Reviving the Spirit of Mosul and Basra
The city of Mosul, meaning “the linking point" in Arabic, is one of the oldest cities in the world. For millennia, it has been a strategic crossing and a bridge between north and south, east and west. Due to its strategic location, it became home to a large number of people from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and religious beliefs. However, this unique location also made it a target for ISIL/Daesh. In 2014, the the Islamic State took the city and declared it its capital. Three devastating years (2014-2017) of occupation passed before the shackles of violent extremism could be broken.
During those three years, various battles took place, leaving Mosul in ruins, its heritage sites reduced to rubble, religious monuments and cultural antiquities damaged, and thousands of its inhabitants displaced, leaving them scarred and with immense humanitarian needs.
This 3-year programme is the EU’s contribution to the recently launched UNESCO flagship initiative to ‘Revive the Spirit of Mosul’, one of Iraq’s most emblematic historical cities, left destroyed by the occupation of IS. Mosul is the living symbol of Iraq's pluralistic identity. EU funding will promote social cohesion and reconciliation through the restoration and reconstruction of historic urban landscapes.
The programme will also fund the urban revitalisation of portions of the old city of Basra, another highly significant historical city of Iraq.
The priority areas for support are youth livelihoods in historic urban areas, as well as the rehabilitation of (primarily but not strictly) cultural heritage assets, resources, skills and knowledge.
Reconstruction will succeed and Iraq will regain its influence only if the human dimension is given priority; education and culture are the key elements. They are forces of unity and reconciliation. It is through education and culture that Iraqis, men and women alike, will be able to regain control of their destiny and become actors in the renewal of their country.- Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO
In both old cities, urban reconstruction projects will be implemented jointly with job creation and skills development, responding to a severe lack of work opportunities, especially among young people, internally displaced persons and returnees. Some 1,500 young people will be provided with training by recognised training providers, combined with on-the-job training for semi-skilled and unskilled youth labourers. Cultural events will also be organised around restored sites to strengthen social cohesion and reinforce cultural identities around urban heritage.