Rebuild, recover and reform: How the European Union is supporting development in Iraq

May 9, 2022

With $US 166 million pledged since 2016, the EU’s commitment to the people of Iraq is as stronger than ever. From supporting stabilization efforts, to bolstering the anti-corruption agenda and strengthening local institutions, the European Union has been there when Iraq needed it most.

Helping Iraqis rebuild their lives after conflict

58-year-old Ahmed, a patient at Mosul’s Cardiac Surgery Centre at Al Salam Hospital recovers from heart surgery.

“I just successfully finished a heart valve transplant. This was possible due to the upgraded facilities in the hospital along with a dedicated and professional medical team,” says Ahmed. The Centre was damaged in the ISIL conflict and rehabilitated through UNDP Iraq’s Funding Facility for Stabilization, with generous support from the EU. Today, the center performs complex heart surgeries through a dedicated team of 12 medical professionals and more than 50 administrative staff, and servs 30,000 Iraqis around Mosul.

Reforming Iraq’s anti-corruption agenda

A participant raises her hand in a training session on the role and importance of legislation

Corruption is a major issue in Iraq, and UNDP is working with Iraqi institutions and the international community to help fight it. In partnership with the EU under UNDP’s Anti-Corruption & Arbitration Initiatives (ACAI) project, UNDP brings together representatives from the two main bodies in Iraq that protect the country’s integrity – the Federal and KRI Commissions of Integrity (COI) as well as other relevant public institutions – to help them strengthen Iraq’s anti-corruption agenda. Focus areas like the international UNCAC (the only legally binding, universal anti-corruption instrument, which Iraq is signatory to) and how to develop legislation in line with international standards are included within the project.

Creating a secure investment climate for businesses

Workshop participants discuss the role of arbitration in securing investment climate in Iraq

Establishing mechanisms to settle disputes outside of the courtroom is also crucial to providing a secure investment climate, increase cross-border trade transactions, and create jobs for thousands of Iraqis.

In partnership with the EU under ACAI, UNDP holds consultation workshops with the Legislative Committee, general managers, Federal and KRI Governments' legal advisors, chambers of commerce, civil society organisations, and the private sector, to discussing international instruments aimed at promoting Alternative Dispute Resolution and ensuring compliance with Iraq’s obligations under the relevant international conventions.

Changing behaviours to protect the environment  

A bakery employee sorts through newly received paper bags, replacing the previous stock of plastic bags previously used for bread.

Erbil in Iraq’s north produces over 20,000 tons of solid waste every day which goes to landfill or is burned in open air. Most of the waste comes from packaged goods, mainly water bottles and plastic bags. Through a partnership with the EU, UNDP distributed one million paper bags to bakeries around the city, promoting the switch from plastic to paper for one of the country’s most consumed product: bread. An awareness campaign accompanied the distribution to let the bakers and consumers know about the dangers of plastic both environmentally and to their health. 

Protecting heritage and boosting Iraq’s tourism Industry.

The newly-installed pathway at Ur, in Iraq’s southern governorate of Thiqar.

Ur is an ancient Sumerian archeological site that has been standing for over 4500 years. As one of Iraq’s most famous archeological treasures, it was enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016. To facilitate the access of visitors and encourage tourists, a wooden pathway, waiting bay and rest areas were installed around the site, thanks to a partnership between the EU and UNDP. A website containing a detailed database of the Sumerian contents of the Nasiriyah museum, and a section to organize visits to Ur was also included as part of the project.

Helping women learn new skills and grow their business

Lolan reflects on her training session at Dohuk IDP camp

“This is a great workshop. Everyone is so kind to us, and it is a great opportunity for the women here at the camp to learn a new skill like beekeeping that could potentially turn to an actual job,” says Lolan, one of 10 participants undertaking training in beekeeping at an IDP camp in Dohuk.

Beekeeping existed in Iraq for thousands of years, but in some areas, it is considered job only for men. To break the stigma, Bojeen Organization, and through a partnership between EU and UNDP taught 50 women across Dohuk the craft of beekeeping and provided them with the right tools to kickstart their own honey businesses.


About the projects

Funding Facility For Stabilization (FFS)

In 2015, at the request of the Government of Iraq and with the support of the Global Coalition Against Daesh, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization to carry out stabilization activities in areas affected by the ISIL conflict. The European Union is the fourth largest donor of the 30-partner, multilateral programme. To date, around 3,100 projects are completed, improving the lives of more than eight million Iraqis. Of which, with the EU’s support, 190 rehabilitation projects are completed, benefitting 1.36 million Iraqis.

Support to justice initiatives curbing corruption and promoting commercial dispute resolution Project (ACAI)

Funded by the EU, this project builds on Iraq's national efforts to improve transparency and accountability across state institutions and supports Iraq to deliver to its national and international commitments regarding the fight against corruption, to support the Iraqi institutions in the revision of national anti-corruption laws, promote their alignment with international standards, and provide specialized on-demand training and mentorship opportunities for corruption investigators and integrity judges.

Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq Through Local Development

In response to the fragmented process of local development in Iraq, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been supporting Governorates in building capacity for effective planning and implementation of local development strategies through the Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development programme. Funded by the European Union (EU), the programme targets 9 Governorates: Anbar, Ninewah, Salah al-Din, Erbil, Sulaimaniyah, Duhok, Basra, Missan and Thiqar.