A ceremony marking the new project was held on 4 May in Erbil between representatives from Global Affairs Canada and the Kurdistan Regional Government.
"Increasing the Safety and Security of Vulnerable Camp Residents in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq" will focus on two Syrian refugee camps, Kawergosk and Qushtapa, and Baharka and Harsham internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Erbil Governorate, as well as Chamishku and Rwanga community IDP camps, based in nearby Dohuk Governorate.
The project will help to improve camp infrastructure, including the construction of safety operations centres, and the installation of surveillance cameras, fencing and installation of 205 solar street lights, all in an effort to provide camp residents with improved safety and security.
Ms. Susan Brazier, Country Program Manager, Global Affairs Canada expressed: "The work we are here to mark today is part of our stabilization efforts, which aim to build the conditions necessary for all Iraqis to be able return to their homes safely. Canada is therefore very pleased to have worked with UNOPS on this initiative." She further emphasized that "Canada remains fully committed to supporting the governments of Iraq and the Iraqi people on their road to a stable and secure country."
Representing the Governorate of Erbil, Ms. Vian Rasheed, from the Erbil Refugee Council (ERC), conveyed sincere appreciation from the Governor of Erbil, Mr. Nawzad Hadi, for: "the kind support from Canada in assisting Kawergosk and Qushtapa refugee camps with important infrastructure to increase the security of the camp and the protection of Syrian refugees."
Mr. Hadi also: "appreciated working so closely with UNOPS in making sure the project was implemented timely, cost efficiently and with a sustainable design." He further noted that the ERC: "hopes to continue this important work in the future, and looks forward to our increased and continuous co-operation with UNOPS, ensuring good protection for the refugees and their hosts, the Kurdish people".
Mr. Muhammad Usman Akram, UNOPS Head of Programme, announced that: "The increased safety and security of the residents, women, men, girls and boys, in the camps is the most significant outcome of the project. UNOPS is grateful to the Government of Canada for their generous contribution and to the Erbil and Dohuk Governorates, the mayors, camps administrators and management, and the camp residents for their cooperation with UNOPS in implementing this important project."
Iraq now hosts over 3.6 million IDPs and refugees. Approximately 13% of the IDPs and refugees reside in Erbil Governorate and 14% reside in Dohuk Governorate. The targeted refugee and IDP camps where UNOPS implemented the project of "Increasing the Safety and Security of Vulnerable Camp Residents in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq" host approximately 2% of the IDPS and refugees in Iraq.