Addressing Iraq’s Fragility crucial to Recovery from COVID

Addressing Iraq's fragility crucial to recovery from COVID-19 pandemic

Failure to address Iraq's multi-faceted fragility could lead to an increase in extreme poverty across the country, according to a new report released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq.

Impact of the Oil Crisis and Covid-19 on Iraq's Fragility explores the major dimensions of fragility - economic, environmental, political, societal, and security - and their impact on Iraq in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic and resulting oil crisis.

The paper is the first in a series of policy papers that UNDP will issue on the impact of COVID-19 on Iraq. It provides key recommendations to support the Government of Iraq, local development actors and the international community develop strategies that enable Iraq to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic.

"In fragile countries, social safety nets are weak and insufficiently address the basics needs of the most vulnerable groups in society. This ultimately results in deeper social inequalities," says Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

"For Iraq, decades of conflict have hampered the country's stability and stunted its prosperity. The onset of COVID-19 and the oil crisis exacerbated existing fragilities in the country.

"The different dimensions of fragility explored in this report emphasise that Iraq's fragility is not a result of one single event; it involves a number of intricate factors that have collectively impacted every aspect of the country's development, and these must be closely considered when charting the path to Iraq's recover from the pandemic.

"Tackling Iraq's fragility by addressing these main drivers is critical to achieving Agenda 2030 and getting Iraq back on a prosperous and tangible development trajectory. We hope this policy paper is a useful tool for partners to shape effective policies for post-COVID-19 recovery in the country," she adds.

The policy paper, which applies a multidimensional concept of fragility based on the methodology developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),  was developed in consultation with UN agencies in Iraq, notably the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN WOMEN), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

UNDP's upcoming policy papers will cover the themes of: social protection, macro-economic stability, social cohesion, and household vulnerability.

Impact of the Oil Crisis and Covid-19 on Iraq's Fragility is available on the UNDP Iraq website

(Source: UNDP)

Iraqi Govt Extends Curfew

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Government has said that it will extends the partial, nationwide curfew until 15th August, with a total curfew on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The move is an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

Beirut Explosion: Iraq sends Aid to Lebanon

By John Lee.

On Wednesday evening, the Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab received an Iraqi delegation headed by Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar, representing Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, and which included Deputy Health Minister Hani Al-Aqabi, Chargé D'affaires, Amin Al-Nasrawi, Political Advisor Ahmad Jamal and Oil Minister's Office Head Haidar Obaid, in the presence of Energy and Water Minister Raymond Ghajar and PM's Advisor, Khodor Taleb.

The delegation briefed the Prime minister on the Iraqi medical provisions that arrived in Beirut and the petroleum products that departed Baghdad.

After the meeting, Minister Abdul-Jabbar said:

"In response to the directive of the Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, we came from the Ministry of Oil along with the Deputy Health Minister and a number of general and specialized surgeons, carrying aid amounting to 20 tons of medical and health materials, as an expression of Iraq's solidarity with the suffering of brotherly Lebanon due to the recent incident that took place.

"An atmosphere of desolation and expectation prevailed in Iraq, in the face of the major event that afflicted Beirut. May Lebanon return to normalcy and live safe. The Iraqi government is committed to engage with Lebanon in the face of this ordeal. The fuel convoys have left Baghdad en route to Beirut via the Syrian border.

"Premier Al-Kadhimi promised the Lebanese government to provide Lebanon with fuel; Iraq will be of invaluable assistance and support for the Lebanese government. The medical staff will remain in Beirut until the Lebanese authorities consent to their return, and medical assistance will remain available. We express our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and missing persons, and we wish recovery for the wounded people."

(Source: Lebanese PM Press Office)

Govt imposes Total Curfew during Eid Al-Adha

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi on Sunday chaired a meeting of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister thanked Iraqi health workers and paid tribute to their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, and for treating and looking after those affected by Covid-19.

In his remarks, the Prime Minister underscored the role of citizens in combatting Covid-19 and the importance of following preventive health guidance, social distancing and other rules.

Following discussions, the Higher Committee decided to:

  • Impose a total curfew during the Eid al-Adha holiday, from Thursday 30 July until Sunday 9 August
  • Permit private health clinics to reopen provided that they meet the conditions set by the Ministry of Health and the Iraqi Doctors' Syndicate
  • Approve the recommendations on Covid-19 preventive measures at Iraqi airports
  • Direct the Ministry of Health to provide the  necessary support to investors wishing to build medical oxygen production plants
  • Direct the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers to liaise with the authorities in the state of Kuwait in order to facilitate the entry of medical oxygen tanks to Iraq through the Safwan border crossing in Basra
  • Direct the security forces to implement the decisions of the Higher Committee regarding the wearing of face masks, social distancing rules and other directives, including the imposition of fines and the seizure of vehicles of those who break the rules.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

Iraq’s Locally Made Hand Sanitizer and Disinfectant

The University of Karbala produces locally made hand sanitizer and disinfectant for health facilities, in first of its kind UNICEF-supported project

In the first of its kind project since the corona virus outbreak, graduate students in the pharmaceutical department of the University of Karbala have produced 14,500 locally made hand sanitizers and 10,000 large products to disinfect surfaces, with the support of UNICEF and its partner the Karbala Directorate of Health.

Over the course of the month of June, the bottles were distributed to primary healthcare centers in Karbala and Baghdad, both which have been hard hit by covid19.

"We have been distributing hand sanitizer and soap to some of the most vulnerable communities since the beginning of the outbreak. To now be able to support Iraqis as they themselves produce items they need to protect their communities from COVID-19 is something we are proud of and that lives up to our commitment to empower local communities who are driving positive change," said Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF's Representative in Iraq.

The sanitizer is produced according to the highest global standards and with locally sourced raw materials. The gel is then bottled into 250 milliliters containers that are labelled and include instructions on how to use. The production cost of one bottle amounts 2 US dollars, a third of the average selling price of one hand sanitizer bottle (6 dollars) on the market.

"I am happy with the quality of the materials that we are using. I hope that our work will benefit Iraqis across the country, and not only here in Karbala," explained Karrar Abd, one of the graduate students taking part in the production.

There are already plans to produce at least 10,000 more bottles that will be distributed in the two governorates, as well as in Basra and Najaf. The production process takes up to three weeks. Once ready, youth volunteers who are trained in hygiene promotion by UNICEF distribute the bottles to public health clinics and centers. To date, the hand sanitizer bottles, and disinfectant solution have been given to 34 main Primary health care centers in Karbala and Baghdad.

"I heard so many people say that COVID-19 does not exist, which is not true. Someone in my family came into contact with the disease and transmitted it on to others. I know that hand sanitizer is the best way to prevent us from spreading COVID-19 because it ensures that we have clean hands, and therefore I wanted to work on this project. It makes me feel I am giving something to my community," explained 22-year old Zainab Hussein, one of the volunteers from Karbala who participated in the distributing.

With access to hand sanitizer, patients and health workers alike can practice hand hygiene, thereby enabling health centers to continue providing communities with essential services such as immunization and maternal health despite COVID-19. The project was made possible with generous support of the Department of International Development (DFID UK).

(Source: UN)

COVID Survivors sell Plasma on Iraq’s Black Market

By Mustafa Saadoun for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Virus survivors rake in cash for plasma on Iraq's black market

For five days, Qusay al-Zaidi searched for a recovered coronavirus patient to give him plasma for use in the treatment of his relatives who had contracted the virus. He expected to get it from a volunteer free of charge, but this was not the case.

"The recovered patient asked for $1,500 per liter and refused to negotiate the price," he told Al-Monitor.

Click here to read the full article.

IBBC, World Bank introduce Free Training for Iraqi SMEs

You are invited to help IBBC and World Bank to introduce Iraqi SME's to FREE business training courses

WHEN: 29th June, 6pm to 8pm Iraq time

Please share this free business training initiative and the course registration with any SME in your network, however small, and encourage them to sign up.

Arabic version for sharing with your contacts here
WebEx Link: Join Using WebEx

YouTube Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxeuaarijuE

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has been asked by the World Bank to support them in the promotion of business resilience and training courses for SME's in Iraq.

The driver behind this initiative is to give Iraqi SME's support to ride out and survive the business effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the effect it has particularly on the smaller businesses in the economy.

The support is in the form of four free business training courses that SME's can take via Webex or Youtube, provided they sign up.

As a partner to the World Bank, IBBC is contacting our Chambers of Commerce and Union contacts, and those businesses we can alert.

The courses cover four topics :

  1. Business Planning.
  2. Accessing Finance.
  3. Communicating.
  4. Thriving.

We recognise that your suppliers are most likely to be already well prepared, but if there are some who may be finding the current economic climate challenging, these courses will provide a good sense check to best practice.

Please follow this link for the WebEx how-to manual in English

Please follow this link for the WebEx how-to manual in Arabic

Please let us know if there are any further questions by contacting london@webuildiraq.org

We very much hope that your teams will be able to share these courses with your supplier and business ecology.

(Source: IBBC)

Zoom Invitation: Iraq 2020, a Country at the Crossroads

You are invited
to hear a discussion of the IBBC Advisory Council's paper on
'Iraq 2020, a country at the crossroads'

When: Monday 15th June at 2pm UK
Where: Zoom Platform

The paper published for the new Iraqi Government recommends a number of decisive changes to be implemented without delay, in order for Iraq to be able to navigate the rapidly deepening economic crisis she is facing.

This open public forum takes place in partnership with IRIS (Institute of Regional and International Studies) at AUIS (American University of Iraq, Sulaimani) and Chatham House.

Speakers include:

  • Professor Frank Gunter, Lehigh University
  • Dr Renad Mansour, Chatham House
  • Mr Ahmed Tabaqchali, IRIS at AUIS
  • Professor Mohammed Al-Uzri, University of Leicester
  • Mr Abdul Aziz Shwan Ahmed, Iraqi Government
  • Mr Hani Akkawi, CCC

Click below to read the full paper:

Iraq 2020: a country at the crossroads - English

Iraq 2020: a country at the crossroads - Arabic

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Iraq Extends Curfew for another Week

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi chaired a meeting of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety on Saturday.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Iraq's health teams and security forces and thanked them for their hard work during the Covid-19 health emergency.

The Prime Minister called on all Iraqis to remain vigilant, abide by the curfew, follow official health advice and physical distancing rules, and avoid gatherings.

Following discussions, the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety decided to:

Extend the nationwide curfew until Saturday 13/06/2020

Impose a partial curfew between 6 PM and 5 AM from Sunday 14/06/2020

Impose a curfew for 24 hours a day every Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Maintain the ban on all gatherings in all their forms

Maintain the ban on travel within provinces

The Committee also decided that:

Parks, cafes, cinemas, malls, sport centres, private teaching institutes, swimming pools and shops to remain closed, except for food stores, bakeries and pharmacies which remain exempt. Restaurants will also stay closed, except for home delivery services.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)