South Korea


UNDP supports Commission of Integrity to Fight Corruption

UNDP support to the Commission of Integrity to fight corruption

A technical study visit is currently being organized in Korea by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from UNDP Seoul Policy Centre (USPC) for a high-ranking delegation from the Iraqi Integrity commission, to benefit from the Korea’s innovative, well tested-and-proven policy tools to compact corruption.

This activity is part of a larger UNDP led programme to support the Iraqi government in its efforts to fight corruption, that is framed by the MoU signed between UNDP and the Iraqi government in 2016.

This visit also comes under the framework of the recently signed MoU between the Iraqi Integrity commission CoI and Korea Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC). The aim of the visit is to equip the Iraqi Commission of Integrity with the technical knowledge and insight on the implementation of Korea’s policy tools especially the Anti-Corruption Initiative Assessment (AIA), implemented in Korea since 2002 for effective monitoring and implementation of anti-corruption measures in public institutions.

The AIA will be customized to the Iraqi context to implement a National Corruption Index.

The inaugural session was chaired by the Standing Commissioner of the ACRC Mr. Hyeon Kim, who said:

“Iraq is the first Arab State who signed an MoU with Korea, and also the first country from the Arab region who would like to benefit from the Korea’s experience and the innovative policies and tools that have been in place and tremendously, helped in improving the corruption prevention measures in the public sector.”

The head of Iraqi Delegation expressed the eagerness to actualize the MoU signed between the CoI and ACRC in last April. This study visit is the kick off of a long-term collaboration and knowledge sharing between the two entities and a significant milestone towards building an effective partnership that is supported by joint efforts by the UNDP Iraq and the Seoul Centre to reinforce the Iraqi government’s efforts in fighting corruption.

(Source: UNDP)

New Power Plant inaugurated in Sulaymaniyah

Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani inaugurated a new power station in Sulaymaniyah.

In a speech during the ceremony, Prime Minister Barzani thanked South Korea for helping build the plant, which generates 400 KV electric power.   He also said that despite major challenges, the KRG has taken serious steps ahead, and it allocated significant resources to the electricity sector.

Below is the transcript of Prime Minister Barzani’s speech:

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning.  I welcome you all to the grand opening ceremony of the 400 KV power plant in Bazian. I congratulate everyone on successfully finishing this important project, and I hope this project will contribute to solving the electricity issue in the area and in the Kurdistan Region in general.

I commend the Ministry of Electricity, the Korean National Oil Company (KNOC), the project implementer Posco from South Korea, the Ministry of Natural resources and all others involved in delivering this project after facing many obstacles and issues such as the fight against terror and the financial crisis. Although it has taken a long time, the project was finally finished and started operating.

I would like to especially thank the local community here and those respected individuals who some of them are present here today. They have played an important role in resolving many issues related to social issues or land ownership disputes or compensation issues. I again applaud them for their efforts, and I welcome them again.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This project is part of a wider strategic plan set out by the KRG for the electricity sector. However, similar to other projects, it has been delayed due to the war against the terror and financial crisis. It is true that the war and the financial crisis have adversely affected all aspects of life, but the KRG, with the support of its loyal citizens and friends of Kurdistan Region, has always striven to overcome the problems and the crises by implementing the projects to its best capacity even during the hardships.

Yes, I agree that there is a problem in the electricity sector. There has been the inability for the projects and plans to be implemented adequately. And, a there has been an exponential increase in demand on electricity and other public services due to urban development of the cities and towns, constant building of mega constructions such as malls, industrial areas and the renovation of the villages. And an imposed war was among other reasons that KRG could not implement its plans and projects as it should have.

Despite all that, the KRG made serious steps ahead, and it allocated significant resources to the electricity sector. Meanwhile, it encouraged private investors to initiate large projects for that sector in Erbil, Sulemani, Duhok, Halabja and other areas.

And now, enforced by the perseverance of our patient people and the heroic sacrifices of our valiant Peshmergas, we have vanquished the plans of our foes. The hard days are passing. The KRG, with all its capacity, will make steps ahead on all fronts, and it will, again, resume the projects. For the electricity sector too, we are in need of small and large steps, and this project is one of those steps. It is an attempt to reduce the issues of electricity.

Besides those attempts by the KRG to better the electricity, as previously announced that the KRG is going ahead with the implementation of Smart-Meters for electricity. This new system will have a major role in reorganizing the electricity distribution process; therefore, it would translate into providing more electricity to the public.

In addition, this system will help in changing a bad cultural habit of over-consumption of electricity and tampering with it. Instead, it will help create a new and good habit. The habit of energy conservation and reducing the consumption of electricity is very necessary for the Kurdistan Region. This system will encourage everyone to use only the amount of electricity that is needed and when needed.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This project in Bazian benefits the national grid, but it also has a special benefit to the area, which is an industrial area, as industrial projects can benefit from it. As planned by the KRG, I hope to see more projects in other sectors to be implemented in this area.
Bazian and its surrounding area with its patient and forbearing people have a history full of pride, and they undoubtedly deserve more projects and better services. The KRG will diligently continue in pursuing its mission of equally reconstructing every part of Kurdistan without distinction. It will equally provision services and implement projects in all areas.

The KRG has never made distinctions between two different areas or between cities. Because of political competitions and rivalries, some people have irresponsibly resorted to creating a false image of KRG for being unequal to different areas of the Kurdistan Region. There are some people are ready to do anything just to make people lose trust and faith in their own government.  They continuously work on disseminating the culture of rejection of everything.

They do this for only one reason because they are not in power and they have not been able to win the trust of people. This is a very damaging phenomenon, because the nation, the government, and institutions belong to the people of Kurdistan, but not any political party or any other faction. It is correct that there are shortages and problems, but not everything in this country is negative.

The people of Kurdistan are very aware and mindful than to listen to those dark pessimistic voices. It was because of the strong awareness of the people of Kurdistan, we were able to surpass all those recent years of hardship and crises. It was because of the loyalty and deep understanding of the people of Kurdistan for the situation, we were able to withstand all the problems, the war, and the crises, as they never lost faith and trust.

Here, I would like to express the utmost gratitude and reverence of the government to the people of Kurdistan and those who are on the payroll of the KRG. They have demonstrated their faithfulness to their nation, and they showed their maximum understanding of the serious situation and the threats that were engulfing the Kurdistan Region.
I would like to applaud the courageous Peshmergas, security forces and volunteers, who fought with soul and blood in defending what is achieved so far. I salute our fallen heroes. Our heartfelt condolences to the martyr’s family members and their relatives.

Dear fellow citizens of Kurdistan,

The interests of the Kurdistan Region and protecting its accomplishments requires us to be united. It is normal for the political parties to be competitive with each other. But for the public interest, for attaining the constitutional rights for the Kurdistan Region and in critical matters, we need to be together and unified.

I, again, call upon all factions in the Kurdistan Region to put aside their political discords, and go to Baghdad as one team, formed on the basis of the interests of the people of Kurdistan.

In conclusion, I congratulate all who participated in succeeding in this project. I wish for us to meet again in ceremonies similar to this project in this area and all other areas in the Kurdistan Region.
Thank you all.

(Source: KRG)

Iraq Plans to take over Mansuriyah Gas Field

By John Lee.

Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] (pictured) as ordered Iraq’s state-owned oil companies to devise an urgent plan to develop the Mansuriyah (Mansouriya) gas field, following what he described as the delay and the failure of foreign companies to start developing the field.

The field, in Diyala province, was awarded in the third licensing round in 2010 to a consortium of international oil companies consisting of: Turkey’s TPAO (37.5%), Iraq’s Oil Exploration Company (25%), Kuwait Energy (KEC) (22.5%), and the Korean Gas Corporation (Kogas) (15%).

It holds around 127 billion cubic metres of gas. They committed to produce 320 million standard cubic feet of gas a day for $7 per barrel of oil equivalent produced, the maximum the government would agree to pay.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

Hanwha receives $230m Payment for Bismaya

By John Lee.

South Korea’s Hanwha Engineering and Construction (E&C) has said it haws received an additional payment of $230 million from the Iraqi government for work carried out in the first half of this year on the Bismayah New City project in Baghdad.

According to the report from Business Korea, the total contract is valued at $10.1 billion, of which Hanwha has so far received a total of $3.47 billion.

The project will see around 100,000 homes built near the capital.

(Source: Business Korea)

Iraq may build Oil Storage in Japan, South Korea

By John Lee.

Reuters reports that Iraq is studying the possibility of building crude oil storage facilities in South Korea and Japan.

Alaa al-Yasiri, head of the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO), said the move is part of a plan to increase sales to Asian clients:

“SOMO’s new strategy is to form trade arms in Asian markets to maximize profits and boost crude shipments to Asian markets.”

More here from Reuters.

(Source: Reuters)

Hanwha briefs PM on Progress at Bismaya Housing Complex

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi has received a delegation from Korean company Hanwha, headed by its President and CEO, Choi Kwang-ho.

During the meeting, they discussed the progress at the Basmaya housing complex near Baghdad, with the Prime Minister stressing the importance of securing the road link between the residential complex and the center of Baghdad.

He heard a detailed explanation by company representatives about the completion plan for the coming years, emphasizing the quality of housing units and the necessary services, including maintaining the cleanliness of the environment and spaces within the complex.

He also has called for a meeting between the company and Iraqi banks to reach suitable formulas to secure the marketing of the units under appropriate lending conditions.

Hanwha is currently building 100,000 homes at the project, which are due for completion by 2019.

(Source:  Office of the Prime Minister)

Modernization of Public Administration “is KRG priority”

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani inaugurated the new building of Kurdistan Institute of Public Administration (KIPA) on Tuesday.

In a speech, Prime Minister Barzani stated, he hopes that KIPA “will continue to work diligently to provide the much needed services of building the capacities of Kurdistan Regional Government’s civil servants.”

Below is the transcript of Mr. Barzani’s speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Morning.  I would like to welcome you all to this ceremony of inaugurating the new building of Kurdistan Institute of Public Administration (KIPA). I would like to specially welcome the Republic of Korea’s Ambassador to Iraq Mr. Song Wong-Yeob, Korean Consul General in the Kurdistan Region and the Head of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Baghdad. I especially welcome Professor Park who came from Seoul specifically to this occasion and I welcome you all again.

Today, human resources’ development is important for change and progress in all sectors and major fields, especially in the fields of governance and administration. Capacity building and Development is key to the development of Administrative, economic, social and cultural sectors.

Competency and capacity are very important for human resources. One of the main pillars of human resources’ development is training. That is equipping the staff member with up-to-date information and more knowledge about their field of work. Information and knowledge get updated continuously. In order to enable the KRG institutions and their staff to cope with the progress in all fields, especially good governance, the KRG should make training and capacity building part of its human resources development strategy.

Therefore, all technical, material and moral necessities should be made available for this purpose and all parties and individuals should be urged to adhere to implement the directives and instructions related to capacity building and training. And this is, again, for the purpose of developing the civil service in administrative, technical and theoretical areas based on modern principles.

KOGAS Recoups Investment in Zubair

By John Lee.

The state-owned Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) has said that it has recouped its $2.49 billion investment in the Zubair oil field in southern Iraq.

According to a report from Yonhap, the company has recovered $2.53 million as of December, which exceeds its initial outlay.

The oilfield is currently producing around 360,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

The project primarily involves the drilling of more than 200 wells, the construction of treatment and storage facilities and refurbishment of the existing facilities.

(Source: Yonhap)

South Korea Provides Food for Syrian Refugees in Iraq

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a contribution of US$1.5 million from the Republic of Korea that will provide food assistance for some 30,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for two months.

Song Woong-Yeob (pictured), Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Iraq, said:

In the aftermath of conflict, the Republic of Korea was once a recipient of food assistance, including from WFP.

“We have now become donors and maintain a strong partnership with WFP in over 30 countries. We sincerely hope this contribution will provide much needed relief to Syrian refugees and their families in Iraq.

This contribution will allow WFP to provide food assistance to Syrian families that have sought refuge in Iraq. Through electronic food cards that WFP provides to vulnerable people in Iraq, each family member will receive US$19 per month to purchase the food they prefer from local shops.

In addition to allowing for greater choice in their diets, this programme injects cash into the local economy, which benefits shops and producers with increased demand for their products.

Sally Haydock, WFP Representative in Iraq, said:

“Thanks to this generous and timely donation from the Republic of Korea, WFP will continue to address the underlying causes of vulnerability for Syrian refugees in Iraq, increase families’ self-reliance and reduce the need for international assistance in the future.”

Since 2014, the Republic of Korea has provided US$4.8 million in support of WFP food assistance for Syrian refugees in Iraq.

(Source: WFP)

Korea’s Support is Helping Iraqi Returnees

The Government of the Republic of Korea and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a partnership agreement today for US$4 million to support stabilization and recovery in newly liberated areas in Iraq.

Korea’s contribution will be channeled through UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), which finances fast-track initiatives in areas retaken from ISIL. This is Korea’s fourth contribution since 2015 to FFS.

Based on priorities identified by the Government of Iraq and local authorities, FFS helps quickly repair public infrastructure, provides grants to small businesses, boosts the capacity of local government, and provides short-term employment through public works schemes.

During a signing ceremony held in Baghdad, UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

“Stabilizing Mosul is the biggest stabilization challenge we have faced. There are 366 stabilization projects already underway in the city, but so much more needs to be done. This generous contribution from the Republic of Korea will help us accelerate our work in western Mosul. The level of destruction in this part of the city is the worst in the country.”

H.E. the Korean Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Song Woong-Yeob, said,

“The Republic of Korea is deeply committed to supporting efforts of the Iraqi Government and the international community to stabilize areas affected by the violence of ISIL. I firmly believe that our fourth contribution will further help the efforts by imbuing affected Iraqis with hope and empowering them to recover and start the process of rebuilding their communities.”

UNDP’s Funding Facility is implementing over 1,200 initiatives in newly liberated areas of Anbar, Salah al-Din, Ninewah, and Diyala.

(Source: UNDP in Iraq)