Press Release

UN-Habitat Iraq Marks Successful Conclusion of EU-funded "Support for Urban Recovery and Peacebuilding in Western Ninewa" Programme

30 August 2023

Funded by the European Union through the EUTF Syria - the Madad Fund, UN-Habitat Iraq's Urban Recovery Initiative Delivers Significant Achievements in Western Ninewa.

Erbil, August 30th, 2023 – The UN-Habitat Iraq Programme "Support for Urban Recovery and Peacebuilding in Western Ninewa" proudly convened its final Steering Committee Meeting, held today in Erbil. This initiative, funded by the European Union through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the Madad Fund, has achieved substantial accomplishments, significantly enhancing the lives of the people in Western Ninewa, Iraq.

Mr. Ali Omar Kheder, Assistant Governor for Organizations and Displaced Persons Affairs, and esteemed members of the Steering Committee including Mr. Wa’El Al-Ashhab, Head of UN-Habitat Iraq; Mr. Naif Sedo Qasim, Mr. Ahmad Hammad, and Mr. Nashat Sadiq Mohammed, Qaem Maqams of Sinjar, Ba’aj, and Tel Afar respectively, convened to review the program's achievements. Mr. Gerhard Krause, acting as the EU Trust Fund Manager on behalf of the European Union, emphasized the EU's strong support to the initiative.

Commencing in 2020, with a commitment of €10 million, the UN-Habitat Iraq Programme focused its efforts on the districts of Sinjar, Ba’aj, and Tel Afar. This comprehensive undertaking approached three key areas: enhancing living and housing conditions for vulnerable returnees, revitalizing livelihoods, and safeguarding housing, land, and property rights for those returning. Through these endeavors, the program facilitated voluntary and sustainable returns, ultimately helping 235,000 individuals in Western Ninewa.

Over three years, the multifaceted urban recovery program achieved significant milestones:

  • Developed comprehensive neighborhood profiles for critical areas in Western Ninewa;
  • Constructed 323 in-situ core housing units, offering safe accommodation to returnees;
  • Rehabilitated and expanded four primary schools, benefiting over 800 students.
  • Restored two football pitches with changing rooms and WASH facilities, benefiting approximately 500 youth;
  • Created green spaces and children's playgrounds with WASH facilities, enhancing the lives of around 6,000 returnees;
  • Revived two marketplaces with 24 shops, catering to the needs of approximately 3,000 individuals;
  • Enhanced water accessibility by drilling and rehabilitating seven boreholes and benefiting 3,000 people;
  • Planted over 1,200 trees to contribute to a better and greener environment;
  • Provided vocational training for over 1,200 young individuals;
  • Conducted a COVID-19 awareness campaign that reached more than 30,000 people;
  • Issued 4,000 Occupancy Certificates for households without property documents;
  • Delivered legal support to 1,050 returnees for compensation claims;
  • Organized awareness-raising sessions on housing, land, and property rights for 2,227 returnees;
  • Trained 183 local government staff in managing housing, land, and property rights.


Highlighting the European Union's long-lasting commitment to support all those impacted by the Syrian and Iraqi crises, Mr. Gerhard Krause remarked, "The European Union is pleased to have provided support for this crucial initiative, which has led to enduring returns, urban revitalization, and the advancement of peace in Western Ninewa. These accomplishments stand as a testament of the fruitful collaboration among the Iraqi government, the European Union and UN-Habitat."

Mr. Wa’El Al-Ashhab, Head of UN-Habitat Iraq, reiterated the organization's mission to foster inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable communities. He welcomed the committee members support for this mission, reflecting on UN-Habitat's legacy of partnering for over 25 years to realize long-term solutions, transitioning from humanitarian assistance to development.

While internal displacement continues to challenge Iraq, the collaborative efforts of the EU, UN-Habitat, and the Steering Committee members have made remarkable strides toward sustainable returns, urban recovery, and peacebuilding in Western Ninewa. Mr. Ali Omar Kheder, Ninewa Deputy Governor, praised the holistic approach of the program and its positive impact on the region. He expressed hope for more projects and development by EU and UN-Habitat to support the government of Iraq's commitment to its people's well-being and developmental goals.

The conclusion of the "Support for Urban Recovery and Peacebuilding in Western Ninewa" Programme marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of improved urban environments for conflict-affected communities. Through unwavering cooperation, UN-Habitat Iraq and the European Union have brought Iraq closer to achieving Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on ensuring access to adequate, safe, and affordable housing and improving degraded areas.



Additional information and links:

Official website of the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis - EUTF Syria, the Madad Fund)

EUTF Syria’s response in Iraq: Country Overview


Ana Beatriz Paes

Communication Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Human Settlements Programme

Goals we are supporting through this initiative