The Government of Denmark has committed DKK 6,000,000 (approximately US$870,000) to support the Government of Iraq's response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq.
The funds have been pledged under UNDP Iraq's overall COVID-19 response package which is administered under the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) and includes increasing the testing capacity of laboratories, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, increasing the number of isolation wards, promoting social cohesion, and undertaking assessments to establish post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.
Denmark's contribution will largely focus on supporting local peace committees - established by UNDP with Denmark's support in 2018, to promote social cohesion, peace and stability in Iraq post-ISIL - to respond to the pandemic. Funds will also be used to boost the capacity of youth and women's community groups to address social issues like stigma and discrimination among communities.
In connection with the Danish support, the Danish Foreign Minister, Jeppe Kofod (pictured), stated:
"The Danish support for Iraq's COVID-19 response is a part of our continuous support for peace and stabilization in Iraq. It is very encouraging to see how local community groups are stepping up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic - and I applaud the tremendous work carried out by both UNDP and these community groups, which is essential in our common efforts to curb the spread of the virus".
The UNDP Iraq's Resident Representative, Zena Ali Ahmad, said:
"The support of community groups in managing the COVID-19 pandemic has been invaluable. Local peace committees, along with community youth and women's groups, have taken the initiative to protect their own communities from COVID-19 through initiatives such as sterilizing public spaces, providing food baskets for vulnerable families, and setting up mobile health clinics.
"These activities help to curb the spread of the virus but at the same time promote more cohesive communities. We're grateful to Government of Denmark for this generous contribution and their continued commitment to a peaceful Iraq."
Denmark is a key partner for UNDP Iraq, providing more than $58 million for stabilization, social cohesion, and security sector reform activities since 2015.