In a ceremony in Baghdad today, Sweden signed a US$4 million agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support stabilization in newly liberated areas of Iraq.
The contribution, provided to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization (FFIS), will help thousands of people as they try to restart their lives in areas which have been retaken from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
During the signing ceremony, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said: "Conditions in newly liberated areas are some of the most difficult in the country.
People who were forced to flee from ISIL want to return safely and with dignity to their homes but this is very difficult because houses have been destroyed, grids are down, businesses are closed and schools and health clinics need to be reopened and rehabilitated. The generous contribution from Sweden will help to turn conditions around and bring normalcy back to liberated areas."
In turn, Sweden’s Ambassador to Iraq, Ms. Annika Molin Hellgren, said:
"Enabling displaced Iraqis to return to their hometowns remains critical for their future as well as for the stabilization of the country. Sweden's support to stabilization constitutes an important part of our broader engagement for peace and reconciliation in Iraq."
UNDP’s Funding Facility supports stabilization in areas newly liberated from ISIL. Based on priorities identified by local authorities, FFIS is able to help quickly repair public infrastructure, provide grants to small businesses, promote civil engagement and community reconciliation and provide short-term employment through public works schemes.
Ground-breaking stabilization work has already been done in Tikrit, where UNDP’s FFIS has helped to kick-start the local economy, open neighbourhoods for returning families and rebuild civil and public assets.
FFIS is starting to work in liberated areas in Ninewah, Diyala and Salah al-Din Governorates and is procuring and pre-positioning equipment in anticipation of Ramadi’s liberation.
(Source: UNDP in Iraq)