Iraq + 2 more

Finland grants additional support to Iraq

News and Press Release
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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Press release 138/2016

20 July 2016

Finland will grant a total of EUR 10 million of additional support to Iraq. The support will be spread over several years and used to the reconstruction of areas liberated from ISIL, to humanitarian assistance and to mine clearance.

Finland's pledge will be made at the donor countries' Pledging Conference in Support of Iraq in Washington, D.C., today.

Countries that are prepared to make new, significant pledges have been invited to the Conference, which is co-hosted by Canada, Japan and Germany. The Conference gathers together representatives of 28 countries and six international organisations. Finland's representative will be Jarno Syrjälä, Director General of the Department for Africa and the Middle East at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

"Post-conflict stabilisation is now needed in the areas recaptured from ISIL in Iraq. Support is necessary on several tracks: immediate humanitarian assistance, clearance of mines and unexploded ordnance, and short- and medium-term projects to restore the critical infrastructure," says Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Kai Mykkänen.

"By means of this support, Finland will contribute to the possibility that returning Iraqis can build their future where their homes are. The spiral of acrimony and violence must be broken," Mykkänen says.

Half of the support to mine clearance

Three million of Finland's EUR 10 million support will be channelled in 2016–2017 to the stabilisation and reconstruction of areas liberated from ISIL in Iraq. This will contribute to Iraqis' sustainable return to their homes. The support will be channelled via the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP. Earlier this year, Finland has contributed one million euros to UNDP's Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization (FFIS).

Two million euros of Finland's new pledge will be channelled to humanitarian assistance. The humanitarian situation in Iraq is difficult: this year, about 10 million people are expected to be in need of assistance.

The UN's current aid programmes do not have enough resources to ease the humanitarian situation. Through the USD 861 million joint appeal, the UN intends to respond to the needs of 7.3 million people. Finland has allocated about EUR 6 million in humanitarian assistance to Iraq since 2011.

Additionally, Finland will grant EUR 5 million in 2016–2020 to mine clearance in Iraq and Syria. There is a huge number of different kinds of ordnance and explosive remnants of war in Iraq and Syria. Systematically placed booby-traps have been found in civilian neighbourhoods and insfrastructure in areas recaptured from ISIL. Reconstruction and return home is particularly difficult because of the explosives, which also slow down or effectively prevent the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Support for humanitarian mine action in Iraq and Syria is channelled through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and civil society organisations to be chosen at a later phase.

Inquiries: Jarno Syrjälä, Director General, Department for Africa and the Middle East, tel. +358 50 371 0107; Touko Piiparinen, Counsellor, Department for Africa and the Middle East, tel. +358 50 447 9406; and Suvi Aherto, Special Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, tel. +358 50 349 6121.

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