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2 August 2021; Mosul, Iraq - The Finnish Ambassador to Iraq, Mr Vesa Häkkinen, and UNFPA Representative to Iraq, Dr Rita Columbia, met today with civil society representatives and young people with disabilities in Mosul. 

During the meeting, they spoke on engaging young people, especially the most vulnerable and those living in hard-to-reach areas in Nineveh Governorate, in youth volunteerism and providing them with access to reproductive health and gender-based violence services. They also discussed with young people with disabilities their challenges and needs. 

Commenting on the visit, Mr Häkkinen emphasised that Finland’s number one priority in development policy is to strengthen the rights and position of women, girls and the most vulnerable. “In Iraq, our goal is to support the work in Nineveh. Nineveh is one of the areas that suffered the most from the terrorism of the Islamic States in Iraq and the Levant. An example of our intervention is the opening of an honorary consulate in the Governorate in March. For us, Nineveh represents the rebirth of Iraq and we will remain committed to supporting the most in need”. 

Speaking to young people who attended the meeting, Dr Columbia said: “Youth are the drivers of the country development. We will continue to advocate for the rights of young people, including adolescents and youth with disabilities. We strongly believe that they should have equal rights and opportunities for personal and professional growth”.

The Finnish Ambassador’s visit comes as UNFPA & Finland, in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth & Sports, team up to strengthen the technical capacity of youth centres to provide student-centred educational services, including life skills and civic engagement education for adolescents with disabilities. 

UNFPA plans to scale up its interventions focusing on the needs and rights of the most vulnerable youth to be educated, engaged and empowered as leaders. Young people targetted in this project include young people with disabilities, girls and boys from impoverished areas, refugees and internally displaced young people. 


UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Ms Salwa Moussa, Communications Specialist,