A handover ceremony was held today to mark the completion of the project "Improving the Operational Capacity of Demining Authorities" in Iraq, ReliefWeb reported.
The project was funded by the Japanese Government and implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in cooperation with the Iraqi Government.
With the aim of supporting the efficiency of the country's demining process, the project provided vehicles, personal protection equipment, specialized equipment for tactical exercises, and land mine and unexploded ordnances detectors, worth $3.2 million.
At the same time, more than 60 staff of the Directorate for of Mine Action (DMA) of the Ministry of Health and Environment, the Ministry of Interior (MOI), and the Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Agency (IKMAA) were trained in the use of the specialized demining equipment.
This has improved the operational capacity of DMA, MOI, as well as IKMAA and their respective partners engaged in mine-action to undertake demining and related activities.
In addition, UNOPS collaborated with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in the implementation of this project.
JICA provided a series of mine action trainings to the same set of beneficiaries through its technical cooperation, while UMNAS provided technical advice on the specification of the procured demining equipment.
The project has contributed to the improvement of the safety and security of Iraqi population by reducing the risks of landmines, with particular focus on the newly liberated areas in Anbar, Salahudin, Nineveh (Mosul), Makhmur/Erbil and Dyala governorates.
"We sincerely hope that the Ministry of Interior (MoI), the Directorate of Mine Action (DMA) of the Ministry of Health and Environment, and the Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Agency (IKMAA) will manage and utilize provided equipment.
We also hope that MOI, DMA, and IKMAA staff trained in this project will undertake demining and related activities effectively and efficiently so as to contribute to reestablishment of the normal living conditions of Iraqi people." said Charge d'Affairs ad interim of Japan to Iraq, Mr. Akira Endo.
He added, "Japan has recently decided a new assistance package for Iraq amounting to USD 63 million, including assistance in demining sector. Japan will continue to contribute to reconstruction and development of Iraq by Iraqi people."
"Our deep gratitude to our friends the government and people of Japan who continue to support humanitarian cause to eliminate the danger of mines on communities of Iraq. This project is another milestone in the long way of friendship between Iraq and Japan. We look forward to continue this in the form of more projects that help people of Iraq especially in liberated areas to return and settle.
Stabilization of the life of the returnees is a priority and this support we witness today will further add to achieve stabilization," added Dr. Cameran Ali, Director General of Demining Agency in the Ministry of Health and environment in the federal Government of Iraq (DMA-MOHE) "The Government and People of Japan showed support generously over the years to Kurdistan Region Government and people.
This Project comes as another testament of the remarkable friendship both Iraq and Japan developed over long decades of mutual respect and understanding," stated Mr. Siraj Barzani Head of Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Agency (IKMAA) in his speech today on the closing ceremony of the project.
"The generous donor; Government and People of Japan whom we embrace their friendship dearly. The humanitarian cause was always a priority to our Japanese friends and their support over the years speaks loud for this," concluded MG Kadhum who delivered a speech on behalf of the Ministry of interior in which he also reiterated gratitude of GOI and people of Iraq to the Government and People of Japan.
Ms. Dara Tell, Programme Specialist for UNOPS Baghdad added that, "we are grateful to the Government of Japan, Government of Iraq, and all our partners in this important project. We appreciate the opportunity to work together and support the efforts to improve the security and provide conditions for rehabilitation and reconstruction of the liberated areas."
About UNOPS - United Nations Office of Project Services
UNOPS helps the UN and its partners provide peace and security, humanitarian and development solutions.
UNOPS mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve peace and sustainable development. UNOPS services cover infrastructure, project management, procurement, financial management and human resources.
Our partners call on us to supplement their own capacities, improve speed, reduce risks, boost cost-effectiveness and increase quality.
The UNOPS Hub in Amman covers Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen, and implements projects in partnership with bilateral donors, national governments, and other UN agencies.