Encouraging social cohesion and conflict resolution among local authorities and community leaders in Iraq

August 2, 2022

Photo: Workshop for community leaders from Hamdaniya, Ninewa 15-17 July 2022.

Communities across governorates liberated from ISIL in Iraq are working together to heal their fragmented social fabric following years of conflict. While local authorities, such as community police, exist across these communities, encouraging public trust in these officials and enhancing channels of mutual communication is vital. UNDP Iraq, in partnership with Public Aid Organization, and in cooperation with Alliance of Iraqi Minorities and Fight for Humanity, is currently working to empower and engage local authorities including police officials and community mechanisms to jointly promote social cohesion in twelve locations in Ninewa and Kirkuk with support from the Netherlands.

The twelve-month project includes development of a peacebuilding curriculum, capacity building programmes for relevant local authorities and community mechanisms, hosting of communal dialogue and mediation sessions, and facilitation of Local Peace Agreements. Local authorities engaged in the project include security personnel, community leaders, police, and community police. Starting in April 2022, sessions have been held across various locations in Kirkuk and Ninewa, capacitating 542 participants to date.

Photo: Hanaa Ahmed. 2022.

“The work of the community police is proactive and preventive. It involves solving problems amicably between community members, without resorting to the judiciary.”

-Hanaa Ahmed, Director of the Women's Section of the Community Police in Mosul. Hanaa attended a workshop of local government and security officials from Mosul on 28-30 May 2022.

Photo: Sofian Hajji Selo (right). 2022.

“Involving local authorities and community mechanisms in these important trainings is vital, as we minimize and address problems before they occur and turn into conflict. Conflict causes social rifts and weakens confidence in social cohesion within the region.”

- Sofian Hajji Selo, Member of the Community Police in Bashiqa district. Sofian attended a workshop for local government and security officials from Bashiqa, Ninewa on 18-20 June 2022.

Photo: Rana Hussam Yassin Al Nuaimi. 2022.

“Holding these workshops dedicated to trust-building and social cohesion increases our confidence in responding to the demands of citizens. We have discussed at length how we can empower youth, as they are the future.”

-Rana Hussam Yassin Al Nuaimi, Certified Trainer at Nineveh Center for Consultation and Research. Rana also attended the Bashiqa workshop for local government and security officials from 18-20 June 2022.

In 2020, UNDP Iraq launched a dedicated five-year Social Cohesion Programme to promote stronger, peaceful, and more cohesive communities in all areas of Iraq.