By John Lee.

To improve living conditions for returnee populations living in newly liberated areas, UNOPS – with funding from the government of Japan – is helping to provide renewable energy and emergency waste disposal services in three Iraqi governorates.

“[This project] comes at a time when Iraq is counting on its friends to recover after its battle against ISIS and after the liberation of Iraqi territories,” said Mr. Istabraq Al shook, Deputy Minister of Iraq’s Ministry of Construction, Housing, Municipalities and Public Works at a recent handover ceremony.

“The UN and the people of Japan and its government showed a solid commitment to stand by Iraq during critical hard times and after the crisis. Today’s closing ceremony is a testimony of this commitment,” he added.

With a $3.1 million donation from the government of Japan, UNOPS procured solid waste machinery and provided specialized training to local authorities on modern waste disposal systems, better utilization of debris, and waste sorting and recycling.

UNOPS further installed solar systems – to help alleviate frequent electricity shortages – as well as street lights and water heaters in six health facilities in the governorates of Anbar, Diyala and Ninewa.

“I hope that this project helps to urgently restore basic services needed for daily lives, such as energy and waste disposal, and that the people in those liberated areas can restore and lead a stable life as quickly as possible,” said Mr. Naofumi Hashimoto, Ambassador of Japan to Iraq.

“UNOPS remains committed to supporting the government and the people of Iraq in addressing significant challenges the country is facing, and remains grateful to the people and government of Japan for their continued support to the people of Iraq,” said UNOPS Programme Advisor Ms. Huda Al-Ani.

Mr. Ahmed Shalash, Deputy Director General of Engineering Affairs at the Ministry of Health and Environment, and Mr. Abdul Qadir Al Dhakheel, General Director of Ninewa Municipality attended the handover ceremony held in Baghdad.

(Source: UNOPS)

Top Mountain in partnership with USAID is launching a business incubator and employment program. The goal of the program is to promote economic growth and increase employment opportunities to support minorities from Ninewa targeted by ISIS.

Program activities will focus on achieving three core objectives designed to support this goal. Firstly, outreach campaigns will be used to increase interest in entrepreneurship and careers in the private sector.

Secondly, the project will build capacity in both technical and soft skills that will help beneficiaries start businesses and become more competitive in the job market. Lastly, the project will help to build professional networks that increase business and employment opportunities for persecuted minorities from Ninewa.

USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID has funded this program under the New Partnership Initiative (NPI) that aims to assist populations in Iraq recovering from the genocide perpetrated by ISIS.

Top Mountain is a consulting firm based in Iraq focused on stabilization, economic development, and promoting employment and entrepreneurship. This program is aligned with Top Mountain’s mission to support economic development and stability in Iraq.

For more information please contact

(Source: Top Mountain)

IOM Iraq’s Enterprise Development Fund (EDF) encourages rapid, large-scale private sector job creation and economic recovery through tailored support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The EDF is a financing mechanism that provides SMEs with financial capital to contribute to their recovery and/or expansion.

To assess the capacity of the market to absorb medium-sized grants, the EDF market assessment was rolled out in Kirkuk, Fallujah, and Mosul in November 2018.

The assessment was led by IOM Iraq’s Return and Recovery Unit (RRU) and contributes to the necessary groundwork to introduce the EDF in any location.

Please see below the assessments for three governorates:

(Source: IOM)

By John Lee.

Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] (pictured) has announced that the re-construction and rehabilitation of the first unit of the Al-Kask refinery in Ninawa is complete.

The facility can process 10,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd).

Work is continuing to finish the second unit, which also has a capacity of 10,000 bpd.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) concluded a two-day workshop in Baghdad with 33 organizations seeking to create and design activities together that will assist in the voluntary return of displaced Iraqis to the Ninewa Plain and western Ninewa, and to encourage those who are already in their communities to remain.

The workshop welcomed two senior advisers who attended on behalf of Vice President Mike Pence, further signaling the Administration’s strong commitment to finding innovative solutions to helping the return of displaced populations in Iraq and across the world.

“All Iraqi people suffered greatly during the cruel occupation by ISIS, and the United States is providing assistance to help displaced families return home, including to the Ninewa Plain and western Ninewa, two areas that exemplify Iraq’s unique cultural heritage and religious tolerance.

We look forward to reviewing the innovative proposals that come out of this workshop,” stated Ambassador Douglas Silliman (pictured).

With the liberation of ISIS-controlled territory, approximately 3.5 million Iraqis have already returned home, yet another 2.3 million remain internally displaced. Many of those are from smaller, more vulnerable ethnic and religious groups.

Communities in the Ninewa Plain and western Ninewa face unique and complex post-conflict challenges, and the factors that influence individuals to return to their homes and remain there need to be identified, assessed, and addressed.

USAID’s workshop provides an opportunity for organizations to create high-quality, effective, and efficient partnerships for research, development, and testing of innovative, practical, and cost-effective projects.

(Source: US Embassy)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office in Iraq has issued a call for expressions of interest to fund activities that assist in the voluntary return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Ninewa Plains and western Ninewa, and to encourage those who are already in their communities to remain.

Ambassador Douglas Silliman (pictured) stated that,

“This initiative will allow the U.S. government to work hand-in-hand with organizations and private companies to help communities persecuted and displaced by violence to build a stronger future.”

With the liberation of ISIS-controlled territory, approximately 2.2 million Iraqis have already returned home, yet another three million Iraqis remain internally displaced. Many of those displaced are minorities, including from diverse religious and ethnic groups.

People in the Ninewa Plains and western Ninewa face unique post-conflict challenges, and the factors that influence these individuals to return to their homes and remain there need to be identified, assessed, and addressed.

The intent of this funding announcement is to allow co-creation and co-design — to the maximum extent possible — to create high-quality, effective, and efficient partnerships for research, development, piloting, and testing of innovative, practical, cost-effective, and scalable interventions.

Interested parties should refer to or for the full Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) posting and submission requirements. Submissions are due by November 30, 2017.

(Source: U.S. Embassy)

By Mohammed A. Salih for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Gen. Hadi Halabjayi and his peshmerga troops were getting settled in the new territory in the Khazir area they had captured from the Islamic State (IS) in late May after a day and a half of fighting.

Sitting under a cloth shade hung between two vehicles, Halabjayi held a piece of shrapnel from a mortar that had landed just minutes before.

“It’s a big territory we have taken and we are quite close to Mosul now from this side as well,” Halabjayi told Al-Monitor, as he pointed toward a nearby village.

A few minutes later, he got up with the help of a wooden stick and surveyed the hot, dusty plains of eastern Ninevah province. Occasionally, he shouted an order at the people around him.

“These territories are Kurdistan’s now. We will not give them back to the Iraqi army or anybody else,” said the general. “We have had four of our peshmergas die here and several injured for this territory. [IS] exploded eight suicide bombers in this area,” he said.

Halabjayi’s words sum up the sentiments among the peshmerga and Kurdish officials these days: The blood they are shedding should not go in vain.

In a two-day operation over May 29-30, 5,500 Kurdish peshmerga forces wrested control of nine villages from IS encompassing an area of around 120 square kilometers (46 square miles).

Kurdish authorities described the offensive as “one of the many shaping operations” to increase pressure on IS militants in nearby Mosul leading up to an eventual charge on the major IS stronghold.

The Federal Republic of Germany has donated EUR 4 million to IOM Iraq to support its “Strengthening Community Policing in Iraq” project between March 2016 and December 2017.

By supporting community policing in Iraq, IOM enhances overall efforts to advance democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Iraq in liberated areas. Community-policing models promote mediation and negotiation to resolve conflicts and build trust between the community and the police.

The Community Police Project includes training on community policing principles, establishing Community Police Forums, and encouraging dialogue between civil society and law enforcement agencies.

In 2015, a total of 16 Community Policing Forums were established across six governorates in southern, central and northern Iraq, engaging over 500 community members, 80 police officers, more than 80 government officials and 70 civil society members.

The project will reinforce these efforts by strengthening the capacity of the Community Police in Iraq and increasing the capacity of communities and civil society to engage in constructive dialogue on security issues.

The project will enhance the existing community police infrastructure and provide needed equipment to improve police access to communities in liberated areas, but also in central and southern Iraq.

The training component will target law enforcement personnel, as well as representatives of internally displaced Iraqi communities, to facilitate the work of the community police, particularly in areas of return.

The top United Nations humanitarian official in Iraq has said she is deeply worried about thousands of civilians who are trapped in Fallujah city and in Sinjar district and are unable to access aid, calling on Government officials to redouble efforts to relocate civilians to safer areas before the situation deteriorates further.

Although the UN is unable to access civilians in Fallujah city in Anbar Governorate, which remains under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), information from key informants indicates that conditions are deteriorating rapidly, said Lise Grande, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, in a press release.

“We are receiving reports of hunger and shortages of medicines and essential supplies. We know that people are trying to leave the city but are prevented from doing so; we fear that the situation is becoming desperate,” Ms. Grande said.

As she called on the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to uphold their obligations under humanitarian law and redouble their efforts to facilitate the evacuation and relocation of civilians to safer areas with food, water and medical care, Ms. Grande stressed that urgent steps are necessary to alleviate the suffering of people struggling to survive in the country.

“As humanitarians, we have a common responsibility to save lives,” she said.

The Ministry of Health in Iraq, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), has confirmed that there is no suspected case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Iraq as of January 5th 2015.

On 31 December, 2014, Al-Sabah newspaper, Shafaq news agency and Rudaw online newspaper reported a rumor of EVD cases in Mosul, Ninewa governorate. The news was also relayed through other media agencies in and outside of Iraq.

Following this rumor, the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization investigated the allegations through existing surveillance networks, as well as through contacts with health authorities and medical sources in Ibn Sina Hospital in Mosul.

All sources contacted have negated the existence of any suspected cases of Ebola. The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization further confirmed that the laboratory facilities in Mosul do not have the necessary capabilities to diagnose and confirm the Ebola Virus.

The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization remain vigilant and have scaled up surveillance efforts to ensure early detection and safe management of any eventual suspected EVD cases in the country.

All necessary precautionary measures are being taken to ensure that effective preventive programmes are in place and that the people of Iraq are provided with all affordable support in case any EVD case is detected.

(Source: UN)