Representatives of Local Peace Committees (LPCs) supported by UNDP from Ninewa, Anbar and Salah al-Din governorates met with the Iraqi government’s Coexistence and Community Peace Committee at a workshop held on October 17 in Baghdad. The sessions discussed linkages between the work of the LPCs at the local level and the government on working toward increased social cohesion in Iraq, including areas for collaboration and improvement.
UNDP Iraq, in partnership with the Danish government, supports the work of 24 LPCs in Ninewa, Anbar, and Salah al-Din governorates, with planning underway for establishment of additional committees in other governorates. These committees play a major role in conflict resolution, advocate for peace and coexistence, and work to empower locals to promote social cohesion and reconciliation within their communities. Their ability to respond to the needs of community members is critical and has been prominent since the start of the coronavirus pandemic when LPCs jointly with local governmental and civil society partners provided Personal Protective Equipment and food and hygiene packages to over 60,000 vulnerable beneficiaries in Iraq.
Over 100 people attended the day-long workshop, including eighty LPC members representing their respective committees. These members include local leaders, religious figures, civil activists, and youth, who are selected for membership based on inclusiveness.
According to UNDP Iraq Resident Representative Zena Ali Ahmad, “Local Peace Committee members are a part of the social fabric of their communities and embody the spirit of volunteerism. They know how to mitigate conflict and bring people together. Because they know where assistance is needed most, they can make sustainable positive impacts. Today’s workshop emphasizes the vital collaboration between the LPCs and national government, a partnership we hope will continue to flourish.”
UNDP Iraq’s Social Cohesion Programme coordinates the facilitation of LPCs, among other projects, with a goal to improve the enabling environment for peace and social cohesion in Iraq. UNDP projects and intervention under the programme are implemented with generous support from the governments of Denmark and Germany.