The Netherlands renews commitment to Stabilization in Iraq
The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Iraq, H.E. Matthijs Wolters visited the city of Fallujah today accompanied by senior officials from the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Funding Facility for Stabilization in Iraq and the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), to assess progress achieved on the city’s stabilization effort, particularly in the areas of education and health. The Netherlands is the fourth largest donor supporting stabilization work in Iraq, contributing close to US$ 28 million.
“The Iraqi people have endured unspeakable hardship due to years of ISIL occupation and the fierce effort to liberate their cities and towns from ISIL,” said H.E. Ambassador Wolters. “We are proud to be associated with this great effort by the local government supported by UNDP to stabilize liberated areas, rehabilitating essential infrastructure and basic services, to allow people to return home.”
At the request of the government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) in June 2015 to safeguard against the resurgence of violence and extremism, facilitate returns and lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery. Since then the Facility has managed over 1,489 projects that helped local authorities quickly restore essential infrastructures in 23 newly liberated cities and districts in the governorates of Anbar, Nineveh, Salah al-Din, Diyala and Kirkuk. More than 95 percent of all stabilization projects are done through the local private sector employing local labour. This approach is highly effective, helping to inject liquidity into the local economy, generate local jobs and reduce overall costs.
More than 2.6 million of the 5.8 million Iraqis who were forced to flee their homes have returned to their communities. In addition to the electricity, water, sewage, health, and education projects it has implemented in Fallujah since the middle of 2016, FFS has distributed cash grants to hundreds of vulnerable female-headed households, and local small businesses. More than 490,000 people have returned to Fallujah since its liberation. Today, Fallujah is once again flourishing as a hub of economic development.
The visit in Fallujah included stops in Fallujah University, Al-Shuhadda Primary School and Playground and the Fallujah Teaching Hospital, allowing for meetings with the teachers, students, administrators as well as FFS engineers and key city officials.
“Rapidly bringing back some sense of normalcy to people’s lives is of vital importance to the recovery of Iraq,” Mr. Issa Sayer Al-Issawi, Mayor of Fallujah. “It is equally critical that all Iraqis know and feel that their government is there for them, sparing no effort to help them return to their hometowns, restore their livelihoods and maintain hope in brighter future for themselves and their children.”