Rubble to Roads: IOM and UNEP support Kirkuk’s Road to Recovery in Iraq

Kirkuk, IRAQ, March 7 – Building on the shared vision for a durable solutions model village, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Iraq handed over a mobile debris recycling system and equipment to Kirkuk Governorate today in Al Mansuriya village, Multaqa district.

As part of the debris management efforts, nearly 60,000 tonnes of debris were recovered and removed from Al Mansuriya village – one of the 135 villages in the region that witnessed catastrophic destruction of private homes and public infrastructure in 2016. Leveraging the support and commitment of the host community, nearly 400 residents were employed in the debris removal and recycling process under Employment for Public Works (EPW) schemes sorting, crushing, recycling, and rebuilding the village that houses over 500 families.

“Enough with destruction,” exclaims Mohammed Emad Awad, a maintenance worker and EPW participant of the project. “Let us move towards reconstruction and rebuilding the country”.

Echoing the sentiments of Awad, two more families have returned to the village, after a decade of displacement. “If we just clean up the rubble, people will return,” asserts Saab Al-Shimari, one of the recent returnees to the area. “The main obstacle to returns is the debris”.

Supported by the Government of Japan, the handover of the Kirkuk debris recycling system marks a significant step in ongoing efforts to assist national authorities in sustainably managing the estimated 55 million tonnes of debris created by the conflict with Daesh.

UNEP West Asia Regional Director, Sami Dimassi, emphasized that “retaining materials in the economy instead of discarding them is key to unlocking opportunities, whereby we maximize the use of our resources, foster the concept of circularity to generate employment and safeguard social, economic and environmental benefits.”

“The successful completion of this project is a double win,” shares IOM Iraq Chief of Mission, Giorgi Gigauri. “We are able to support the recovery and reconstruction of the communities, and at the same time empower local authorities to continue the work in a sustainable manner, drawing on principles of a circular economy.”

Another milestone of the project is the building of the first asphalted road using recycled materials in accordance with national road construction standards. Material testing of the recycled aggregate by Kirkuk Municipal laboratories confirms its compliance with the Iraqi State Commission for Roads and Bridges design standards for road foundational layers. The 600m x 8m road is one of the village’s five main residential strips, and the remaining 13,650 tonnes stockpile of recycled aggregate material produced under the project will be sufficient to rebuild around 80 percent of the roads of the village destroyed by the conflict.

Previously, in July 2022, IOM and UNEP handed over the first debris recycling centre to Mosul Municipality.  This debris initiative in conflict-affected areas also opens the way for the recycling of routine construction and demolition waste, contributing to building back better and embedding circularity in Iraq’s development.



About the United Nations Environment Programme

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

About the International Organization for Migration

IOM is the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental, and non-governmental partners to support orderly and humane migration management, promote international cooperation on migration issues and respond to the humanitarian and development needs of mobile populations, including refugees and internally displaced persons.


For more information, please contact:

For UNEP: Hoda El-Turk,

For IOM: Deepika Nath,

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