and the country is on the cusp of entering into a renewed phase of state-building. Today exemplifies the strong commitment the EU along with its UN partners have in shouldering Iraq in this critical phase. With the territorial defeat of Da’esh, all of us together have a window of opportunity to build an inclusive and accountable country and restore the trust between the people and their Government. This multi-pronged initiative will join the dots between the various reconstruction components, and significantly contribute to the betterment of the Iraqi people”.

UNDP Resident Representative a.i. for Iraq, Gerardo Noto, said:

“We are grateful to EU for our excellent partnership. We jointly help people of Iraq so that no one is left behind as all UN Members Countries committed in the Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is yet another practical example of support to the authorities and citizens of Iraq in regaining the trust of the local communities and rebuilding the state institutions towards a new social contract to sustaining peace and sustainable development”.

Earlier, the EU-UN delegation visited the Old City, site of some of the worst fighting – and destruction. They inspected the reconstruction work at the Al-Nuri Mosque, a symbol of Mosul’s history and culture that Da’esh deliberately destroyed its landmark leaning minaret before their retreat from the city. The work is part of ongoing projects to repair heritage sites by UNESCO throughout Mosul Old City’s funded by the EU.

UNESCO has launched “Revive the Spirit of Mosul”, an initiative that has the support of the Government of Iraq and in line with the Initial Planning Framework for Reconstruction of Mosul, which was jointly developed by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and UNESCO in collaboration with the Governorate of Ninewa, to rehabilitate Mosul’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. Restoring the identities within the communities of Mosul and other liberated areas of Iraq contributes to reconciliation and promotes more just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

“UNESCO is very grateful to the EU for its contribution to the reconstruction and restoration of the Old City of Mosul, in the context of the UNESCO ‘Revive the Spirit of Mosul Initiative’. This support contributes to the physical reconstruction of one of Iraq’s most emblematic historical cities, which has been severely damaged and destroyed. It also benefits directly the local community – by providing skills and jobs to thousands of young people” stated Louise Haxthausen, Head of UNESCO in Iraq. “We are particularly pleased that part of this contribution is dedicated to the urban rehabilitation of the old city of Basra, another highly significant historical city of Iraq,” added Louise Haxthausen.

UN-Habitat and UNDP are also working together in Mosul to rehabilitate damaged houses, repair secondary infrastructure, retrofit public facilities such as schools to promote the environmental responsiveness of buildings, and involve youth in redesign of public open spaces. Yuko Otsuki, Head of UN-Habitat in Iraq, expressed gratitude for the EU support “to continue improving the living conditions of Iraqi population through urban recovery investments and job and income generating opportunities in conflict-affected areas.”

The delegation toured Mosul University, once a major centre of learning in Iraq that Da’esh turned into a command post and weapons cache. Mosul University, Iraq’s second largest university, has suffered major damage, and it is estimated that rehabilitation work would require 350-500 million dollars. The university was cleared of explosive hazards, included Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

The work of UNMAS lies at the core of the stabilization and rehabilitation work. Mindful that no stabilization work and return of IDPs can be sustainable without ensuring a safe environment, the EU signed a contract granting UNMAS 10 million euros to continue the clearance of contaminated hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, religious sites and neighborhoods.

“We are very grateful for the support provided by the international community and more specifically by the EU. With this contribution, UNMAS Iraq will be expanding the clearance capacity in Mosul and also deploy capacity in Sinjar,” said Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Senior Programme Manager.

The group also visited the Ninewa Directorate of Agriculture where they were briefed about a project supported by the EU and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to support recovery of agricultural livelihoods by revitalizing of food production, value chains and income generation in Ninewa.

“I am so pleased to see the EU has agreed to help us rehabilitate key facilities and equipment of the Directorate as well as rebuilding livelihoods for so many smallholder farmers. Creating jobs in this heart land of agriculture is really key to community stabilization,” said Dr Fadel El-Zubi, FAO Country Representative in Iraq.

The EU has contributed a total of 184.4 million euros since 2016 to support stabilization and humanitarian efforts undertaken by the UN in support of the Government of Iraq.

(Source: UN)

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

Iraqis forces parade and celebrate in the streets of Mosul as they mark a year since Iraq declared victory against the Islamic State group, the conclusion of a three-year battle to oust the jihadists.

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By John Lee.

The Iraqi government has reportedly removed the Fayida customs post between Mosul and Duhok province on Tuesday, following a parliamentary vote that deemed the customs points illegal and ordered their removal.

According to Rudaw, the checkpoint, along with two others established by former Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi between Sulaimani and Kirkuk and Kirkuk and Erbil, were a heavy burden on traders.

It adds that the other two customs points are also awaiting removal.

More here

(Source: Rudaw)

A total of 41 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 73 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in November 2018*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The figures include ordinary citizens and others considered civilians at the time of death or injury, such as police in non-combat functions, civil defence, personal security teams, facilities protection police and fire department personnel.

The Special Representative for Iraq of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ján Kubiš, said the continuing loss of life is regrettable but the latest figures are the lowest since UNAMI began publishing them in November 2012.

“These are not just figures. They are human beings with families. But these figures, sad as they are, also reflect the continuing downward trend in the level of violence as the country recovers from its fight with terrorism and presses ahead towards a stable, prosperous future,” the Special Representative said.

Baghdad was the most affected Governorate, with 55 civilian casualties (23 killed, 32 injured), followed by Ninewa (08 killed and 19 injured) and Anbar (04 killed and 15 injured).

*CAVEATS: UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in certain areas; in some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate and are noted above. Casualty figures obtained from the Anbar Health Directorate might not fully reflect the real number of casualties in those areas due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground and the disruption of services. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

(Source: United Nations)

By Ranj Alaaldin.

The June 2014 takeover of Mosul by the Islamic State group (ISIS) was described as an existential threat to the Iraqi state and the post-2003 political order.

Yet, its emergence was only a symptom of a broader series of crises that had engulfed Iraq over the past decade. While militant groups dominate headlines, it is Iraq’s structural problems that have enabled their emergence.

This includes weakened or partly collapsed institutions; the absence of the rule of law; dysfunctional and corrupt governance; the ascendancy of sectarian divisions; and the disastrous post-conflict reconstruction process that followed the aftermath of the 2003 U.S. invasion.

State fragility in the Levant and the regional proxy war in Syria have exacerbated these challenges and have stifled Iraq’s efforts to stabilize and rehabilitate its institutions.

The full report can be read here.

(Source: Brookings Institution)

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

For centuries, the Iraqi city of Mosul was a magnet for artists across the region and churned out Iraq’s best musicians — but it suffered a devastating ban on music under the rule of the Islamic State group.

Now free from jihadi rule since July 2017, Mosul is starting to make a musical comeback.

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UN-Habitat and UNESCO presented the Initial Planning Framework for Reconstruction of Mosul

On 15 November 2018, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) presented the Initial Planning Framework for the Reconstruction of Mosul, offering perspectives on how to ‘Build Back Better’ the city for the people of Mosul.

Over 100 participants from the local government, private sector, civil society organizations and the United Nations agencies gathered at the Ninewa Governor’s office to discuss the priorities and recommendations for the reconstruction of Mosul, with special attention to the Old City.

The event highlighted the complex challenges ensuring a fast reconstruction, while protecting the heritage and historical characteristics of the Old City. It also touched upon the problems that wider Mosul is currently facing in the housing sector and the urgent need to support vulnerable returnees whose houses were completely destroyed, which continues to be a major obstacle for the return of internally displaced persons in camps to Mosul.

H.E. Mr. Nawfal Al Sultan, Governor of Ninewa, noted the prominent role of the United Nations agencies in the reconstruction of Mosul, and reiterated the importance of collaboration between the government offices, the United Nations agencies and the people of Mosul. He also expressed his hope that Ninewa will be built back better, asking for continuous support from the international community.

Ms. Marta Ruedas, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, explained that the Framework provides a holistic and integrated approach for the reconstruction of Mosul, noting that the top priority is to protect heritage sites in the Old City from further damage as analysed and recommended in the Framework.

Both H.E. Mr. Nawfal Al Sultan and Ms. Marta Ruedas called for setting up a specialised committee to follow up on and ensure that the actions recommended in the Framework are endorsed by the relevant authorities and implemented in a timely manner.

After gathering comments and feedback, the Framework will be finalized and distributed to key stakeholders, including national and local government counterparts, representatives of civil society, the private sector and the community, United Nations agencies and donors.

(Source: UN)

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

School bells finally rang at Shimon Safa Elementary School this fall, Mosul’s oldest Christian school that had been closed for four years.

The school, also called the Shimon Safa Institute, is located next to the 9th century Shimon Safa Church and the monastery, which is known as the Shimon Safa priestly institute.

The elementary school used to be one of 20 Christian schools in the multifaith city until the 1980s. Most of these schools were closed gradually in the three turbulent decades that followed the 1990 Gulf War, particularly in 2014-17 when the city was constrolled by the Islamic State (IS).

The return of the 400 students, between the ages of 6 and 12, to the classrooms of Shimon Safa Institute on Sept. 30 illustrates that the city is recovering, after IS displaced the city’s Christians during the 2014 invasion, banned non-Islamic rituals, destroyed churches and imposed its extremist beliefs.

Click here to read the full story.

The presence of explosive hazards, including improvised explosive devices in areas liberated from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), will continue to impede security and stability efforts as well as development initiatives until these are cleared and rendered safe.

A delegation from DFID was recently hosted by UNMAS in Mosul and had the opportunity to speak with Iraqi and international implementing partners and hear their stories about how and why they work to clear of explosive hazards. Ms. Stefanie Nijssen, Policy & Programme Manager for Demining and Arms Control, and Ms. Susan Erb, Humanitarian Advisor, together with Mr. Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Senior Programme Manager, saw firsthand that within a few days a water treatment plant can be made free from explosive hazards for engineers to commence rehabilitation work – but no matter how quickly this can be done, the emphasis is on making the site safe.

“Safety is the most important”, G4S Team Leader Faisal Abdul Rida Obaid Farham Al-Zaid explained to the visiting delegation. “We can fix a park or building after an explosion, but we cannot fix a lost limb or lost human soul”. DFID also met with a number of national and international mine action organizations, as well as local authorities.

UNMAS work in Iraq focuses on clearance of explosive hazards in areas previously under ISIL occupation, risk education with life-saving messages in advance of internally displaced persons (IDP) return and capacity enhancement of local and national authorities to manage, regulate and coordinate an effective response to new threats.

This is done in close coordination with agencies engaged in the rehabilitation of infrastructure and humanitarian programmes, which collectively define the way forward for development.

Deputy British Ambassador to Iraq, John Tucknott, said: “Until mines are cleared and areas made safe, normal life cannot return. Mine clearance is an essential step in regenerating war damaged areas. The UK is proud to be supporting UNMAS in delivering this essential work”.

“Explosive hazard management is the first step and of crucial importance to allow displaced people to safely return to their homes,” said Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Senior Programme Manager in Iraq. “The continued and generous support provided by the Government of the United Kingdom is crucial to create a safe environment for people to live in and to strengthen the capacity of the Government of Iraq in mitigating the threat posed by explosive hazards”.

The United Kingdom is one of the largest contributing member states to UNMAS in Iraq.

(Source: UN)

A total of 75 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 179 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in September 2018*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The figures include ordinary citizens and others considered civilian at the time of death or injury, such as police in non-combat functions, civil defence, personal security teams, facilities protection police and fire department personnel.

Of the overall figures recorded by UNAMI for the month of September, 71 ordinary civilians were killed.

Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate, with 101 civilian casualties (31 killed, 70 injured), followed by Anbar (15 killed and 37 injured) and Salahadin (09 killed and 38 injured). The figures for Anbar were obtained by UNAMI from the Health Directorate in Anbar Governorate, and are updated until 30 September, inclusive.

*CAVEAT: UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in certain areas; in some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate and might not fully reflect the number of casualties due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground in Anbar and the disruption of services. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

(Source: United Nations)