Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (L), Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah (C), and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (R) attend the Kuwait donor conference on Wednesday. Photo: Yasser al-Zayyat/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Donors have pledged $30 billion in funds to rebuild Iraq post-ISIS at the Kuwait conference, Kuwait’s Foreign Minister announced.
The pledges have come from 76 countries, numerous international funds and global organizations, said Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah.
The amount is only about a third of what Iraq was seeking. Officials from Baghdad have estimated that rebuilding the country devastated by the war with ISIS will take between $80 and $100 billion.
"We were hoping for more," Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told AFP. "We are not disappointed, but the amount was less than expected."
At the Kuwait conference, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the launch of a program to speed up reconstruction.
The UN has appealed for $482 million for the first year of its two-year Recovery and Resilience Programme and $568 million for stabilization efforts in high-risk areas.
Guterres said the world “owes a debt” to the Iraqi people who were on the frontlines in the war against a terror group that threatened the entire world and the global community must now stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people.
The UN’s program will focus on the most pressing areas of need, bringing life back to the areas at high risk of returning to violence and promoting political participation across all Iraqi society.
“Reconstruction and development programs must go hand-in-hand with a strategy to prevent the recurrence of violent extremism and terrorism in Iraq,” Guterres told conference attendees on Wednesday.
“This must include full respect for human rights, including political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights,” he added.
Updated at 6:26 pm