Reports And AnalysisIraqBreakingThe United NationsCamps For The DisplacedRelief Organizations
Shafaq News / The international organization “New Human” (New Humanitarian) conducted an assessment of the role of the United Nations in Iraq, wondering whether, 20 years after the US invasion, the Iraqi authorities and the Kurdistan Regional Government can apply to take on more responsibilities in providing support to vulnerable and vulnerable segments.
The NGO report, translated by Shafaq News, explained that after the US invasion and more than 5 years after declaring victory over ISIS, the United Nations is on the path of a major change in how it provides assistance in Iraq.
Drought and rising prices
The website specialized in humanitarian issues quoted a United Nations report issued last February under the title “An overview of the humanitarian transition in Iraq” starting in 2023, as saying that the United Nations “has shifted its focus from a humanitarian response plan only, to approaches that focus on development, because this will better serve the needs of all citizens in Iraq, not only those affected by the crisis caused by ISIS.”
The report considered that the needs of the Iraqis undoubtedly remain, with about 1.2 million people still internally displaced, and that many of those who returned to their areas are struggling to survive, in addition to the phenomenon of drought and war in Ukraine, which led to high food prices.
However, the report pointed out that the United Nations over the past few years,
She asked for and received much less funding for the aid she coordinates, and now says it’s time for the Iraqi government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government to take on greater responsibility in securing care for citizens, with the UN playing a supporting role for them.
The report added that after a year of political stalemate, a government has been formed since late October 2022, but with the majority of displaced persons camps in the Kurdistan Region, and in light of the debate between the two governments over the budget and who should take responsibility for assistance, concerns are raised about who will apply to take over the assistant of the most vulnerable segments in a country that is regularly ranked below the rank of global corruption.
the human image
The report said the United Nations classified the humanitarian crisis in Iraq in 2017 as “one of the largest volatile crises in the world.”
According to UN statistics, by the time Iraq declared victory over ISIS, there were about 11 million people, in a country of 37 million people (now more than 40 million), in need of some form of humanitarian assistance.
He added that the numbers of the displaced were changing according to flight or return between 2014 and 2017, but in total there were about six million people.
Starting in 2019, Iraq began to close its camps in an attempt to encourage more people to return, and some of them were also reclassified as “informal camps,” with almost no services, and at present, there is only one official camp for displaced people within the areas of federal Iraq, and 25 in the areas of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
As part of the 2022 humanitarian response plan to deliver aid across Iraq, the UN said some 2.5 million people, including 1.1 million children, remain dependent on some form of humanitarian assistance, with 995,000 people considered “highly at risk,” the report said.
According to the report, this includes hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people who have not been able to return to their areas, and there are also about 258,000 Syrian refugees, most of them in the areas of the Kurdistan Region.
change of the United Nations
The report explained that the United Nations has moved from an approach focused on emergency assistance, to development, which means that its agencies and some of its partners, have stopped managing the camps or will gradually abolish its management of camps and providing services to most (but not all) internally displaced people, while handing over responsibility for this to local authorities.
In addition, there will be no inter-agency humanitarian planning process, with which the UN and the NGOs it works publish an annual assessment of the needs required, and then appeal to the international community to raise funds to do their work.
Last year, the organizations requested $400 million and received $335 million, the report noted.
For comparison, the report continued that during the height of the Iraq crisis, and with the media focusing on the battle to liberate Mosul in 2016, the United Nations appealed to raise $860.5 million, in addition to another $284 million to support those fleeing the ISIS attack, and the organizations received $1.9 billion, a figure that includes funds granted outside the plans of the United Nations.
The report quoted the representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Iraq, Jean-Nicolas Beez, as saying that the Iraqi and Kurdish authorities had enough time to prepare for this transition process, and that they want the Iraqi authorities and the Kurdistan Regional Government to take joint responsibility for humanitarian issues, adding that he had informed those responsible for the transition since before its arrival in Iraq (in November 2021).
In November 2022, Pease said that “through financial means, manpower and knowledge, Iraq has the capacity to respond to the needs of its population.”
But the organization had spoken with the international aid coordinator for the Kurdistan Regional Government Dindar Zebari last November when the transition was in its infancy, and said at the time that the usual budget shortfall of the provincial government meant that it would not be able to fill the funding gap left by the transformation of UN policy, explaining that “a request was made by the authorities to our international counterparts and NGOs to continue their financial support for refugees and displaced persons in the camps.”
“The Kurdistan Regional Government has been left alone in the process of meeting these needs and supporting the displaced and refugees,” he added, noting that “for the transition process to succeed, there is a need for a participatory leadership of the government.”
The report also quoted Awat Mustafa, a representative of the Barzani Charitable Foundation (BCF) independently funded and carrying out work in the region’s camps, as saying his organization did not expect to fill the funding gap.
As for the media office of Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa Al-Sudani, it said last November that the Iraqi government is working on developing an integrated plan for the camps of internally displaced persons, but did not confirm the funding expected to be shared with the Kurdistan Regional Government.
International aid organizations
It is not entirely clear who will fill the gap in coordination between NGOs and UN agencies, as assistance operations shift away from the UN’s coordinated system, the report noted.
He pointed out that major international NGOs say they continue to work in Iraq through funding that comes directly from donors and not through annual appeals led by the United Nations.
This situation may not apply to local NGOs that often do the bulk of the work on the ground, he added.
Overall, NGOs have expressed a range of multiple concerns, including the pace of the transition, how the Iraqi government is involved in changing leadership, and what this transition means when completed, for particularly vulnerable groups.
Samar Abboud, a director at the international non-governmental rescue committee working in Iraq, was quoted by the report as expressing concern about “the rapid timeline for the humanitarian transition in Iraq, and the way it will affect the most vulnerable Iraqis in the post-conflict phase.”
The report concluded by saying that the United Nations now considers that emergency assistance is not intended to continue forever, and with the continuation of the transition process, and Iraq’s transformation into a less urgent destination for the de decombusive humanitarian aid sector, there are still many questions about whether the federal authorities and in the region, will be able to support the needy, without answers.