Baghdad, 15 July 2021 – The United Nations Development Programme in Iraq (UNDP) in partnership with the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displaced (MOMD), the Council of Ministers Secretariat, the Governorate of Salah al-Din, and supported by the Government of Denmark, concluded an interfaith religious conference today for 70 religious leaders from Salah al-Din Governorate.
The two-day conference took place in Baghdad as the second in a series of conferences targeting religious leaders from Anbar, Ninewa and Salah al-Din governorates. Based on the recommendations of these conferences, UNDP will work closely with the religious leaders on building their capacities and supporting their efforts on advancing the return and reintegration process for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in partnership with local and national authorities.
Key recommendations of the 14-15 July conference that discussed the return of IDPs and strengthening peaceful co-existence were highlighted: to form a network for all religious leaders in Salah al-Din to coordinate efforts on social cohesion, joint steps to amicably resolve issues around endowments properties and acquisitions, and to work with the United Nations to support the return of IDPs, including livelihood opportunities.
The conference is part of UNDP Iraq’s programme for religious leaders aiming to enhance their role in community coexistence and social cohesion, including establishment of a coexistence network to foster dialogue. Work undertaken with interfaith religious leaders contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions (Goal 16).
UNDP Iraq Resident Representative Ms. Zena Ali-Ahmad emphasizes, “We are thankful to the Government of Denmark for supporting engagement with religious leaders in Iraq through our Social Cohesion Programme. UNDP Iraq’s work with religious leaders and engagement with local and national government ensures a unified approach to peacebuilding and social cohesion among a range of religious sects.”
The Deputy Minister of Migration and Displaced, Mr. Karim Hussein Ali Al-Nuri states, “It is important that all Iraqis work toward spreading the culture of tolerance, and we call on religious leaders, in their important role, to be active in emphasizing social reintegration and acceptance within Iraqi society.”
The Deputy Secretary General of Council of Ministers Secretariat, Mr. Jasim Al-Habousi indicates, “This conference is aligned with the Government of Iraq’s priority to ensure return and reintegration of all Internally Displaced Persons to their areas of origin in Iraq, and it is our hope to find solutions to encourage this movement for these populations to live with dignity in alignment with their civic rights.”
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.