Support to peacebuilding and development in Iraq

The Al Askari Mosque (or Golden Mosque) in Samarra. Its dome (9th century) was bombed and destroyed on 22 February 2006. In 2011, UNESCO concluded phase 1 of the rehabilitation activities.

UNESCO’s diverse and large-scale work in Iraq highlights unique technical and specialized expertise, which is directly supporting the Iraqi people to build peace and achieve development goals, particularly related to education, freedom of expression, the development of independent media, as well as natural resource management and the safeguarding of Iraq’s enormous cultural and artistic heritage for future generations.  

As of the start of 2012, UNESCO has been entrusted with more than US $147 Million in financial support since 2004 from a broad range of donors, including the European Union, Germany, Italy, Japan and Her Highness Sheikha Mozah of Qatar.

From 2003 to 2007, UNESCO implemented a programme to improve the quality of Iraqi Arabic, Mathematics and Science textbooks to make them politically neutral, free from bias and gender appropriate. USAID contributed $10 million which benefitted 11 million Iraqi students, providing quick impact local income and economic activity, with 80% of all textbooks printed in-country. UNESCO also is supporting independent, pluralistic and professional media as a fundamental pillar of democracy and peace-building.  

Notable UNESCO activities completed in 2011 included:

  • The rehabilitation of Al-Askari Holy Shrine in Samara Phase I, which is often cited (including by Prime Minister Maliki) as a key peace-building success story. 
  • Educational TV satellite channel “Iraqi Edu” is providing quality educational programming 24 hour per day to Iraqi students.
  • Teacher Training to create a national professional teacher-training network in Iraq, partnering with eight Iraqi institutions and six international universities.
  • TVET Training Centres and the setup of ICT pilot schools in all five governorates.
  • Restoring 20 water canals in Northern Iraq which helped over 800 families avoid displacement due to water shortages.

Through the generous support of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah, First Lady of Qatar, UNESCO is able to work on a large scale in the following fields: 

  • The Development of new Iraqi curricula for schools (US $4.9 million).
  • Strengthening Iraq’s higher education institutions and the Ministry of Higher Education (US $8.5 million).
  • Teacher training on new teaching methodology at basic and secondary schools (US $4 million)
  • In the field of Literacy (UNESCO’s LIFE Programme), building community learning centres and a national literacy resource centre to provide literacy, life skills, peace education and human rights classes to the most vulnerable segments of society (US $6.4 million). 




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