By John Lee.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has announced Calls for Proposals from individual consultants:

(Source: UNAMI)

The Ministry of Planning and the United Nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the Iraq Reconstruction and Recovery Trust Fund in support of the Government’s Recovery and Development Framework.

Iraqi Minister of Planning Dr. Nouri Sabah al-Dulaimi signed on behalf of the Government of Iraq. Marta Ruedas, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq and Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator, signed on behalf of the United Nations.

The MoU falls in the framework of cooperation, is in line with the Iraqi government’s commitments under the provisions of the Kuwait Conference in 2018, and will help in articulating the international community’s pledges made at that time.

Ms. Ruedas said:

“This Fund is a way to channel the commitments from the Kuwait International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq. We are pleased to continue supporting the Ministry of Planning and the Government of Iraq in the implementation of this agenda as well as the longer-term Sustainable Development Goals”.

The Trust Fund is in support of the Government’s Recovery and Development Framework as defined in the Recovery and Resilience Programme and for the required policy and programme support to the Government’s achievement of its SDGs targets and its Vision 2030.

(Source: UN)

The Ministry of Planning and the United Nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the Iraq Reconstruction and Recovery Trust Fund in support of the Government’s Recovery and Development Framework.

Iraqi Minister of Planning Dr. Nouri Sabah al-Dulaimi signed on behalf of the Government of Iraq. Marta Ruedas, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq and Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator, signed on behalf of the United Nations.

The MoU falls in the framework of cooperation, is in line with the Iraqi government’s commitments under the provisions of the Kuwait Conference in 2018, and will help in articulating the international community’s pledges made at that time.

Ms. Ruedas said:

“This Fund is a way to channel the commitments from the Kuwait International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq. We are pleased to continue supporting the Ministry of Planning and the Government of Iraq in the implementation of this agenda as well as the longer-term Sustainable Development Goals”.

The Trust Fund is in support of the Government’s Recovery and Development Framework as defined in the Recovery and Resilience Programme and for the required policy and programme support to the Government’s achievement of its SDGs targets and its Vision 2030.

(Source: UN)

Five years on from ISIL ‘caliphate’ proclamation in Iraq, Security Council makes first-ever visit

The UN Security Council has concluded a first-ever visit to Iraq on Saturday, five years on from the proclamation, by the ISIL terrorist group, of a “caliphate” in the country.

The visit, which also took in a trip to Kuwait, saw the members meet senior government, UN and humanitarian officials to discuss the development of Iraq, the humanitarian situation, and the ongoing security challenges faced by the Government.

Council members noted that the visit underscored their support for Iraq’s continued post-conflict recovery, and reconciliation efforts to meet the needs of all Iraqis, and emphasized the importance of the sovereignty and security of Iraq.

They also addressed the importance of funding the recovery, in meetings with World Bank representative Ghassan Khoja, which covered the effective follow-up of international pledges, including those made at the 2018 Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq.

Effective government and corruption issues raised

Recent political developments in Iraq, including progress towards the full formation of the Government, were welcomed by the Security Council members, who recognized the importance of an administration that upholds the values of the country’s constitution, responding to the needs of all Iraqis, including women, youth, children, displaced persons, and persons belonging to all ethnic and religious groups.

The engagement of the national Government in resolving outstanding issues with the Kurdish Regional Government, was also singled out for praise by the members, and the issue of corruption was raised, particularly efforts towards implementing the 2018-2022 National Government program, which includes addressing corruption, and strengthening viable state institutions.

Humanitarian and security concerns

The humanitarian situation, including the delivery of basic services, remains challenging in Iraq, and the members underscored the importance of all persons internally displaced by conflict, including in areas liberated from ISIL. The need for economic reform, investment, and regional economic integration to better address the aspirations and concerns of the Iraqi people, was also noted.

Support for the UN Assistance Mission for IRAQ (UNAMI) mandate to support and assist the Government of Iraq to promote inclusive political dialogue; national, regional and community-level reconciliation and cooperation; and security and justice reform, was reaffirmed by the Security Council representatives. They also commended the Government of Iraq’s efforts, in association with local and regional authorities, to counter terrorism and encouraged them to further their coordination.

A UN investigative team set up to hold ISIL accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, must remain independent and impartial, ensure its Iraqi members benefit from international expertise on the team, and make every effort to share knowledge and technical assistance with Iraq, the members insisted.

They added that the team, UNITAD – the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL – must operate with full respect for the sovereignty of Iraq and its jurisdiction over crimes committed in its territory.

(Sources: UN, Iraq Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

On the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, UNICEF launches an online petition asking decision-makers to invest more in Iraqi children

This week, UNICEF Iraq launched its #Pledge4Children petition to kick off its celebration of the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child, or CRC.

The CRC is the most ratified human rights treaty in history and the most comprehensive set of rights for children. When world leaders came together, in a rare moment of international unity, to adopt the CRC, they committed themselves to fulfilling their obligations by ensuring that every child and adolescent is able to exercise his or her full rights.

The Government of Iraq signed up to the convention in June 1994.

“By ratifying the convention, Iraq committed itself to making sure every child is protected, educated, and able to lead a healthy and fulfilling life,” explained UNICEF Iraq Representative Hamida Lasseko.

Tremendous progress has been made since then, despite years of conflict and instability in the country. More, however, still needs to be done to ensure that children in Iraq are protected and have their full rights as enshrined in the CRC, including their right to education, play, freedom, and safety.

In order to do so, UNICEF Iraq is asking the Iraqi public to endorse its #Pledge4Children online asking decision-makers to reaffirm their commitment to children’s rights.

“We are calling on all of you to show your support for children and adolescents in Iraq. Every voice counts. We want you to add yours to our campaign by signing our petition and pledge for children today,” added Ms Lasseko.

The pledge calls for decision-makers to:

  • Increase public investments in quality health care, quality education, and safe water, so that every child and adolescent has a fair chance to reach his or her full potential
  • Listen to children and adolescents impacted by our policies and services and take their voices into consideration when formulating policies that impact their lives
  • Ensure that children are protected from all forms of violence and abuse

#Pledge4Children is part of UNICEF’s year-long run of activities, workshops and partnerships to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the CRC and raise awareness about children’s rights in Iraq.

Listen to Ms. Lasseko’s full message in this video & Sign the petition and #Pledge4Children to call on Iraqi leaders to commit to fulfilling the rights of every child in Iraq and invest more in children.

(Source: UN)

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)

By John Lee.

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq would like to highlight the role of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) as a key facilitator of stabilization and humanitarian efforts through the support of explosive hazard management and risk education activities in the retaken areas of Iraq.

More than two years after the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) retook areas previously under Da’esh control, the presence of explosive hazards continues to act as one of the primary inhibitors for the safe, dignified, and voluntary return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) back to their homes. The scale, density, and complexity of explosive hazards is unprecedented, making Iraq one of the most contaminated countries in the world.

Support from the United Kingdom through DFID has a significant impact on clearance efforts in the country, allowing for the continuation and expansion of UNMAS activities in the retaken areas of Iraq. In collaboration with its implementing partners and the Government of Iraq, UNMAS has coordinated a humanitarian response framework that tackles explosive hazard contamination through three different strategies: direct explosive hazard management through clearance measures, enhancement of government capacity through advanced trainings, and provision of risk education to vulnerable and displaced communities.

Risk education is a key activity supported by the United Kingdom since inception. Life-saving messages are delivered to affected communities via sessions mostly organized in IDP camps, schools and community centers. To extend the reach of risk education messages, creative tools such as the screening of TV clips, the printing of life-saving messages on taxis, date packages, water bottles and gloves as well as the use of virtual reality goggles have also recently been developed and used. These initiatives are essential to avoid accidents caused by explosive hazards.

British Chargé d’Affaires in Baghdad John Tucknott said:

The UK is the largest contributor to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Mine Action in Iraq. UK aid supports UNMAS in clearing explosive hazards, educating vulnerable communities on how to stay safe and helping to train Iraq’s National Demining Authority.

“It also supports search and clearance teams clearing important infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and roads, enabling Iraqis to safely return to their homes. We are particularly pleased that in Sinjar these teams are gender-balanced and include members belonging to different religions and ethnicities.

Pehr Lodhammar, Senior Programme Manager of UNMAS in Iraq:

Explosive hazards continue to have an adverse effect on afflicted communities in Iraq. Our primary mandate is to facilitate the safe and voluntary return of IDPs to their homes. We cannot do that when an estimated 70 per cent of explosive hazards still lie underneath the rubble.

“Risk education and the clearance of explosive hazards always come together. To avoid accidents, it is crucial to teach affected communities which behaviours to adopt when encountering explosive hazards.

(Source: United Nations)

In a resounding statement of support for the Government and people of Iraq in the country’s post-conflict recovery, the United Nations Security Council on 21 May 2019 extended the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) for another year, until 31 May 2020.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2470 (2019) under Chapter 6 of the Charter of the United Nations, the Council reaffirmed the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Iraq, emphasizing the importance of stability, prosperity, and security for the people of Iraq, the region, and the international community.

It also confirmed its continued support for Iraq in addressing the challenges it faces as it continues its post-conflict stabilization efforts and increasingly turns to the tasks of recovery, reconstruction and reconciliation. The Council also called on the international community to remain strongly committed to supporting Iraq’s humanitarian, stabilization, reconstruction, and development efforts.

The Council further decided, among other things, that the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq and UNAMI will continue to support the country’s Government and people in advancing inclusive political dialogue and national and community-level reconciliation, promoting accountability, as well as protecting human rights, judicial reform, the rule of law and women’s empowerment, and in facilitating regional dialogue and cooperation, including on issues of border security, energy, the environment, water, and refugees.

In the resolution, UNAMI was further tasked with promoting, supporting, and facilitating, in partnership with the Government of Iraq, the coordination and delivery of humanitarian assistance and the safe, orderly, and voluntary return or local integration, as appropriate, of refugees and displaced persons, including through the efforts of the UN Country Team.

The Mission was also called upon to promote, support and facilitate Iraqi and international efforts on economic reform, capacity-building and establishing conditions for recovery, reconstruction and sustainable development.

(Source: UN)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, inaugurated its new office In Sulaymaniya [Slemani] under the patronage of the First Lady of Iraq – Ms. Serbagh Saleh; and with the participation of the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Ms. Marta Ruedas; FAO Representative a.i. for Iraq Mr. René Verduijn; the Governor of Sulaymaniyah Dr. Hafal Abu Bakr; the Head of the Provincial Council Azad Mohammed Amin; and the Director General of Sulaymaniyah’s Directorate of Agriculture.

The meeting was addressed by the First Lady who thanked FAO for its leading and effective role in combating famine and securing food around the world and in Iraq. She also highlighted the importance of promoting bio-diversity in the region.

Also speaking at the ceremony, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Ms. Ruedas, said that, “the inauguration of the new FAO Office symbolizes the interest of the UN to support the people of Sulaymaniya in achieving long-term, sustainable development.”

“It also shows the importance of investing in the Agriculture and Water Sectors, but we should be reminded to also reduce the water pollution the sector generates,” she added.

On his part, the FAO Resident Representative, a.i., Mr. Verduijn, expressed his gratitude to the First Lady for her contribution to promoting bio-diversity, in particular her work as a co-founder of the Kurdistan Botanical Foundation that is committed to establish a gene/ seed bank in Sulaymaniya and her efforts as an activist in defense of women’s rights.

“FAO in Iraq is keen on promoting agriculture to help achieve economic growth, a stable society, food and nutrition security for all and improving bio-diversity. We feel strongly towards supporting Iraq in face of the numerous challenges it faces in terms of agriculture and water through promoting Good Agriculture Practices and improving smallholder farmers’ livelihoods”, said Mr. Verduijn.

The new office comes at a significant moment as the country moves away from emergency towards more development to provide structural support to the sub-sectors, and people’s livelihoods.

The new UN office is located within the Directorate of Agriculture in Sulaymaniyah. In April, FAO celebrated its 40th anniversary of the establishment of FAO in Iraq in 1979. Assistance has targeted a wide range of sub-sectors, including crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry, and has proved to be successful in supporting agricultural research and extension institutes over years of stability, sanctions and conflict. The inauguration of the new office is another landmark in the organization’s efforts to reinforce its technical programs for the benefit of the people of Iraq.

(Source: UN)

(Picture credit: Diyar Muhammed)

UN Women, Office of the President of the Republic of Iraq sign MoU to promote gender equality, empowerment of women

UN Women in Iraq and the Office of the President of the Republic of Iraq signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 15 April 2019 providing a framework of cooperation in areas of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The MoU, signed by UN Women Representative Dina Zorba and the Iraqi President’s Adviser for Gender and Civil Society, Ms. Khanim Latif, provides for cooperation in technical fields, research and advocacy.

UN Women and the Office of the President will cooperate in promoting enabling frameworks for the realisation of women’s rights as well as government-wide mainstreaming of gender equality and women’s empowerment. The MoU works also to promote sustainable institutional capacities to ensure Iraq’s alignment with its international human rights commitments.

In particular, the MoU seeks to ensure a gender-based response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with a focus on building the capacity of women representatives to perform their role in the political and decision-making spheres. Furthermore, it provides for harmonising policy approaches in the areas of national reconciliation, peace building, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction.

The MoU also aims to strengthen the database for women’s issues in order to inform and guide evidence-based advocacy. The effort includes enhancing the process of regularly producing gender statistics and cooperation in all stages of research, in addition to improving access to research findings and data by users, including women.

UN Women and the President’s Office will also collaborate in strengthening the momentum for the advancement of women’s agenda in Iraq through joint advocacy and outreach efforts. The two sides will work on informing and influencing the national discourse on the elimination of legislative, social and economic barriers for women’s realisation and recognition of their rights, including in the areas of women’s economic empowerment, participation in the decision-making process, ending gender-based violence and promoting women’s active participation in the political sphere.

In addition, the two sides will advocate for the establishment of a mechanism for women that is capable of coordinating the issues of women with the aim of ensuring the political, social, cultural and economic empowerment of women towards achieving gender equality. The signing ceremony was attended by Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Marta Ruedas and advisers to the Iraqi President.

(Source: UN)