The international humanitarian system – UN, NGOs – launched operations in 2014 in response to the Government of Iraq requests for assistance to meet the overwhelming needs created by the violence of ISIL. It was a time of unprecedented crisis for the people and government in Iraq, which called for global support and solidarity.
Five years after the conclusion of large-scale military operations against ISIL in 2017, the humanitarian situation in Iraq has improved considerably, with the notable decline in the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance from a high of 11 million people in 2017 to 2.5 million in 2022. In addition, the successful conduct of democratic elections in October 2021 combined with the rebounding of state revenues by early 2022 have enabled the Government of Iraq (GoI) and the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) to have a substantially improved position to deliver basic services of quality, and protection to its own population, including displaced and returnee populations.
With the emergence of crises in other countries where more acute needs overwhelm local capacities, annual international funding for humanitarian assistance in Iraq started to decline and is only expected to continue decreasing in the coming years. After reaching a total of $1.8 billion in 2016 during the lead up to the GoI retaking Mosul, and four subsequent years of being the best-funded appeal globally with over 95 per cent of the funding requirements met, the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan for Iraq only received 63 per cent of the required funding, and the funding level for the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan barely reached 67 per cent by end of December 2022, after swinging around 60 per cent for most of the year.
By end of 2021, the Government of Iraq had issued a National Plan on Internal Displacement and had launched—in partnership with the UN— the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNDSCF)1 .
Both were welcome signals of Government’s ability to find durable solutions for those who remain in displacement, and its commitment to the future peace and prosperity of Iraq, in cooperation with stabilization and development actors. The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) acknowledges that the root cause of many ongoing needs in Iraq is due to underdevelopment issues, and development strategies are more effective in addressing these issues. The UN has shifted its focus from a humanitarian-only response plan to a development-focused approach, as this will better serve the needs of all citizens in Iraq, not just those affected by the ISIL crisis. The Humanitarian Coordinator has communicated this shift to the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government through regular meetings and a formal letter.
The passing of the Emergency Law for Food Security and Development in June 2022 has in particular, increased the government’s ability to respond to the needs of all citizens. The fiscal space of the government continues to grow, especially thanks to the high price of oil. As a result of decreasing humanitarian needs and the presence of a strong durable solutions architecture, the international humanitarian response in Iraq is being scaled down, and a government-led approach under the UNSDCF is being implemented.
As outlined in this document, the UN and its partners remain committed to continue working with the Government of Iraq (GoI), and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), to hand over humanitarian operations and to support the Government in assuming the responsibility for the provision of lifesaving and life-sustaining services to conflictaffected populations in Iraq, including through its support under the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF), in particular its Strategic Priority 5 (SP 5) on “achieving dignified, safe and voluntary durable solutions to displacement in Iraq”, complemented where necessary by humanitarian interventions by UN and civil society partners.
Source : Reliefweb