Press Release

Ten peace agreements signed across Kirkuk and Ninewa to boost social cohesion in Iraq

19 March 2023

Erbil, Iraq, 16 March 2023 – Today, local authorities, community leaders, and civil society members came together following the signing of ten peace agreements to enhance social cohesion across areas of Kirkuk and Ninewa. The peace agreements were tailored to maximize impact for each area, addressing the creation of administrative units as needed and agreeing upon key tenets to promote peaceful coexistence including encouraging community reintegration and combatting hate speech.

The agreements were signed as part of a larger project implemented by UNDP Iraq in partnership with Public Aid Organization (PAO) and generous support from the Government of the Netherlands.  The year-long project to promote social cohesion and trust-building among local authorities and community mechanisms has included various capacity building, mediation sessions, and focus group discussions for over 2,000 community police, police, local officials, and community leaders. The project was implemented across twelve areas of Kirkuk and Ninewa, and included development of a peacebuilding curriculum, created with direct input from community members.

UNDP Iraq Resident Representative, Auke Lootsma, states, “We are grateful to the Government of the Netherlands for their unwavering support to social cohesion in Iraq. These communities across Kirkuk and Ninewa are continuing to recover following liberation from ISIL. Providing tailored support to their individual needs for community empowerment in partnership with local and national government is key to supporting the region’s social fabric.”

Mr. Zidan Khalaf Obaid, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Iraq on Human Rights, emphasizes, “One of the most important things we are working on today is incorporating social mechanisms into peaceful coexistence. Iraqis have suffered after ISIL’s occupation, and these agreements and conferences help to maintain and celebrate a peaceful society. We thank UNDP and PAO for supporting the Government of Iraq’s efforts.”

Empowering and engaging community mechanisms and local authorities to promote social cohesion is implemented is part of UNDP Iraq’s five-year Social Cohesion Programme launched in January 2020 to promote stronger, peaceful, and more cohesive communities in all areas of Iraq.

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United Nations Development Programme

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