Germany’s New EUR 10m Contribution to Iraq

New €10m contribution from Germany expands UNDP Iraq's Coronavirus response into 15 governorates

German Government's KfW Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Government of Iraq, have today signed a EUR 10 million agreement (US$11.75 million) to support Iraq's response to COVID-19.

The contribution was made by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with financing provided through KfW. Over the past five years the German Government has been a continuous supporter of UNDP activities in Iraq and committed so far more than EUR 300 million through KfW Development Bank for this purpose.

The German Government also supports Iraq in its efforts to address the immediate and medium-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and has set up an emergency window under which funds are provided, including this contribution to UNDP.

This contribution allows UNDP to extend its COVID-19 response measures into 15 governorates. It makes Germany the tenth partner to contribute to UNDP's COVID-19 response, taking the total raised to approximately $38.9 million.

Measures under UNDP Iraq's response include increasing the testing capacity of laboratories, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, building isolation units for infected patients and undertaking assessments to drive post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.

"The spread of COVID-19 is still taking its toll on Iraqi communities across the country. Thanks to Germany's generous contribution, we can continue boosting Iraq's health infrastructure by constructing an extra three isolation wards in addition to the 13 that have either been completed or are underway," says Resident Representatives of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

H. E. the German Ambassador, Dr. Ole Diehl, especially emphasizes the multi-faceted approach of UNDP's COVID-19 response measure. "COVID-19 is a catastrophe, not only insofar as it destroys human health and lives. It also causes people to lose their jobs, enterprises to lose their revenue and families to literally lose the food on their table. These possible outcomes of COVID-19 require a strong and differentiated response mirrored in this program. Germany continues to support Iraq in its fight against COVID-19. This is why we have launched an extensive global COVID-19 emergency program, under which also a sizeable COVID-19 response window is allocated for Iraq. This pandemic can only be contained with the collective effort of the international community and Germany will play its part."

"Germany is one of UNDP Iraq's largest contributors, and we are extremely grateful for their strong and continued support, particularly during the pandemic," adds Ms Ali Ahmad.

KfW Development Bank and UNDP enjoy a strong cooperation over the years. "On behalf of the German Government, we are very pleased to further extend our cooperation with UNDP and assist Iraq in its efforts to address the current challenges arising through COVID-19," says Director of KfW Office Iraq, Dr. Anna Janke.

The contribution will be channelled through UNDP Iraq's Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS).

Germany joins Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, and USAID as key partners supporting UNDP Iraq's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which supports medical facilities in Anbar, Babil, Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Diyala, Duhok, Erbil, Karbala, Kirkuk, Maysan, Muthana, Najaf, Ninewa and Salah Al Din.

(Source: UN)

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COVID-19’s impact on Social Cohesion in Iraq

COVID-19's impact on Social Cohesion in Iraq cannot be ignored in recovery efforts: New report

The impact of COVID-19 on social cohesion in Iraq represents yet another challenge faced by communities across the country and must be addressed to ensure Iraq's full recovery from the pandemic, according to a new report released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The policy paper is the third in a series released by UNDP Iraq on the impact of COVID-19 in Iraq. Building on the first two reports, the Impact of COVID-19 and the Oil Crisis on Iraq's Fragility, and the Impact of COVID-19 on the Iraqi Economy

The Impact of COVID-19 on Social Cohesion in Iraq notes COVID-19's exacerbation of existing and sometimes deeply rooted political, economic, social and security challenges, highlighting its resulting impact on the country's diverse social fabric.

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

"Social cohesion is critical to achieving our central objective of leaving no one behind.

"While the Iraqi Government is wholly committed to improving social cohesion in Iraq, the challenges remain significant, with COVID-19 adding to already complex social dynamics in and between communities.

"Scaling-up confidence-building measures, while tackling the pandemic, remains an enormous challenge, and this report makes policy recommendations to help the Government and other stakeholders effectively plan for Iraq's recovery. Strengthening the social contract between citizens and the State should be the baseline for Iraq's recovery, and UNDP Iraq stands ready to support this effort."

Additional thematic policy papers will be released in the coming months focusing on the implications of the pandemic on social protection, environmental sustainability and the socioeconomic fallout on vulnerable households.

UNDP Iraq is grateful to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Iraq for its collaboration on The Impact of COVID-19 on Social Cohesion in Iraq.

Read the paper here.

(Source: UNDP)

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Calls for Expression of Interest: Training on GBV Reporting

Calls for expression of interest: training on GBV reporting during health crises

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Iraq will conduct in collaboration with UNFPA Syria Hub a training session for Arab-speaking journalists in Iraq on GBV reporting during health crises: COVID-19.

This training aims to provide participants with advanced skills in covering gender-based violence in light of the Covid-19 pandemic in Iraq and emphasise the role of the media in highlighting cases by producing good quality reports based on ethical standards.

The programme targets 25 journalists from all Iraqi provinces through the implementation of four online training workshops. Each session lasts one hour twice a week every Monday and Wednesday from 26 November until 10 December through the Zoom.

After the training, each participant will be required to prepare a report/story on gender-based violence in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who can apply?

  1. The journalist should have experience in covering cases of violence
  2. The journalist should be able to speak and write in Arabic
  3. The journalist should present samples of previous journalistic work (links to press materials in the same field are preferred)
  4. The journalist should be committed to cover stories of GBV cases according to the standards delivered during the training
  5. The journalist should have a stable internet connection
  6. The journalist should be able to work full time during training days

How to apply?

FILL OUT THE FORM

Deadline:

Sunday 15 November 2020

(Source: UN)

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Achieving SDGs to Recover from COVID in Iraq

Conference highlights importance of achieving SDGs to recover from COVID-19 pandemic

The challenges and opportunities of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the context of COVID-19 was the focus of a two-day conference organized by the Ministry of Planning in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq.

Held on the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the SDGs, the conference provided an opportunity for  dialogue among development partners from ministries, civil society organizations, universities, the private sector, and youth groups to work together, exchange ideas, and identify opportunities for Iraq to progress on the ambitious SDG agenda.

Globally, COVID-19 has caused a crisis with far reaching impact on economic and human development. Iraq Is not an exception, and the country has been impacted by the 'dual crisis' of COVID-19 and the decline in oil prices.

These shocks are more likely to have a more severe effect on marginalized groups, including women, the elderly, people with disabilities, minorities, displaced people, and people living in informal settlements. This makes it imperative to remember what the 2030 Agenda called for, to leave no one behind.

With only ten years remaining to achieve the ambitious agenda, the SDGs are more important today than ever before as they aim to transform systems that undermine well-being and perpetuate vulnerabilities.

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

"The past few months have given us an opportunity, in partnership with the esteemed Ministry of Planning and our partners in other sectors, to rethink what a 'new normal' would look like post the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We should collectively work hard to support the achievement of the SDGs in Iraq and prevent any regression in the development gains that have been achieved over the past years."

(Source: UN)

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New COVID-19 Isolation Ward opens in Dohuk

Newly-constructed COVID-19 Isolation Ward opens in Dohuk

A 20-bed Isolation Ward designed to handle the most severe COVID-19 patients has been officially opened by the Governor of Dohuk in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq.

Constructed by UNDP and funded by USAID, the Isolation Ward sits adjacent to Dohuk's Burns and Plastic Surgery Hospital and will serve a catchment area of 325,000 residents from Duhok, Akre, Semel, Zakho, Shekhan, Amedi and Bardarash districts. It includes life-saving medical equipment, most of which was also funded by USAID.

The facility is one of 13 isolation wards currently being established across the country by UNDP to support the Government of Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government's efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Other measures under UNDP's response package include increasing the testing capacity of laboratories, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers and undertaking assessments to establish post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.

"The new isolation Ward is critical for Dohuk, which continues to host a high number of people displaced from the ISIL conflict, as well as Syrian refugees. This facility will help alleviate pressure on nearby health centers, providing quality care for infected patients and a purpose-built environment for frontline workers," says Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

"This facility could not have been established without the generous funding from one of our key partners, USAID, so we are extremely grateful for their continuous support," adds Ms Ali Ahmad.

"The United States is proud to continue helping communities through building facilities like this one. We will continue to work with the KRG as we face this pandemic, and we will all come through this together," says U.S. Consul General Rob Waller.

In future, the Isolation Ward can be repurposed to treat patients with airborne infections and respiratory illnesses. The equipment can also be used to enhance the capacity of ICUs to provide intensive respiratory care.

(Source: UNDP)

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Iraq “Too Broken to Protect itself from Covid-19”

From The Economist.

Iraq is too broken to protect itself from covid-19

Most Arab regimes have dealt with covid-19 by tightening their grip. Not Iraq. It gave up on lockdowns long ago.

The government seems powerless to enforce social distancing or the wearings of masks (some men see the coverings as an insult to their virility).

Read the full article here (subscription needed).

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Iraq discusses sourcing Covid Vaccine with AstraZeneca

By John Lee.

The Ambassador of Republic of Iraq in London, Mr. Muhammad Jaafar Al-Sadr, chaired a meeting with representatives of the British pharmaceutical group, AstraZeneca, which is a leading company in Coronavirus vaccine in cooperation with the University of Oxford in Britain, through video conference.

The meeting discussed the possibility of Iraq obtaining adequate doses of the vaccine produced by the company that are being developed, in addition to the possibility of the early launch of the vaccine.

During the meeting, the Ambassador thanked the group for the efforts made by the company to produce the vaccine, which would be a scientific achievement to protect humanity from the risks of infection with the Coronavirus, stressing Iraq's desire to obtain the vaccine after its production.

While the company has expressed its readiness to supply Iraq with the vaccine after the last experimental stages which will be ready by the end of this year, especially after making sure of its safety, effectiveness and compliance with international health standards. The company is conducting clinical trials of the vaccine in several regions of the world, including the United States, Russia and a number of Latin American countries.

This meeting comes within a series of meetings held by the embassy with the company and other pharmaceutical companies in order to ensure that Iraq receives the vaccine in the start of its production.

(Source: Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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Iraq Bans Foreign Arbaeen Pilgrims over COVID-19 Fears

By John Lee.

Iraq's Higher Committee for Health and National Safety has decided to "ban the entry into Iraq of visitors  from all countries". The move is an attempt to combat the coronavirus (Covid-19).

This will create problems for religious pilgrims hoping to attend the Shi'ite Muslim gathering of Arbaeen, held in early October, which would normally bring millions of people to the holy city of Kerbala.

According to Iran's Tasnim news agency, Iraq's Ambassador to Iran, Nasir Abdul Muhsin, confirmed that no foreign pilgrim will be permitted to visit Iraq for this year's mourning rituals marking Arbaeen.

(Sources: Govt of Iraq, Tasnim)

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UNICEF aims to Train 30,000 Healthcare Workers

UNICEF aims to train 30,000 primary health care workers in Iraq in efforts to prevent and control Covid-19 infection

With numbers soaring since early June, as of the end of August Iraq has confirmed 231,177 cases of COVID-19 and 6959 deaths.

To stem the tide against the pandemic, UNICEF is supporting the training of an estimated 30,000 health care providers at the primary care level, with the aim of disseminating key information about COVID-19 infection, prevention and control, with a special focus on preventing infection among health providers.

Iraq is using a cascade approach for this massive exercise, with online training of 132 national officials from the Ministry of Health over four days in July, and over 580 personnel from the Primary Health Care departments at governorate- and district-level last week.

These subnational personnel will proceed to train primary care staff in person in coming weeks, thereby ensuring that their newly acquired knowledge is shared widely with other frontline health workers.

"Frontline health workers are the unsung heroes in Iraq's fight against COVID-19. Day after day, they continue to show up and provide critical services to those most in need, risking their lives," said Paula Bulancea, UNICEF's Deputy Representative in Iraq.

"This training will build on UNICEF's ongoing support to health workers and vulnerable communities in Iraq as we work together and with all of our partners in government, the World Health Organization, and in non-government organizations, to control this deadly virus," Dr. Bulancea added.

The cascade training will cover the needs of health workers providing immunization, maternal and neonatal care and nutrition services. It will also focus on water and sanitation in the primary health care setting in the context of COVID19.

"Simple acts such as washing your hands after seeing every patient, ensuring that you maintain social distancing with caregivers when vaccinating a child, and wearing a mask at all times will go a long way in ensuring that the safety of healthcare workers isn't compromised on the job," remarked Dr. Bulancea.

In addition to training health workers, UNICEF has:

  • Reached over 14 million people with risk communication and awareness in online and off-line awareness raising campaigns.
  • Distributed approximately 11,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) to front line health workers in the most affected governorates.
  • Partnered with the University of Karbala to produce 14,500 bottles of locally made hand sanitizers and 10,000 large bottles of disinfectants to disinfect surfaces, in partnership with the Karbala
  • Directorate of Health. These products were distributed in healthcare centers in Karbala and Baghdad.
  • Launched a satellite TV education channel to support 1.5 million learners in Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

(Source: UN)

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Iraqi Govt needs more Female Voices to Fight the Pandemic

By Hanar Marouf, for the Atlantic Council. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq's government needs more female voices to fight the pandemic

Iraq is in a precarious condition. It has faced major challenges on multiple fronts, including political instability, a drop in oil prices, and the economic fallout amid the coronavirus outbreak.

While the government deliberates protection measures, the capacity of hospitals and staff remain limited.

The rampant spread of the virus, with an average of 3,000 daily infections, has only been exacerbated by a lack of concrete emergency plans. Up to mid-August, Iraq had 150,000 cases and 5,400 deaths.

Click here to read the full story.