Aid & Development

Reconstruction Fund convenes first meeting in Nineveh, Iraq

Iraq

The conference in Mosul, Nineveh Province, was broken down into 5 sessions, during which members of the reconstruction fund and other officials discussed challenges facing the reconstruction process.

More than a year after the defeat of ISIS in Nineveh’s provincial capital city of Mosul, a conference has been held to coordinate the future of reconstruction projects in the region. The conference, which was sponsored by the Reconstruction Fund for the Areas Affected by Terrorist Operations and the Nineveh Consultancy Centre, was convened to help further facilitate the housing of returning residents through the reconstruction of housing.

“We provided reconstruction projects which we started in 2016 in Nineveh Province, in addition to the [reconstruction] projects of 2018,” said Mustafa al-Hiti, President of the Reconstruction Fund. “We estimated the federal budget for 2016, 2017 and 2018 at about 75 billion [US] dollars.”

In addition to the reconstruction of housing, the conference focused on the rebuilding of strategic infrastructure, such as bridges, electricity distribution and water supply. The restoration of these provisions are of equal importance to the building of new housing, without which the conditions will not be right for welcoming home displaced people from the province.

Al-Hiti announced a number of investments for Nineveh Province, which will be used to fund several large-scale reconstruction projects. However, the announcement was met with anger by some in the audience, who raised serious questions about the lack of activity on the ground and the level of destruction that still exists in much of Nineveh, including Mosul.

“We heard large numbers and big projects,” said Mohammed Jhusub, a political activist. “If we want to make sure of these numbers [of investments], we have to go and look at western Mosul, which is less than 200 metres away. He talked about huge numbers for 40 minutes. Where are these projects?”

Western Mosul, which includes Mosul’s Old City, was the location of some of the most bitter fighting between ISIS and the Iraqi Security Forces, which some described as the most intense urban battle since World War Two. As a result of this, the destruction in western Mosul was much more widespread and severe than the level of damage to the eastern half.

Although reconstruction of Mosul is underway, with a number of foreign investors pledging to support the work, some residents have deemed its progress to be moving too slowly. Subsequently, reconstruction was a major topic in the recent May National Elections. The ability for the residents of Nineveh Province, including Mosul, to be able to trust Iraqi Government Officials once again is pinned on their ability to transform the city back to its pre-ISIS condition.