Saturday, 30 January 2021 18:33

UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator visits community projects in Basra and Thi-Qar and discusses support needed

Basra, Iraq; 29 January 2021 -The Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Ms. Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano visited Basra and Thi-Qar last week.

Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano was accompanied by Mr. Abdirahman Meygag, Representative of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Dr. Rita Columbia, Representative of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Salah ElHajj Hassan, Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Mr. Paolo Fontani, Director and Representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and Mr. Wael Al-Ashhab, Head of Country Programme of United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).

During her four-day visit, from 26 to 29 January 2021, the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator met with and was warmly welcomed by the Minister of Culture, Mr. Hassan Abed Hammadi, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Adnan Darjal, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Muhammad Saleh, the Deputy Minister of Planning, the Deputy Minister of Culture, the Director General of Housing Directorate of Minister of Construction, Housing, Municipalities and Public Works, Governors of Basra, Missan and Thi-Qar, civil society, and local sheikhs, and conducted joint site visits to several projects.
Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano, along with Mr. Meygag visited the Kerdlan Primary School in Basra, to meet the children benefitting from the National School Feeding Programme relaunched by WFP and the government. “The UN and partners will continue their efforts to achieve the vision of having universal school feeding for all children in all schools across Iraq and are working to hand over the School Feeding programme to the government in the coming years.” said Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano. WFP is poised to launch a joint project in Basra with UNICEF, working together to help girls from financially struggling families continue their education.
The RC also visited the UNFPA-supported youth centre in Basra and met with the UNFPA-supported Youth Advisory Board (YAB). The young people shared with Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano and Dr. Columbia their vision of what their city should look like and how they can contribute to its socio-economic development. The YAB asked the UN officials to help them be heard and raise their voices so that their ideas reach officials in the Governorate and country. The meeting also included discussions on youth and women empowerment projects, gender equality, climate change and environment, good governance and social responsibilities.
The RC reiterated the UN support to young people across the country and promised to work closely with them to ensure they have a solid platform to advocate for livelihood and human rights. The RC also highlighted the partnership between the UN and local authorities to advance the youth agenda in Iraq and invest in them. Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano urged for more efforts in employing youth “When young people are active members of their communities, society can really thrive.” she said, adding “The UN is committed to the youth.”
Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano, accompanied by Mr. Wael Al-Ashhab also visited Al-Qibla informal settlement, where UN-Habitat has recently implemented activities to connect vulnerable households to the new potable network, door-to-door waste collection campaigns, and created jobs for unemployed youth. Good practices and lessons learned from this intervention will be incorporated into the newly launched project to be implemented by UN-Habitat and funded by the European Union to increase access to employment opportunities in basic services and waste management sectors for unemployed youth, women and vulnerable urban population in Basra City.
Along with Mr. Fontani, she met with the Minister of Culture, the Deputy Minister of Planning, Deputy Minister of Culture, and the Governor of Basra to discuss the latest developments on the rehabilitation works in the old city of Basra, that is implemented jointly with job creation and skills development. The Resident coordinator stated that Reviving Basra’s old city and safeguarding the remaining elements of the important rich cultural heritage of Basra is one of the UN main priorities. The UN rehabilitation programmes in Basra, funded by the European Union, help to alleviate the economic hardship caused by past conflict and the current COVID-19 crisis and aim at promoting social cohesion and reconciliation.

Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano, along with Dr. Columbia, Dr. ElHajj Hassan and Mr. Fontani met separately with the Governor of Basra to share the joint UN intent to increase its footprint in the South of Iraq aimed at supporting local communities in finding local solutions to the impact of the climate crisis, youth unemployment, and strengthening agriculture.

Before departing, Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano, together with the Deputy Minister of Culture, and Mr. Fontani also visited the ancient Sumerian city of Ur in Thi-Qar province. ““It was impressive to see these beautiful ancient ruins, the birthplace of writing, agriculture and codified law,” she said, adding, “I was intrigued by the history behind these foundations. Iraq is steeped in history.”

For more information, please contact:
Zainab Salih, Communications Officer, Office of the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq / Resident Coordinator and the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last modified on Saturday, 30 January 2021 19:49

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