By John Lee.

Al Qubba Water Treatment Plant has been inaugurated in east Mosul, in cooperation with the local government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

According to the state-owned Emirates News Agency, the inauguration was attended by Mansour Marid, Governor of Mosul, and UNDP Officer of Northern Iraq Governorates Projects, who thanked the UAE for supporting the project.

The station is one of the largest in Nineveh Governorate, east Mosul, and will cover the needs of 75 percent of the region’s people, benefitting 750,000 individuals.

The station is one of 23 projects implemented by the UNDP in Iraq costing AED220 million (US$60 million), which are funded by the UAE.

These projects, which are estimated to benefit 1.2 million people, aim to restore local infrastructure and social facilities in the areas of health, electricity, water and housing, as well as provide job opportunities, build national capacities, empower women, develop local markets, and encourage refugees to return to their homes.

The UAE has provided humanitarian and development aid to Iraq worth AED2.63 billion ($716 million) between 2014 and October 2019.

(Source: Emirates News Agency)

Following the completion of a U.S.-funded, 18-month demining project, the Nineveh provincial government assumed control of the Mosul International Airport during a turnover ceremony on November 5.

Demining teams from Janus, TetraTech, and local Iraqi partner Al Fahad carried out the project from April 2018 to October this year. Together, the contractors cleared more than 170 explosive hazards, including unexploded ordnances, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and bomb-making materials.

The U.S. contractors also cleared significant amounts of rubble, enabling the provincial government to start rebuilding the airport.

The United States is the largest donor to conventional weapons destruction activities in Iraq, investing more than $498 million since 2003 toward the clearance of landmines, IEDs, and other explosive remnants of war as well as for risk education.

U.S.-funded demining teams have cleared over 108,500 explosive hazards since 2016, including more than 17,000 ISIS IEDs.

This support plays an integral role in enabling the restoration of critical infrastructure, the delivery of basic services, the return of displaced communities, and the resumption of local economies safe from buried ISIS explosives and the threats they pose.

(Source: U.S. Embassy in Baghdad)

The United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) renewed their collaboration to the flagship UNESCO initiative Revive the Spirit of Mosul earlier this morning, extending the historic partnership on restoration and reconstruction efforts in Mosul, Iraq. Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development; and Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO met earlier today at the organisation’s headquarters in Paris, signaling a continued focus on rebuilding iconic landmarks that lie at the core of human civilisations.

This agreement arises in line with the UAE championing 2019 as the Year of Tolerance, emphasising tolerance as a universal concept and a sustainable institutional endeavour through legislation and policies aimed at entrenching the values of tolerance, dialogue, coexistence and openness to different cultures.

Concluding in the presence of His Excellency, Abdulrahman Hamid al-Husseini, Iraq’s Ambassador to France; HE Dr. Mohamed Ali Al Hakim, Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA); Brother Nicolas Tixier, Prior Provincial of the Province of France of the Dominican Order; and Brother Olivier Poquillon, General Secretary of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU, the new agreement today reiterates the restoration efforts for the rebuilding of two destroyed cultural sites; the Al-Tahera Church and the Al-Saa’a Church.

The project is an extension of the historic agreement signed earlier in April 2018 whereby the Emirates committed $50.4 million to contribute to the rebuilding of the cultural heritage of Mosul. The project initially concerned the restoration and reconstruction of the historic landmarks of Mosul, notably the emblematic Al-Nouri Mosque and its celebrated, leaning 45-metre Al-Hadba Minaret, built more than 840 years ago.

With the renewed partnership, the UAE will support the reconstruction of the 800-year old Al-Tahera Church, located in the Midan area in Mosul’s Old City and considered one of the oldest churches in the area, dating back to the first millennium; and the Al-Saa Church, also known as Our Lady of the Hour Church, which became a living example of the brotherhood between the people of Mosul who have graduated from its educational institution, regardless of their religious background.

These efforts will also contribute to the construction of a museum and memorial site which will exhibit and preserve remnants and history of the restored mosque and churches, with engaging community and educational spaces. The museum and memorial will have a long-lasting impact on Mosul’s young community with the creation of training and job opportunities for over 1,000 young Moslawis, the development of sustainable skills for those employed by the project and through educational and training opportunities, and the significant contribution of the project to the local economy through cultural tourism for Mosul and Iraq.

To date, the project has employed 27 Iraqis and contracted 4 Iraqi companies, with efforts to further bolster this growth as the project progresses. The UAE has also engaged with over 50 local Iraqis to receive direct feedback about their perspective on the restoration of the cultural sites that reflect their country’s legacy.

Speaking on the momentous occasion, HE Noura Al Kaabi remarked:

We are very honoured to sign this partnership with UNESCO and the people of Iraq to take our efforts further in helping rebuild Mosul and reviving the spirit of co-existence and social cohesion. Our work with UNESCO around the world is testament to our country’s commitment to furthering the organisation’s mandate through international cooperation within the fields of education, culture and science.

“Today’s signing is a pioneering partnership that sends a message of light, in seemingly darker times. By rebuilding a fraction of the past, Iraq can shape its future as an inclusive, tolerant and open society which has always found a tangible manifestation in Mosul’s rich historical sites.

“As we start working with UNESCO to reconstruct the ancient Al-Tahera Church, considered to be one of the most ancient churches in Mosul dating back to the 7th Century; as we break ground rebuilding ‘Our Lady of the Hour’, a catholic church built by Dominican Fathers; the UAE becomes the first country in the world to reconstruct Christian churches in Iraq.”

Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s General Director joined HE Al Kaabi in the announcement of the renewed partnership:

Today was an important step for the recovery of the Old City of Mosul. With the inclusion of the two churches Al Tahera and Al-Saa in our project we are all strongly mobilized. This rehabilitation aims to reclaim the true spirit of the City, a story of peaceful coexistence between different religious and ethnic groups.

“I am thankful to the United Arab Emirates and Minister Al Kaabi who have generously supported our Initiative since the beginning, and who believe, as we do, that there is no true reconstruction and revival without Culture and Education.

The Al-Tahera Church of Syriac Catholics in Mosul is considered as one of the largest and oldest churches in the Old City of Mosul. Located in the heart of the first inhabited hilltop of Mosul, known as Qile’aat, near the river, Al-Tahera was surrounded by other churches and mosques.

Before its destruction, the church used to include a school, a library, and a healthcare centre, and it was symbolic of the peaceful coexistence between Christian and Muslim communities in the Old City of Mosul.

The Al-Saa’a Church, which means “Church of the Clock” in Arabic, lies at the heart of the Old City of Mosul. Belonging to the Dominican Fathers, who built it between 1866 and 1873, historians say that Empress Eugenie (María Eugenia de Montijo), wife of Napoleon III, the last emperor of France, donated the funding for the bell tower, which is one of the iconic landmarks of the historic town of Mosul today. Al-Saa’a Church used to have a school and many Moslawis graduated from this educational institution, regardless of their faith, Christian or Muslim.

(Source: UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development)

By John Lee.

Dubai-based Careem has reportedly launched its ride-hailing services in Mosul.

According to a report from Arabian Business, the company plans to roll out its full suite of services in the future.

Careem entered the Iraqi market in January 2018; it was bought by Uber for $3.1 billion in March 2019.

More here.

(Source: Arabian Business)

The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) continues to lend a helping hand to Iraq from Turkey though the projects it implements.

TİKA has been carrying out important work for the reconstruction of the damaged infrastructure in Iraq, which has been destroyed by the terrorist organization ISIS, in order to establish public services, accelerate returns to the region, and revitalize the commercial life of the city.

In a statement made on Twitter, Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy expressed that TİKA had been active in Iraq since 2004 and continued to implement several projects in all the necessary areas, including education, health, agricultural development, institutional capacity building, food aid, and the promotion of peace.  Minister Ersoy announced that in line with the instructions of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, TİKA would renovate Bridge Number 4, which connects the east and west of the city and was destroyed during the war, with the aim of reconstructing the city and revitalizing commercial life.

Since 2014, most of the infrastructure has become unusable in the city of Mosul, which has been subjected to ISIS attacks, and bridges built on the Tigris river which connects the eastern and western sides of the city have been destroyed by the terrorist organization.

Upon the instructions of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, TİKA will repair the 4-legged bridge with a length of 648 meters and a width of 32.45 meters on the Tigris river in Mosul in order to consolidate the deeply rooted friendship between Turkey and the Republic of Iraq, facilitate the transportation within the city of Mosul that houses a dense Turkmen population, and accelerate the return of people to the region. TİKA Acting President Serkan Kayalar signed an agreement for the restoration of the bridge by TİKA. Project planning was initiated following the signing of the agreement. After the planning, activities will be started for the renovation of the bridge.

TİKA’s efforts to restore the Kayseri Bazaar in Kirkuk, which became unusable following the fire at the end of last year, and the tomb of Sheikh Abdulkadir Geylani, one of the most important values of the Islamic world, in Baghdad, are underway at full speed. The project planning for the restoration of the Abu Hanifa Complex, which is an important historical value in the region, has been completed.

Alongside its efforts to pass down mutual historical and cultural heritage to future generations through restoration, TİKA continues to lend a helping hand from Turkey to Iraq by providing food aid to the people affected by natural disasters and terror in various regions of Iraq.

(Source: TIKA)

Several members of Iraq’s parliament and the province’s deputy governor visited prisons near Mosul, Iraq, calling what they found a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

This happened two days after Human Rights Watch (HRW) released research detailing the horrible conditions of the prisons, which hold terrorism suspects.

Immediately after our report release, local authorities claimed Human Rights Watch’s research was “fallacious.” But the government’s tone has since changed. One parliamentarian admitted that “what Human Rights Watch reported was small relative to the actual catastrophe inside the prisons of Nineveh.

Nongovernmental organizations working on these issues have said that Human Rights Watch’s research has made their work easier. Human Rights Watch has also been told that the report release has positively supported their work and has sparked serious conversations in Baghdad about addressing prison conditions.

More here

(Source: HRW)

Health, sport, nature: Key sites in Mosul reopen after damage by ISIL

Al Rabee Primary Healthcare Center, the Al Muthana Sport and Youth Center and the East Mosul Nursery Plantation were officially reopened today by the Government of Ninewa, following their rehabilitation by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“While a lot of work remains to be done in Mosul, the opening of these three projects shows the strength and resilience of the city – one that’s well on its way to recovery after experiencing immense hardship under ISIL’s control,” says UNDP’s Resident Representative in Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

“Al Rabee is one of 24 healthcare centers and hospitals rehabilitated by UNDP in Mosul and provides critical healthcare services to communities across the city,” she says.

“The Al Muthana Sport and Youth Center is an opportunity to reengage our youth. Sport and organized youth actives go a long way in keeping young people feeling healthy, recognized and valued, so this facility is extremely important.

“And plants produced by the Nursery will not only beautify the city, but they also hold great symbolism – representing new life and restored hope for the people of Mosul.”

Rehabilitation of Al Rabee Primary Healthcare Center was funded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and furniture for the Center was provided by a financial contribution from Poland. Rehabilitation of both the Sport Center and Nursery Plantation was supported by The Netherlands.

“The completion of these sites wouldn’t have been possible without the generous contribution of our donors. We’re extremely grateful to the UAE, Poland and The Netherlands for their continued support to stabilizing Iraq,” adds Ms Ali Ahmad.

Approximately 827 stabilization projects have been completed or are underway by UNDP in Mosul, including restoring water and electricity networks, rebuilding educational institutions and healthcare facilities, providing employment for locals to clear rubble from streets, and rehabilitating 15,000 houses.

About the projects

Al Muthana Sport and Youth Center is a public sporting facility and a hub for organized youth activities. At 6700m2, it includes multi-purpose courts for basketball, volleyball, tennis and handball. Under ISIL’s occupation it was used as the militant group’s primary training base.

East Mosul Nursery Plantation is the main source of plant supply to government departments. The area covers 56,000m2 and consists of greenhouses, net shades, open spaces and admin buildings. Prior to ISIL’s occupation, the nursey would produce 250,000-300,000 plants per year.

Al Rabee Primary Healthcare Center is one of the largest in West Mosul. Before ISIL’s occupation, the Center served some 500 patients per day in a catchment area of about 39,000 people. Today it receives about 100 patients per day, however this number is expected to increase as more people return home.

(Source: UNDP)

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

Slow progress is being made to rebuild the ruined city of Mosul in northern Iraq.

It is two years since the Iraqi army, with a United States-led coalition and Iran-backed Shia militias, drove ISIL fighters from the capital of their self-declared caliphate.

Reconstruction efforts are not being helped by the sanctions imposed by the US on Iraq’s ally Iran.

UN agencies estimate it may take tens of millions of dollars and 10 years just to remove mines and explosives.

Al Jazeera‘s Osama Bin Javaid reports:

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

Iraq’s Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Construction, Housing, Municipalities and General Works has presented details of reconstruction projects underway in areas affected by terrorism.

Dr Dara Reshid, who is also Vice President of the Reconstruction Fund for Areas Affected by Terroristic Operations (REFAATO), told CWC‘s Kirkuk & Mosul Megaprojects conference in London that IQD 1,086 billion ($870 million) has been allocated from Iraq’s 2019 budget to fund 267 projects in the liberated areas.

More details here and here.

Farming families in northern Iraq’s Nineveh Governorate will benefit from a European Union contribution of €15 million to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to recover agricultural livelihoods. The area, which includes the city of Mosul, was known as the country’s ‘breadbasket’ before conflict caused widespread damage and displacement.

This project is expected to directly benefit almost 10,000 vulnerable farming families (around 60,000 people), as well as flow-on benefits for local service providers and labourers.

“As part of the EU’s commitment to the whole of Iraq, supporting the regions so tragically devastated by the recent conflict remains a high priority. By reviving agriculture in Nineveh, a key sector of the economy, this new project will help communities and returnees in rural areas, increasing their income and employment opportunities,” said Ramon Blecua, European Union Ambassador to Iraq.

“We are grateful to the European Union for this generous contribution to help us rehabilitate key agricultural facilities and equipment. Getting these services operational again will be a big help for farmers and local businesses,” said Mustapha M. Sinaceur, FAO Representative a.i. in Iraq. “Creating jobs in the heartland of agriculture, where so many jobs depend on the rich soils of Nineveh Governorate, is vital for community stabilization,” he said.

The impact of conflict on the agricultural sector has been devastating and includes damage to water systems, irrigation facilities and other agricultural infrastructure, disruption of value chains and losses of personal assets, crop and livestock production, and food supplies.

Since the Iraqi government announced the defeat of Islamic State, also known as Da’esh, a year ago, many people have returned, encouraged by the efforts to ensure a secure and safe environment. However, some areas still lack basic services and job opportunities for both returnees and those who remained.

FAO and the EU working together for family farmers

The EU-funded project supports smallholder farming families to diversify incomes, increase resilience, and provide nutritious and healthy diets.

The project will support vulnerable smallholder farmers to resume vegetable production, introduce efficient irrigation water use and management, encourage agri-food processing, improve small-scale dairy processing and marketing, and boost animal fodder production and conservation.

Women, in particular, will be supported to participate in home-based vegetable and dairy production and processing. Unemployed young agriculture graduates will be encouraged to benefit from training to gain employment as agri-food processors, farmer field school and farmer business school facilitators, community animal health workers, market information system operators, and food security and nutrition data collectors and analysts.

Together, these activities will respond to families’ immediate needs for food and essential non-food items as well as restoring agricultural livelihoods that generate income and employment over the longer term.

At the same time, the project aims to restore vital government infrastructure and support services to the agriculture sector that have been destroyed, damaged, or looted.

The project is an EU contribution to the UN’s Recovery and Resilience Programme (RRP) in Iraq. It is part of a larger package of support (€ 184.4 million euros) the EU has contributed to support stabilization and humanitarian efforts undertaken by the UN in support of the Government of Iraq since 2016.

FAO’s response in Iraq

Under the Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan 2019, FAO is working to ensure rural families have the resources to re-establish and secure their agricultural livelihoods and build their resilience into the future. FAO’s work, in close coordination with the Iraqi government, supports families returning to retaken areas, internally displaced families, host communities and refugees from Syria.

(Source: FAO)