*Erbil, 04 November 2021 –*TheUnited Nations Development Programme in Iraq (UNDP) and the NGO Directorate at the Council of Ministers Secretariat (COMSEC) have launched a capacity building programme for 60 representatives of local non-government organizations (NGOs) to support them in the design and implementation of programmes and initiatives to prevent violent extremism.
The programme, which commenced with a series of workshops from 13-18 October, targets participants across Iraq including Anbar, Baghdad, Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniyah, Diyala, Karbala, Kirkuk, Maysan, Muthana, Najaf, Ninewa, Salah al-Din, and Wasit, and includes sessions on youth radicalization in the digital area, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, inter-faith initiatives, digital hate speech and conflict analysis on root causes of violence.
These workshops build on UNDP Iraq’s support to the Government of Iraq in combating and preventing violent extremism through an integrated society-centered approach including civil society, which has a vital role in peaceful coexistence and stabilization.
UNDP Iraq Resident Representative Zena Ali-Ahmad emphasizes, “Supporting the Prevention of Violent Extremism is a key priority for UNDP in strengthening the social fabric for recovery in Iraq. This partnership with the NGO Directorate reinforces our community-based approach to addressing drivers of violent extremism at the root and promoting inclusivity and tolerance in Iraq.”
The Director General of the NGO Directorate, General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Ashraf al-Dahan, states, “A joint effort is required between national and international partners to work towards the prevention of violent extremism through a comprehensive civil society approach, to promote social cohesion and address the root causes of extremism. We look forward to continuing our work together towards stability and prosperity in Iraq.”
In 2020, UNDP Iraq launched a dedicated five-year Social Cohesion Programme to promote stronger, peaceful, and more cohesive communities in all areas of Iraq, supported by the governments ofDenmark, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands.