Path towards long term stability of Nineveh province post-IS

MERI, EWI and KAS hold workshop on reconstruction and reconciliation

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Iraqi PM Haider Al-Abadi announced the liberation of Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) on 9 July 2017. With the expected territorial defeat of IS in all of Nineveh, the reconstruction and future political order of the province becomes a pressing issue. Prompt action is needed to ensure stabilisation, reconciliation and the return of IDPs. In May 2017, the Middle East Research Institute (MERI) and the EastWest Institute (EWI), supported by the KAS Syria/Iraq office, invited local stakeholders and international experts to a workshop on the future of Nineveh province to Loosdrecht, Netherlands.

The goal of the workshop was twofold. Firstly, MERI, EWI and KAS aimed at stimulating a discussion on the immediate and long term reconstruction process in Nineveh. The second goal was to ensure coherence in policy responses by inviting a variety of guests, namely from the Iraqi Federal Government, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Nineveh Provincial Council and a selection of international actors such as Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, the European Commission, the UN and the Worldbank. The workshop featured prominent participants such as Hoshyar Zebari, former Iraqi Foreign and Finance Minister, Mustafa Mohammed Amin al-Hiti, Head of the Iraqi government’s Reconstruction Fund For Areas Affected by Terroristic Operations, Falah Mustafa, Head of the Foreign Relations Department of the KRG, and Bashar Kiki, Chairman of the Nineveh Provincial Council. Despite a clear focus on Nineveh province throughout the workshop, the participants also considered the potential of a reconstruction of Nineveh as a role model for other provinces. The workshop consisted of six distinct sessions covering a range of themes.

Firstly, participants reflected on the aftermath of post 2003 state building attempts in Iraq and the power dynamics it has caused on local, regional and international levels. Secondly, an assessment of the immediate challenges facing Nineveh province such as IDPs, security concerns and public service provision was conducted. Within the third session, the experts estimated the intensity and area of damage as well as the state of affairs of current reconstruction efforts, including funding and implementation. The fourth session focused on reconciliation and the importance of rebuilding trust among and between communities. In this context, a comparative study of post 2003 and post IS reconstruction was presented in order to suggest what measures are likely to succeed or fail. Session five covered Nineveh’s peculiar role as a province located within the wider political rift between Baghdad and Erbil. In this regard, questions about the choice of the governance system within Nineveh were discussed, as a de- or centralization as well as a potential creation of multiple governorates would lastingly alter the future path of the province. On top of that, the fate of the disputed territories and the sharing of power and revenues between the KRG and the Iraqi Government will have a decisive impact on Nineveh. The final session analyzed the role of the international community in the reconstruction process of Nineveh, assessing the current level of investment in humanitarian aid, stabilisation and reconciliation and the donor’s priorities and concerns. The experts also identified potential for further investment by the international community.

With this workshop, Konrad-Adenauer Foundation together with its partners aimed to provide a basis for a coherent long term reconstruction process of Nineveh and to contribute to a lasting stabilization of the province and Iraq in consultation with the relevant experts and in consideration of political, ethnic and sectarian divisions.

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Lebanon, August 4, 2017

Bashar Kiki from the Nineveh Provincial Council describes the challenges in the province
Participants during the discussion
Workshop organisers and participants