UN Development Programme (UNDP)


UXO Clearance leads way to Normal Future

UNMAS Iraq ‘Clearance Mission’ Seen as ‘Tipping Point’ Between Past Conflict and a Normal Future

Lives and livelihoods in Iraq’s liberated areas are being restored at long last.

In Fallujah, as many as 1,800 vehicles and 100 pedestrians per hour can cross the re-opened ‘new bridge’ linking Baghdad with Al-Anbar Province. The fibre optic cable connecting more than 3,000 customers with Baghdad has been restored. The Jadidah fuel station, which had been closed for three years, now pumps an average of more than 31,000 litres for 300 vehicles per day.

In Mosul, the Al Qaysoor Water Treatment Plant has resumed providing clean and safe water to more than 300,000 customers across 34 service areas. The High Court can access deeds to validate land claims of residents returning to Ninewa Province. Valuable medical equipment, removed for safekeeping, awaits rehabilitation of a hospital in Mosul.

None of this progress would have been possible without infrastructure first being cleared of the explosive threats posed by debris of past conflicts and devices left by retreating ISIL forces, thus allowing the Government of Iraq, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the International Community to carry out the necessary rehabilitation work.

“We had almost lost all hope,” said Mr. Ali, manager of the Jadidah fuel station, speaking for its 20 employees. “We expected that the station would be blown up,” and it might well have been. United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)-directed teams safely removed 34 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) weighing a total of 435 kg from the station premises. “You (UNMAS) gave us our jobs back,” he said.

“We eliminate threats along roads, under bridges, from power and water plants, from schools, from critical infrastructure, so that those displaced by conflict can return to their homes, begin again to work, to educate their children, to contribute to society, to live a normal life,” said Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Senior Programme Manager, prior to the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq.

Lodhammar says conference outcomes will help UNMAS to set priorities working in collaboration with the Government and other agencies supporting Iraq’s reconstruction. All infrastructure is important, but the sequencing of clearance missions itself is complex and the UNMAS top priority, Lodhammar says. “What comes first on our list in turn affects all other rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts ‘downstream’,” he says. “So, we always begin with a joint-assessment to establish our priorities.”

He cites the current UNMAS work to clear Fallujah’s power grid serving two areas outside of the city. As of December 2017, UNMAS-directed teams had searched nearly 34 km² along power lines and cleared 580 explosive devices. When the UNMAS work finishes, repair crews can begin restoring power to as many as 60,000 people and seven schools.

UNMAS-directed partners working at the community level, village level, even the ‘well level’ make a difference on a daily basis, Lodhammar says.

In Al Bokald, villagers spoke of the ground as their enemy. “We could not walk for fear that something would explode in our faces,” said one. Today, with explosive devices cleared, 20 families again have access to a well and water for their own needs and to grow their crops.

The story confirms for Lodhammar the need, primacy and urgency of the clearance mission as shared by all agencies engaged in Iraq’s reconstruction. “We have to do our job, safely, quickly and well so others can do theirs.”

In 2018, the mine action sector requires 216 million USD to respond to the rehabilitation efforts of retaken areas and critical needs in access to basic and municipal services, education and health of returning civilians. In the Reconstruction and Development Framework (RDF) presented at the Kuwait Conference, the Government of Iraq will prioritize the clearance of explosive hazards to enable the reconstruction of Iraq and support of accountable governance, reconciliation and peace building, social and human development and economic development.

(Source: UNAMI)

US Ambassador, UNDP visit the Ninewa Plains

Ambassador Silliman and Lise Grande of UNDP Visit the Ninewa Plains

Ambassador of the United States to Iraq Douglas Silliman joined the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General and UNDP Resident Representative Lise Grande for a visit to several sites in the Ninewa Plains to highlight the U.S.-UN partnership in supporting the Iraqi government’s efforts to help its most vulnerable people return home following the liberation of their territory from ISIS.

During his visit to the historically Christian towns of Al Hamdaniya and Karamless, home to Syriac Catholic and Chaldean Catholic communities respectively, Ambassador Silliman reaffirmed the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting the UNDP Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS).

Since 2015, the United States has provided $190.3 million to the FFS, which includes a recent $75 million contribution, portions of which the United States has specifically set aside for projects in the Ninewa Plains.  The United States also pledged an additional $75 million contribution for 2018.

The U.S. government also plans to fund up to $39 million to non-governmental and private organizations to help stabilize ethnic and religious minority communities in the Ninewa Plains and western Ninewa, which will bring our total funding for stabilization activities up to $300 million.

Separately, the United States has contributed more than $1.7 billion in humanitarian assistance since 2014 for conflict-affected Iraqis who were displaced by the ISIS threat.

“We are committed to supporting UNDP stabilization projects like these until all displaced Iraqis can return to their liberated, stabilized areas,” said Ambassador Silliman at the reopening of the Al Hamdaniya Hospital, which was looted and vandalized during the ISIS occupation before its initial rehabilitation by UNDP.  The U.S. government recently approved $2.6 million to fund UNDP’s further rehabilitation of the hospital and the purchase of necessary medical equipment.  The Ambassador added, “As I look at this facility, I see it as a symbol of hope that more peaceful and prosperous days lie ahead for the people of this community.”

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq Lise Grande said, We are very grateful for the contribution of the U.S. government.  UNDP is currently implementing more than 1,000 projects across Ninewa Governorate.  Progress is tangible; electricity grids are starting to work, water systems are being repaired, schools are opening, health centers are functioning and people are getting back to work.  With continued support, we can accelerate this critical work and help bring hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis back home.”

The visit also included meetings with Syriac Catholic and Chaldean Catholic religious leaders and a tour of the Karamless primary health care center, another UNDP stabilization project that the United States will be partially funding.

The United States is committed to ensuring that its humanitarian assistance and stabilization funding is reaching Iraq’s most vulnerable communities, including the ethnic and religious minorities who suffered under ISIS occupation.  With support from the U.S. government and other international donors, the United Nations’ stabilization projects are helping displaced Iraqis from all backgrounds rebuild their homes and communities in the liberated areas.

(Source: U.S. Embassy in Iraq)

New Career Opportunities in Iraqi Kurdistan

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

Sweden helps Stabilize Newly Liberated Areas in Iraq

Sweden increases its support to stabilize newly liberated areas in Iraq

The Government of Sweden has contributed an additional US$ 12 million (SEK 100 million) to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), which finances initiatives for rapid stabilization of areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

This brings Sweden’s total contribution since 2015 to US$ 26 million (SEK 212.1 million).

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

Enormous progress is being made in the areas that have been newly liberated. It’s wonderful to see people choosing to go home and start rebuilding their lives and communities. At this stage in Iraq, nothing is more important.

“The scale of destruction and damage cannot be underestimated, however, particularly in Mosul, and this is why this generous contribution from Sweden comes at exactly the right time.”

H.E. Pontus Melander, the Ambassador of Sweden to Iraq, said:

Sweden is firmly committed to supporting the Government of Iraq’s efforts of providing essential services that benefit all Iraqis in the newly liberated areas.

“UNDPs Funding Facility for Stabilization is indeed a crucial component to ensure the military effort against ISIL. It is our sincere hope that stabilization will lay the foundation for a more peaceful and inclusive society. Beyond and in addition to stabilization, Iraq will remain a prioritised country for Swedish Development Cooperation.”

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the emergence of violent extremism.

The Facility currently has more than 1,600 projects underway in 23 liberated cities and districts, helping local authorities to quickly rehabilitate essential infrastructure. More than 95 percent of all stabilization projects are done by the local private sector employing local labour.

(Source: UNDP)

Denmark Contributes $21.4m for Stabilization in Iraq

Denmark has contributed an additional US$ 21.4 million (DKK 135 million) to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), which finances fast-track initiatives to stabilize areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

This brings Denmark’s total contribution since 2015 to US$ 38.1 million (DKK 246 million).

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

“It is truly impressive to see the progress that is being made in newly liberated areas. More than half of all of the nearly six million people who fled their homes during the conflict have returned. Accelerating stabilization so the 2.6 million people who are still displaced can go home and rebuild their lives is one of Iraq’s highest priorities.”

The Danish Ambassador to Iraq, H.E. Gert Meinecke, said:

Denmark congratulates the Iraqi people and the Iraqi Security Forces on the continued success in liberating Iraq from ISIL, with support from the International Coalition. Rehabilitation of critical infrastructure and reestablishing public services remain critical to enable the return of people displaced by the conflict.

“This additional contribution to the Funding Facility for Stabilization, together with our funding for mine action and our support to strengthen the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces, demonstrates Denmark’s continued commitment to support stability in Iraq.

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence and extremism.

The Facility currently has more than 1,600 projects underway in 23 liberated cities and districts, helping local authorities to quickly rehabilitate essential infrastructure. More than 95 percent of all stabilization projects are done by the local private sector employing local labour.

(Source: UNDP)

EU contributes $59m for Iraq Stabilization

The European Union has contributed an additional US$ 58.96 million (EUR 50 million) to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), which finances fast-track initiatives to stabilize areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

This brings the European Union’s total contribution since 2015 to US$ 73.8 million (EUR 64 million).

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

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

“The tasks facing Iraq are enormous. Stabilizing newly liberated areas so people can return home is at the very top of the list of the country’s urgent priorities. We very grateful to the European Union for this very generous contributionit comes at exactly the right time.”

European Union Ambassador to Iraq, H.E. Ramon Blecua said:

The EU continues its support in stabilising the liberated areas by improving the political, humanitarian, security and development dimension. This is a pre-condition for reconciliation, for the return of the many internally displaced who are eager to come back and for the longer-term stability in Iraq.

“This package will finance fast-track initiatives and at the same time strengthen the Government’s strategic coordination mechanisms so as to ensure a common approach to clearance of explosive hazards. At this critical juncture, it illustrates very well that EU – a key partner – stands at the side of the Iraqi people and authorities who have shown courage and resilience in their fight against Da’esh.

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence and extremism.

The Facility currently has more than 1,600 projects underway in 23 liberated cities and districts, helping local authorities to quickly rehabilitate essential infrastructure. More than 95 percent of all stabilization projects are done by the local private sector employing local labour.

(Source: UNDP)

UK brings UNMAS Contribution to $20m

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)

US contributes $80m for Stabilization in Iraq

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has contributed an additional US$ 80.85 million to The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

US$ 75 million will go to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), with the remaining US$ 5.85 million committed to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Economic Reform (FFER). This brings the total United States contribution to UNDP to US$ 198.65 million since 2015.

UNDP’s FFS finances fast-track initiatives to stabilize areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to safeguard against the resurgence of violence and extremism, facilitate returns and lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery.

Through the FFER, UNDP helps the Government of Iraq to address key economic challenges and accelerate efforts to diversify the economy, increase national income and improve the management of national assets.

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

The progress that is being made is tangible—you can see it everywhere in newly liberated areas. Electricity grids are starting to work, water systems are being repaired, schools are opening, health centres are functioning and people are getting back to work.

“More than half of the nearly six million people who fled their homes during the conflict have returned to their communities and started rebuilding their lives. There’s no question that a huge amount still needs to be done, most importantly in Mosul and the Nineveh Plains, and this is why this very generous contribution is so important for Iraq.

The United States’ Ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman stressed that the USA’s commitment to the Iraqi people did not end with the eradication of ISIS. “Communities in the liberated areas now face the daunting challenge of rebuilding their lives and restoring their cultural heritage. These funds will help restore basic services like water and electricity so that Iraqi families of all ethnic and religious backgrounds can return to their homes – safely, voluntarily, and with dignity,” said Ambassador Silliman.

Established in June 2015, FFS is working in newly liberated areas in Anbar, Salah al-Din, Nineveh and Diyala Governorates in order to safeguard against the emergence of violent extremism, facilitate returns and lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery.

Two-thirds of the more than 1,600 projects currently underway are in Nineveh Governorate including 500 in Mosul and 280 throughout the Nineveh Plains.  Established in September 2016, FFER is mobilizing expertise to support the implementation of top priority reform initiatives under the leadership of the Office of the Prime Minister.

(Source: UNDP)

New Career Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

US Helps Meet the Needs of Minorities in Iraq

Continued U.S. Assistance to Better Meet the Needs of Minorities in Iraq

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have agreed to increase assistance to Iraqis, particularly religious and ethnic minorities, to enable them to return to their homes in areas liberated from ISIS.

Following Vice President Pence’s remarks in October of last year, USAID renegotiated the terms of its agreement to contribute to the UNDP Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) so that $55 million of a $75 million payment will address the needs of vulnerable religious and ethnic minority communities in Ninewa Province, especially those who have been victims of atrocities by ISIS.

The modified agreement ensures that the U.S. contribution will help the populations of liberated areas in Ninewa Province resume normal lives by restoring services such as water, electricity, sewage, health, and education.

The $75 million contribution is the first tranche of the $150 million announced for the FFS by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman in July 2017; fulfillment of the rest of that pledge will depend on UNDP’s success in putting in place additional accountability, transparency, and due-diligence measures for the FFS.

USAID is also proceeding with a process called a Broad Agency Announcement to solicit innovative ideas that support the resettlement of ethnic and religious minorities in their ancestral homes in Iraq. The results of that competition will be available by early Spring.

(Source: UN)