By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Finger pressing a new career start button, from Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

UN-Habitat provided legal assistance to 1,015 vulnerable households in Mosul to address their housing, land and property rights claims

UN-Habitat in collaboration with its implementing partner, the local NGO Mercy Hands for Humanitarian Aid, concluded the activities funded by the 2017 Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund to address housing, land and property rights (HLP) of vulnerable people in Mosul.

Under this project, UN-Habitat assessed ten neighbourhoods in East Mosul where many displaced persons from the west of the city have settled. The surveys covered 3,083 houses, reaching a total of 19,261 individuals, and aimed to identify HLP incidents and needs of vulnerable households in East Mosul.

Accordingly, 61% of the surveyed households reported that their house was partially or fully destroyed, while more than 33% had no legal occupancy/ownership documents linked to their current residence.

As such, UN-Habitat undertook an information dissemination and awareness raising campaign related to households’ HLP rights and available redress mechanisms through the distribution of leaflets, as well as awareness raising sessions with beneficiaries seeking information on HLP.

Among those, seven sessions were conducted exclusively for females to provide them with a safe and comfortable space to raise their issues and concerns. Mahdia Hamed Ismail, highlighted how she benefited from the help:

“My house was flattened in East Mosul by the war. We were sitting on the floor and we still are as we neither filed nor received any compensation. UN-Habitat’s legal partners visited my house, took my information, helped me fill in the compensation application, and filed the claim in court on my behalf. I would like to thank them for keeping us in mind, and for making the effort to support us.”

As a result of the strong commitment and work ethic of the community representatives (Mukhtars), as well as other local authorities, including the Mosul court, the project was able to provide legal assistance on lease and ownership issues to 1,015 vulnerable families, 29% of which were female-headed households.

The majority of the households who have been impacted by the previous hostilities are in need of support with filing their claims at court. HLP issues are a major challenge for returnees and households in areas previously controlled by ISIL, and can only be solved by legal representation in courts, and/or community-based land mitigation mechanisms.

The authorities in Mosul face many challenges in responding to the high number of claims related to HLP violations, which are a major driving force of conflict and social tension. The cost of not promptly addressing these issues will be too much to bear in the future.

In this regard, the housing registration directorate will be re-established and functioning in Hay Al-Zuhur on 17 February 2018, which marks a significant step in facilitating the production/restoration of occupancy, rental, or ownership documents. UN-Habitat is committed to support the efforts of the authorities and increase its HLP interventions in Mosul, and other areas in Iraq in 2018.

(Source: UN)

The UK Government has donated an additional 1 million GBP (1.3 million USD) to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), increasing the UK total contribution to 14.2 million GBP (20 million USD).

The additional funding will boost UNMAS support to stabilization efforts by increasing survey and clearance of critical infrastructure in liberated areas. This is important before rehabilitation can commence and crucial for the safe, dignified and voluntary returns of displaced people.

The contribution will be used to deploy additional assets to Mosul during the months of January, February and March, in line with emergency operational needs. UNMAS began survey and clearance operations in Mosul’s Old City in late November 2017.

UNMAS efforts to ensure a coordinated stabilization response into Mosul have accelerated activities. Following planning meetings between the Government, UNMAS, UNDP, UN Habitat, UNEP, and UNESCO, UNMAS has now provided survey and clearance teams in five districts in the Old City.

UNMAS works in close collaboration with the Directorate for Mine Action and Iraqi Security Forces to complement the clearance work that has already taken place by the Government of Iraq following the liberation of Mosul.

Close collaboration with UNDP to provide survey and clearance capacities, as well as threat assessments, are an integral part of the Funding Facility for Stabilization’s (FFS) rapid needs assessment process in Mosul.

Between 1 December and 16 December 2017, UNMAS received 139 additional tasks from FFS, conducting survey and clearance in water treatment plants, hospitals and education centers. The additional funds will go towards continuing this response.

Jon Wilks, British Ambassador to Iraq, said:

“The survey and clearance work carried out by UNMAS is vital to the safety of returning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Iraq. This latest contribution demonstrates the UK’s enduring commitment to UNMAS’ work and to supporting humanitarian and stabilisation efforts in Iraq.”

Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Senior Programme Manager in Iraq, stated:

“Continuous support from the United Kingdom allows UNMAS to further extend its support and activities to enable stabilization priorities and humanitarian activities, encouraging the safe return of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to areas previously occupied by ISIL.”

Thanks to the generous contribution from the UK Government, UNMAS’ work has been made possible.

UNMAS will continue ensuring that explosive hazards are cleared in support of stabilization efforts and enabling access for humanitarian activities across Iraq. The total contribution of 14.2 million GBP (20 million USD) is supporting this life saving work in liberated areas of Anbar, Salah ah-Din, Ninewa and Kirkuk governorates.

(Source: United Nations)

UN-Habitat and UNDP are helping Iraq to address strategic urban development of the Pilgrimage governorates of Najaf and Karbala.

Nearly thirty Iraqi officials convened in the holy city of Karbala, on 22-23 August 2017, to partake in an intensive two-day workshop titled “Governorate Urban Strategies for the Pilgrimage Cluster: Meeting the SDGs in Iraq”.

The officials represented the Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Municipalities, Construction and Housing, and Public Works, both the national and local levels, as well as Karbala Governorate.

UN-Habitat organized the workshop under the Local Area Development Programme (LADP), a project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funded by the European Union (EU).

Director General for Local and Regional Planning at the Ministry of Planning, Mr. Mohammed Al-Sayed, said:

“We appreciate the chance to enhance coordination between Governorate officials and improve the capacity of the staff at the central and local levels, in line with the decentralization efforts of the government.”

The workshop focused on the on-going spatial analysis of urban issues and development indicators concerning the governorates of Najaf and Karbala, being developed by UN-Habitat in close coordination with the Ministry of Planning.

Humanitarians fear for the 750,000 civilians in western Mosul

100 days after military operations to retake Mosul started, humanitarian partners are expressing deep concern about the plight of the estimated 750,000 civilians who are currently living in the western sections of the city where fighting is expected to start in coming weeks.

“We are relieved that so many people in the eastern sections of Mosul have been able to stay in their homes. We hope that everything is done to protect the hundreds of thousands of people who are across the river in the west. We know that they are at extreme risk and we fear for their lives,” said Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.

In the contingency plan prepared prior to the onset of the Mosul campaign, humanitarian partners warned that as many as one million civilians may be impacted by the fighting in a worst case scenario. To date, 180,000 people have fled the eastern sections of the city; more than 550,000 civilians have stayed in their homes.

Humanitarian partners have been working as quickly as possible to provide direct lifesaving assistance. Nearly 600,000 people have received food, 745,000 people have benefitted from water and sanitation support and 370,000 people have sought medical care.

Eighty-five per cent of the people displaced from Mosul are staying in 13 displacement camps and emergency sites constructed by the Government and partners. Ten of these camps are already full of which four are being extended. Seven more are under construction.

“The reports from inside western Mosul are distressing. Humanitarian partners are unable to access these areas but all the evidence points to a sharply deteriorating situation. The prices of basic food and supplies are soaring. Water and electricity are intermittent in neighbourhoods and many families without income are eating only once a day. Others are being forced to burn furniture to stay warm,” said Ms. Grande.

“We don’t know what will happen in western Mosul but we cannot rule out the possibility of siege-like conditions or a mass exodus. To date, nearly half of all the casualties from Mosul are civilians. It’s terrifying to think of the risks families are facing,” said Ms. Grande. “They can be killed by booby-traps and in cross-fire and could be used as human shields.”

The Iraqi Security Forces have adopted a humanitarian concept of operations putting civilian protection at the centre of their battle plan. Humanitarian partners welcome this approach and renew their collective call on all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and ensure they have access to life-saving assistance.

“The world’s attention is fixed on the military campaign in Iraq. But once this is over, there will still be a humanitarian crisis. As many as three million Iraqis, maybe even four million depending on what happens in Mosul, Hawiga and Tel Afar may be displaced from their homes as a result of the conflict. These families will need to make crucial choices about how to rebuild and re-establish their lives. And we will need to be here to help them. We hope and trust that the international community will not walk away after Mosul. It would be a mistake — a very big one — if this were to happen.”

Signees:

Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq
Aaron Brent, Country Representative Northern Iraq, CARE
Altaf Musani, Representative and Head of Mission, WHO Iraq
Bana Kaloti, Regional Director-Middle East, UNOPS
Bruno Geddo, Representative in Iraq, UNHCR
Dina Zorba, Country Representative, UN Women
Erfan Ali, Head of Iraq Programme, UN-Habitat
Fadel El-Zubi, Representative in Iraq, FAO
Francesco Motta, Director of the HRO/UNAMI, Representative of the UN OHCHR in Iraq
Ivo Freijsen, Head of Office Iraq, UNOCHA
Louise Haxthausen, Director, UNESCO Iraq
Mounir Tabet, Country Director, UNDP Iraq
Peter Hawkins, Representative in Iraq, UNICEF
Ramanathan Balakrishnan, Representative, UNFPA
Sally Haydock, Representative in Iraq, WFP
Thomas Lothar Weiss, Iraq Chief of Mission, IOM
Lawk Ahmad, Country Director, Qandil
Matthew Nowery, Country Director, Samaritan’s Purse
Mike Bonke, Country Director, Welthungerhilfe
Stef Deutekom, Deputy Country Director, DRC

(Source: UNDP in Iraq)

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has inaugurated newly renovated residential units in Anbar University, located in Ramadi, Anbar Governorate.

With generous contribution from the Government of Japan, the renovation of the residential units was implemented under the project titled “Promoting Urban Recovery in Newly Liberated Areas in Iraq.

As other public facilities and major infrastructure in the city, the premises of the university was one of the earliest largely devastated sites by ISIL.

Classrooms and residential buildings of Anbar University were severely damaged. Upon request from the Anbar Governorate, UN-Habitat renovated 92 residential units in the university compound for female students, which can accommodate around 400 individuals, to be ready for the beginning of the new academic semester in October 2016.

The units are provided with water and sanitation facilities, electricity, and ceiling fans.

UN-Habitat promotes community-based reconstruction in crisis-affected areas. The current intervention to rehabilitate the residential units in Anbar University is complementary component under the agency’s Urban Recovery Programme.

Dr. Erfan Ali, UN-Habitat’s Country Representative, confirmed in the event that “The community-based approach under the Urban Recovery initiative will empower the community members socially and economically, enabling them to plan and manage their own activities for more peaceful and stable community”.

He added that the reactivation of the university’s role would contribute to accelerate IDPs return. He also emphasized on the importance of targeting female students to support their academic and research re-engagement, and to play an active role as agents of positive and constructive change.

(Source: UN)

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has received USD 15 million from the Government of Japan to implement two projects in Iraq: “Gender-sensitive Durable Shelter Support for Internally Displaced Persons in Iraq” and “Promoting Urban Recovery in Newly Liberated Areas in Iraq.

The conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has had profound humanitarian consequences throughout Iraq. More than three million Iraqis have fled their homes and three million more are living under ISIL control. Some of the major cities in Iraq already have more number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) than their original population, putting communities hosting IDPs under severe pressure.

Inadequate and insecure shelter conditions endanger women and girls, making them increasingly vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence. Even after liberation of cities once controlled by ISIL, only small portions of IDPs have returned, because cities are devastated with buildings and houses burned, shops looted, roads damaged from bombs and electricity grid destructed, after going through major military operations.

Despite the efforts of the Government of Iraq in providing support to IDPs and returnees, the severe budget crises because of the decline in the oil prices and the cost of the war against ISIL necessitate the mobilization of substantial humanitarian support.

Days before snow was expected to fall in the foothills of Dohuk, Iraq, 900 families are moving into the new camp for internally-displaced persons (IDPs) built through the collaboration of 8 UN agencies planned and led by UN-Habitat.

UN-Habitat’s acting Regional Director from Arab States, Mr Dyfed Aubrey and UN-Habitat’s Country Director Dr Erfan Ali visited the camp built in Dawodye to inspect the shelter units prior to handover to the Dohuk Governorate on 6 January, and to meet the 300 families that were moving into their new homes that day.

Families had been displaced from Sinjar in August due to the ongoing conflict with Islamic State in the region and had been trapped on Mount Sinjar for weeks before fleeing to and being successively displaced from a series of locations on the Syrian border. They eventually took temporary refuge in a tented camp in Sarrensk Dohuk and arrived at the Dawodye camp for longer term refuge in early 2015.

A new model of IDP camp

UN-Habitat has noted how many camps in the region, over years of protracted conflicts, have become slums as tents get replaced with more permanent housing. This camp, funded by the Government of Saudi Arabia, has been planned with adequate street widths and with public spaces, in line with urban planning principles, and shelter is provided in prefabricated units.

Over an approximate three-year time-frame, prefabricated units, with a 15 year design life, are expected to be more cost effective than traditional tented camps, and provide dignity, improved protection from the elements and good sanitary conditions to the users.

“We are so happy and relieved to be in a place where we feel safe and will be comfortable even in the winter,” remarked a teenage girl who was moving into her family’s new shelter. Parents remarked on how they looked forward to their children returning soon to school, and returning to a more normal life.

Delivering as One-UN

Working together, UN-Habitat and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) provided shelters in partnership with local NGOs, UNDP provided roads, drainage, water and sanitation in partnership with the local government and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) provided solar lighting.

In addition, UNICEF will provide play areas and is building a primary school and the UN Education, Science and Culture Organisation (UNESCO) will provide a secondary school, WHO is providing a health facility and the UN’s population agency, UNFPA, will build maternal health facilities.

All social facilities are also built with prefabricated units. The UN High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, is providing non-food items and has co-led the beneficiary identification process with the Dohuk Governorate. They will work with the Dohuk Governorate on the camp’s management.

UN-Habitat is planning and coordinating the construction of three IDP camps in Iraq with total capacity of 5,329 shelter units to host over 30,000 IDPs in Suleymaniah, Dohuk and Erbil, and plans to extend the programme to new sites in Dohuk, Kerbala and Baghdad.

(Source: UN)