Basra, Iraq – 13 September 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on poor communities.
The last 18 months have highlighted the importance of access to safe potable water, sanitation, waste management, and hygienic conditions to prevent and protect human health during disease outbreaks. Nearly 1.8 billion people world-wide live in inadequate housing, in overcrowded conditions with lack of access to clean water. The absence of basic services leaves families with increased exposure to disease outbreaks, including COVID-19.
On 13 September, UN-Habitat, in cooperation with the European Union, brought together the Governor’s Assistant for Administrative Affairs, Governor’s Assistant for Labor and Social Affairs Departments and Head of DOLSA, the Head of Basra Municipality and representatives from the directorates of Water, Sewage, Planning, Physical Planning, Electricity, Labour and Social Affairs, Health and Environment to discuss upgrading under-serviced neighbourhoods in Basra city, within which some of the poorest families in Basra live as well as provide vocational training and waste management solutions. The purpose of the meeting was to confirm two of the three neighbourhoods within which UN-Habitat will work for the coming three years. The committee has agreed on the general approach to the project and two of the three locations, Al-Ehrar and Al-Kubyah neighbourhoods, and a third will soon be identified.
Mr. Arab Al-Jabri, Governor’s Assistant for Labor and Social Affairs Departments and Head of DOLSA said in his opening remarks, “With the help of this organisation, we can find solutions for these crises, creating work opportunities, in addition to other problems. We are calling on the local authorities, and Water, Municipality, Environment, Health, to help them move forward in their aim. We wish them success in elevating the problems, most important the unemployment among the young, the housing crises, and infrastructure. We hope all Directorates respond to their needs.”
In her opening remarks, Ms. Barbara Egger, Head of Cooperation for the European Union Delegation to Iraq, said, “Through this project, the European Union is providing critical urban planning support to help the governorate of Basra, in consultation with the people of Basra, to oversee, prioritize, plan and implement priority interventions for improved service delivery and generation of employment. The ownership and leadership of the Basra Governorate, Basra municipality and various technical directorates is key, and we continue to count on sustained close collaboration. We look forward to the next steps in implementation and to the continued focus on sustainability and community engagement.’’
UN-Habitat has worked in Basra for many years, both through normative and operational projects. In 2007, UN-Habitat supported the development and implementation of new laws, policies and programme for solid waste management. More recently, in 2019, UN-Habitat implemented a pilot project in Al Qibla informal settlement to improve living conditions and in 2020, conducted a comprehensive urban assessment of Basra City and published the Basra Urban Profile. One of the key findings of the Basra Urban Profile shows that upgrading of basic services in Basra would considerably reduce environmental problems faced in the city.
“Under this project, UN-Habitat will implement a number of activities that contributes to improve the overall living conditions and environment in Basra city. We very much look forward to working very closely with our counterparts in Basra Governorate, Municipality, and relevant Directorates and count on your support to ensure success of this very important project,” said Mr. Wael Al-Ashhab, Head of UN-Habitat Iraq, during the meeting.
Mr. Moeen Saleh Al-Hassan, Governor’s Assistant for Administrative Affairs, said at the close of the meeting, “I reiterate my appreciate to the European Union for their time and effort and welcome any project by the European Union. We thank the European Union for working in Basra, and we will work together to ensure the success of the project.”
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) would like to thank the European Union for supporting the project titled “Increasing Access to Employment Opportunities for Vulnerable Urban Population in Basra City in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis”. This project will provide support for vulnerable populations in underserviced neighbourhoods in Basra City which aim to increase access to employment opportunities in basic services and waste management sectors for unemployed youth, women and vulnerable urban population.
For more information please contact:
Mr. Aryan Star Muheddin
Communications Specialist, UN-Habitat
Mobile number: +964 (0)751 103 9494