In the first three months of 2023 ten local peace agreements were signed within the framework of the project “Empowerment and Engagement of Community Mechanisms with Local Authorities to Promote Social Cohesion”.
In this project supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of the Netherlands, a consortium of three partner organizations, Public Aid Organization (PAO), the Alliance of Iraqi Minorities (AIM), and Fight for Humanity have worked together to empower and engage local authorities and communities to promote social cohesion between different ethno-religious communities. The project was initiated in 2022 and focused on twelve locations in the Ninewa and Kirkuk governorates in Northern Iraq.
The consortium first worked to build the capacity of local authorities, police and security personnel, community and tribal members and leaders, elders and clerics on conflict analysis, positive peacebuilding, dialogue, and mediation.
Following dialogue and mediation sessions, the project also led to the signature of ten local peace agreements in ten locations, namely, Baaj, Bashiqa, Hamdaniya, Hatra, Haweja, Mosul, Snuni and Talkif. These agreements seek to identify principles and mechanisms that will help to promote social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.
In each location, the community, government, religious and tribal representatives identified local problems or conflicts that concerned the various parties, and through dialogue and mediation sessions, they came up with common solutions and principles to address them. These principles and solutions were formalized in a local peace agreement that was signed by the representatives during official ceremonies in the ten locations. Issues such as the return of families associated with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the improvement of social cohesion, the rules and principles to form new administrative units or the prevention of hate speech and violent extremism were addressed.
The consortium hopes that these local peace agreements can serve as an example of concrete action that can support social cohesion in post conflict areas.