Pathway to peace: New recommendations to enhance local policing programmes in Iraq

Designing adaptable programmes, promoting the role of women in policing, and streamlining international interventions and are some of the key recommendations made by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in a recent conflict assessment on local policing in Iraq.

Conflict Assessment in Support of Efforts to Improve Local Policing in Iraq outlines key recommendations to mitigate the drivers of conflict and promote forces for peace, focusing on two key governorates in Iraq, Anbar and Ninewa.

It highlights different approaches to address drivers of conflict and instability, and makes recommendations to shape robust, sustainable local policing programmes in Iraq.

“Local police play an integral role in establishing and forging peace in Iraq, especially in the years since the ISIL conflict,” says Resident Representative of UNDP in Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

“We hope this assessment is a useful tool for international partners and local decision makers to shape robust and sustainable local policing programmes that reflect community concerns, and promote a more peaceful and just Iraq. In doing so, it is important to increase and promote the role of women in policing, and improve women and girls’ access to local police services,” she adds.

The conflict assessment was developed under UNDP Iraq’s Security Sector Reform/Rule of Law programme with generous funding from the Government of The Netherlands.

The assessment findings are available online in English and Arabic.

(Source: UNDP)

Protecting communities from COVID-19: Canada commits funds to tackle growing pandemic in Iraq

The Government of Canada has contributed US$1.85 million (CAD 2.5 million) to support the Government of Iraq’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq.

The funds will be directed toward two critical areas of work; $1.85 million will support UNDP Iraq’s immediate response to COVID-19, which supports 12 governorates, and includes increasing the testing capacity of laboratories, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, increasing the number of isolation wards, and undertaking assessments to establish post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.

An additional $75,000 will be used to provide local police engaged in Iraq’s COVID-19 response with personal protective equipment including masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, largely focusing on officers in Baghdad, which has seen the highest number of cases in the country.

“The emergence of COVID-19 has presented yet another challenge for Iraq – which is still reeling from the devastating effects of the ISIL conflict, and is now faced with an economic crisis due to the decline in oil prices. This generous contribution from Canada will ensure the health and safety of communities through access to improved health services and infrastructure, and protect those serving local communities in the line of duty,” says UNDP Iraq’s Resident Representative, Zena Ali Ahmad.

The funds have been repurposed from existing agreements under UNDP Iraq’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), and the Security Sector Reform/Rule of Law programmes. As one of UNDP Iraq’s key partners, Canada has provided approximately $27 million to the two programmes.

(Source: UNDP)

Protecting communities from COVID-19: Canada commits funds to tackle growing pandemic in Iraq

The Government of Canada has contributed US$1.85 million (CAD 2.5 million) to support the Government of Iraq’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq.

The funds will be directed toward two critical areas of work; $1.85 million will support UNDP Iraq’s immediate response to COVID-19, which supports 12 governorates, and includes increasing the testing capacity of laboratories, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, increasing the number of isolation wards, and undertaking assessments to establish post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.

An additional $75,000 will be used to provide local police engaged in Iraq’s COVID-19 response with personal protective equipment including masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, largely focusing on officers in Baghdad, which has seen the highest number of cases in the country.

“The emergence of COVID-19 has presented yet another challenge for Iraq – which is still reeling from the devastating effects of the ISIL conflict, and is now faced with an economic crisis due to the decline in oil prices. This generous contribution from Canada will ensure the health and safety of communities through access to improved health services and infrastructure, and protect those serving local communities in the line of duty,” says UNDP Iraq’s Resident Representative, Zena Ali Ahmad.

The funds have been repurposed from existing agreements under UNDP Iraq’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), and the Security Sector Reform/Rule of Law programmes. As one of UNDP Iraq’s key partners, Canada has provided approximately $27 million to the two programmes.

(Source: UNDP)

Protecting communities from COVID-19: Canada commits funds to tackle growing pandemic in Iraq

The Government of Canada has contributed US$1.85 million (CAD 2.5 million) to support the Government of Iraq’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq.

The funds will be directed toward two critical areas of work; $1.85 million will support UNDP Iraq’s immediate response to COVID-19, which supports 12 governorates, and includes increasing the testing capacity of laboratories, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, increasing the number of isolation wards, and undertaking assessments to establish post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.

An additional $75,000 will be used to provide local police engaged in Iraq’s COVID-19 response with personal protective equipment including masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, largely focusing on officers in Baghdad, which has seen the highest number of cases in the country.

“The emergence of COVID-19 has presented yet another challenge for Iraq – which is still reeling from the devastating effects of the ISIL conflict, and is now faced with an economic crisis due to the decline in oil prices. This generous contribution from Canada will ensure the health and safety of communities through access to improved health services and infrastructure, and protect those serving local communities in the line of duty,” says UNDP Iraq’s Resident Representative, Zena Ali Ahmad.

The funds have been repurposed from existing agreements under UNDP Iraq’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), and the Security Sector Reform/Rule of Law programmes. As one of UNDP Iraq’s key partners, Canada has provided approximately $27 million to the two programmes.

(Source: UNDP)

No one could predict what the year 2020 would bring, especially facing an unprecedented global health pandemic.For Mosul, which today is still reeling from the effects of ISIL’s four-year brutal rule, COVID-19 presented a crisis upon crises affecting the city’s quest for stability.

Under its Funding facility for Stabilization Programme (FFS), UNDP has been active in Mosul before its liberation, working to restore critical infrastructure and services, provide short-term job opportunities, and build cohesion amongst its fragmented communities.

To mitigate health risk and to safeguard the safety and health of workers and communities, UNDP temporarily halted its field operations in mid-March, to comply with the curfews and movement restrictions instructed by the Iraqi Government and health advice provided by the World Health Organization.

More here.

(Source: UNDP)

Battling Coronavirus: France prioritizes critical medical equipment in southern Iraq

The Government of France has committed EUR 300,000 (US$334,448) to support the Government of Iraq’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The funds will be used to purchase ventilators – a life-saving piece of equipment for Coronavirus patients – for Basra Teaching Hospital in southern Iraq.

“The emergence of COVID-19 has exacerbated the many challenges experienced by communities in Basra, who are struggling to access basic infrastructure and services. We are very grateful for this contribution from France which will alleviate the extreme pressure currently placed on under-resourced health facilities in Basra. As the pandemic has unfolded globally, we have seen how important ventilators have been in saving lives,” says Resident Respresentive of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

In addition to ventilators and other life-saving equipment provided to the hospital, UNDP Iraq is also building isolation units, providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers to stop the spread of the virus, and boosting the testing capacity of labs to increase the detection of cases.

It also supports an online awareness-raising platform, Corona in Iraq which outlines symptoms and risks of COVID-19, dispels rumors about the virus, and tracks symptoms to encourage people to seek medical advice.

“France is fully committed to actively support the Governement of Iraq to meet the needs of the Iraqi population. This medical equipment will contribute to help medical teams in southern Iraq to face with this urgent situation and allow them to save more lives. We welcome all the efforts made by UNDP to coordinate the help of international donors in order to combat the spread of the disease in Iraq”, says the Ambassador of France, Bruno Aubert.”

In addition to Basra, UNDP Iraq’s COVID-19 response package extends to Anbar, Babel, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Dohuk, Karbala, Kirkuk, Missan, Najaf, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din.

With this latest contribution, France has provided US$7.8 million in support to UNDP Iraq since 2015.

(Source: UNDP)

Criminal justice services in Iraq strengthened thanks to new contribution from Germany

The Government of Germany has committed USD 1.13 million to support the Government of Iraq strengthen its criminal investigations and crime scene management under a new project in partnership with UNDP Iraq.

Strengthening Criminal Investigations and Crime Scene Management Capacities in Iraq aims to increase the reliability and effectiveness of criminal investigations, ensuring they are well integrated and proactively conducted by local police. It will also improve the performance of cinvestigators, making their role in criminal investigations more accountable.

Activities under this project include comprehensive training sessions for investigating officers from local police stations, relevant directorates, and investigating judges.

Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad, said:

This generous contribution will support Iraqi stakeholders to advance ongoing efforts to improve local safety and security through better crime management and local policing.

“Public safety and security lie at the heart of Iraq’s transition to long-term stability, recovery and development, so we are extremely grateful to the Government of Germany for its continued support.

German Ambassador, Dr. Ole Diehl (pictured) stressed that:

“This contribution from Germany will assist in advancing capacities of police forces and judicial authorities in Iraq and thereby create conditions to restore public safety and security for all Iraqis as well as enhance longer-term stability.”

Major General Talib Khalil Rahi, Forensics Director of the Ministry of Interior, stated:

“The focus on improving local police and criminal justice services is essential to transit from a state engaged in protracted conflict to a post-war era of stability and recovery.”

The new contribution aligns with identified priorities within the Government of Iraq’s Security Sector Reform aimed at improving criminal justice and local policing.

The project will be implemented by the UNDP Security Sector Reform and Rule of Law Programme which has been instrumental in supporting the Government of Iraq’s Security Sector Reform Programme, in partnerships with the Office of the National Security Advisor, Ministry of Interior and the Police Affairs Agency, Local Police, Higher Judicial Council, Ministry of Justice and Iraqi civil society organisations and other international donors.

(Source: UNDP)

The Government of Finland has committed €2 million (US$2.2 million) to support the Government of Iraq’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq.

The funds will be used to support UNDP Iraq’s COVID-19 response package, which is being implemented under the umbrella of UNDP Iraq’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), established to repair critical infrastructure and services damaged by ISIL.

Measures to combat the virus under the COVID-19 response package include increasing the testing capacity of laboratories, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, increasing the number of isolation wards, and undertaking assessments to establish post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.

Focusing on the most vulnerable communities in Iraq, activities will be rolled out in hospitals selected by local authorities in the underserved areas of Anbar, Basra, Diyala, Dohuk, Karbala, Kirkuk, Najaf, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din.

UNDP Iraq’s Resident Representative, Zena Ali Ahmad, said:

“While the entire country is impacted by the emergence of COVID-19, it’s the vulnerable communities – including displaced communities, people living with a disability, women, and the elderly – who will carry most of the burden. We’re extremely grateful for Finland’s support which will help us target these vulnerable communities.”

Finland’s Ambassador to Iraq Mr. Vesa Häkkinen (pictured), added:

“Iraq is facing a multitude of challenges as it recovers from a long conflict. Finland wants to support the stability of Iraq and to strengthen its preparedness and response to COVID-19 emergency. UNDP is in the frontline supporting Iraq’s national healthcare system in tackling the outbreak.”

Finland is one of UNDP Iraq’s key partners, providing more than $12.1 million to UNDP Iraq’s FFS since 2015.

(Sources: Reliefweb, Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs)

By Safa Fadhil, Head of Exploration and Sundus Abass, Gender Advisor at UNDP Iraq. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council (UNSCR) Resolution 1325, which helps to ensure women are on the frontlines of achieving stability and peace in Iraq.

With this in mind, UNDP Iraq’s  Accelerator Lab and Gender Division partnered with French Embassy in Iraq, Ambassade de France en Irak, The Station for entrepreneurship, Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie , Zain Iraq Telecommunications Company, and Ashur Private Bank on a competition to support Iraqi women entrepreneurs.

The Raa’idat Competition encourages women to develop and grow their own enterprises. Despite the financial stress and anxiety resulting from the outbreak of Coronavirus in Iraq, the initiative captured the enthusiasm of Iraqi women keen to expand their business know-how.

To start, leaders from 20 entrepreneurial projects participated in training courses related to business planning and management, and other relevant topics prescribed by telecommunications company Zain Iraq. Seventeen projects progressed to the next stage of the competition, with leaders participating in financial budgeting training undertaken by UNDP Iraq’s Accelerator Lab.

The competition is ongoing – from these seventeen, five finalists will be selected, and then one overall winner, who will receive $ 10,000 in the form of a six-month incubation period, consultant support, recruitment costs, and purchasing specific equipment for its development. Cash prizes will also be awarded.

UNDP Iraq’s training offered participants a holistic approach to women’s economic empowerment, defining it as ‘a process whereby women’s and girls’ lives are transformed from a situation where they have limited power and access to economic assets, to a situation where they experience economic advancement’. In addition, it underlined the factors that enable and constrain women’s economic empowerment, while using the Design Thinking and Behavioral Insight methodologies to guide the work.

UNDP Iraq provided expertise to highlight the importance of women’s economic empowerment and financial budgeting techniques to enable women entrepreneurs to effectively compete in the market. The training was conducted virtually and used a combination of interactive methods to deliver the target. The Accelerator Lab in Iraq used a human-centered approach to structure the training material, commencing with a needs-assessment session before planning the three lectures that followed.

The competition was integral to amplifying women’s voices. “I want to prove myself; I do exist, and I have the right to participate in my country’s economic empowerment,” says participant Nadia. For UNDP, this sentiment sits at the heart of the organization’s work.

it also enhanced the Accelerator Lab’s mandate in fostering collaborations with local and international partners to solve the issues of tunnel-vision employment experienced in Iraq, – i.e, pressures placed on young people to attain certain jobs. The competition also led to the discovery of 17 new, local, under-the-radar solutions and opened the door to experimenting with them.

To ensure the sustainability of the project, The Accelerator Lab in Iraq will be part of the training and competition evaluation that will take place after COVID-19. This will ensure the empowerment of women is prioritized alongside sensing and exploring innovative local solutions.

(Source: UNDP)

In Iraq, a country most recognized for its oil production, it’s the micro – small – and medium-enterprises (MSMEs) that bring life and colour to the streets. Despite being the ‘small’ players in business, the private sector (excluding oil) accounts for close to 60% of employment, with MSMEs active in the widest range of sectors and with the greatest opportunities for youth.

In Basra City and Al-Qurna, two cities in the largest oil producing region in the nation, the unemployment rate has risen to at least 30% in recent years. Largely attributed to the lack of government employment opportunities and the skills mismatch of the growing youth demographic, investment in micro- small- and medium-enterprises is bringing new hope and opportunities for economic development.

Since mid-2019, the United Nations Development Programming (UNDP), in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), has provided targeted support to 319 new and established MSMEs across Basra City and Al-Qurna through business development training and cash-grants. The training worked to build skills that would enable enterprise growth, such as finance and accounting, marketing, human resources and employment management, as well as soft skills such as communication, leadership, negotiation skills, decision making and problem solving.

“I learned the importance of good leadership,” says Labieb, 57, father-of-5 and owner of a cherry and nuts store in Basra City. “I also learned how to best deal with customers and be part of a team.” Following completion of his training and receiving his cash-grant, Labieb was able to hire an additional staff member to manage increased stock and customers and enjoyed a 15% increase in profits.

But like most other cities around the world, the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 was also felt in Basra and Al-Qurna. Businesses took all precaution to prevent the spread of the virus, ensuring the safety of both staff and customers by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and adhering to the government curfews, with limited operating hours. By demonstrating solidarity, these business owners were not only able to continue making a livelihood for themselves and their employees, but to set an example for the community.

“As a business owner, I am empowered to build something successful – that I created the plan for, and that enables me to give back to the community,” explains Hisham, 40, father-of-2 and owner of a small five-a-side football stadium in Abu Al-Khaseeb.

For Kawthar and Jenan, both mothers-of-five and owners of successful beauty salons in Basra and Al-Qurna respectively, hygiene and care are always a big part of their daily work. “After receiving the grant, I was able to hire three new staff members and saw my profits increase by 40% – this is because I put together a good business plan, but also because we take the necessary precautions to keep ourselves and others safe,” says Kawther.

MSMEs continue to face challenges to their growth during COVID-19 pandemic, limiting their capacity to hire additional employees, but with the recognition and support they need, could MSMEs be the way forward for economic growth in Iraq?

Sustainable livelihoods through small business development and job placement in Basra

Together with NRC, and generous funding support from the Government of Japan, UNDP has supported 319 MSMEs through training and cash-grants and placed 125 individuals in jobs through private sector partnerships, since mid-2019.

(Source: UNDP)