The Government of Belgium has invested an additional EUR 2 million in the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS).
The contribution will support stabilization efforts implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) across Iraq's five governorates in Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din.
Since 2016, Belgium has contributed EUR 12.12 million to the Facility, which was recently extended to 2023. To date, Belgium's support along with other international donors to the FFS has benefitted over 1.46 million Iraqis, of which 50 percent are women.
With this generous additional funding, UNDP will be able to support additional essential services such as housing, and the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure in the sectors of electricity, water and education.
"The spread of COVID-19 in Iraq has increased economic instability, exacerbating existing challenges, such as the limited access to basic infrastructure and services, and a still-volatile security context. With Belgium's support we will better help the most vulnerable communities recover from the multiple crises they face today," says the UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.
Belgium was one of the first international development partners to respond and support the UNDP rapid response to COVID-19, in partnership with national and local authorities. The support was used to establish isolation wards in Fallujah Teaching Hospital and Baqubah General Hospital that serve a catchment area of approximately 2.25 million people.
"We are grateful for Belgium's timely contribution towards supporting the people of Iraq build forward better, and for being one of the first to lend their support to our COVID-19 response," adds Ms. Ali-Ahmad.
"Belgium is very happy to continue its support for UNDP's FFS. The stabilization of Iraq remains an important challenge, even more in the context of COVID-19. We are therefore pleased that the FFS has been extended until 2023 and that other partners have renewed contributions," says Ambassador of Belgium to Jordan and Iraq, Filip Vanden Bulcke.
Since its launch in 2015, FFS has supported the return of 4.7 million Iraqis displaced by the ISIL conflict and helped more than 10 million Iraqis access critical services and infrastructure.