The first meeting to discuss the upcoming international forum was held in Mosul and was attended by people from local organisations and academics from the University of Mosul.
The aim of the meeting was to prepare for the international forum, which will include local, international and multi-lateral organisations and will discuss how to foster and facilitate reconstruction, cohesion and harmony in Nineveh in 2018.
Large parts of the northern province were badly damaged during the fight against ISIS to liberate these areas. However, support from these organisations and the local and regional governments have been severely lacking, with locals themselves forced to rebuild their homes with their own hands.
The international forum, therefore, also hopes to improve access of aid to these people and increase international grant funding, which will go some way to providing greater support in reconstruction and rebuilding efforts. And according to the attendees of the meeting, the forum is a positive move for Mosul and the wider province.
“This forum, which is taking place inside the city of Mosul, is an excellent step in the right direction,” said Fatima Khalaf from the Masalla Organisation, which has convened post-ISIS forums and conferences in Iraq, particularly concerning women’s rights. “We have put forward ideas and topics for discussion, all of which are aimed at redeveloping the city of Mosul, reconstructing it, and changing it from the state of emergency to the state of development and prosperity in all domains.”
Almost six months after liberation, life has returned to the city. While many residents remain displaced, particularly from the city’s western districts that witnessed heavy fighting, others are returning to their homes and rebuilding their lives after ISIS.
At the turn of the new year, citizens came out to celebrate and welcome the start of 2018, hoping for a better future for Iraq’s second biggest city. As another attendee and civil activist, Talal Younis al-Salaq, said, “Mosul is the city of all Iraqis…We want to work and build Mosul. Mosul will be rebuilt.”