Iraq: 3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2016-2017 in Response to the Syria Crisis
Introduction & Context
As the five year old conflict in Syria persists, Syrian refugees continue to flee into neighbouring countries with close to 250,000 persons registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Iraq as of November 2015. Of these, 65 per cent are women and children and over 22 per cent are young men who have missed out on essential education opportunities and are mostly without work. In this respect additional attention will be given to the No Lost Generation (NLG) initiative.
Since the beginning of the crisis, the humanitarian community -with the leadership of UNHCR- has been working closely with the Government of Iraq (GoI) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in order to provide a coordinated response to the protection and access to services for the Syrian refugees in Iraq. Other stakeholders, including 11 UN sister agencies and some 52 partner organizations (26 appealing under the plan) have been deeply engaged at various levels in the provision and support of protection and assistance, including shelter, core relief items, tailored protection activities, food, health, nutrition, water and sanitation (WASH) and education services.
Implementation centred on mobile service provision and community-based approaches have been increasing in order to maximise the reach and impact of a range of activities.
Throughout 2015, the humanitarian and security situation in Iraq has been extremely complicated with the effects of intensive conflict in various parts of the country resulting in the displacement of over three million Iraqis, including over one million IDPs hosted in the three Governorates of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), alongside the refugee population already hosted there. The KRI hosts 98 per cent of the total number of Syrian refugees in Iraq. The scale of the IDP population has impacted on the Syrian refugees’ ability to attain and maintain selfreliance, with respect to accommodation and employment in particular. With their savings increasingly depleted and available services stretched to capacity, and beyond in some instances, continued humanitarian support remains critical to the wellbeing and dignity of the refugees and those that host them. The extent of humanitarian need in Iraq has severely challenged the response capacity of the GOI, KRG and international community alike.
Heightened security concerns generated by the internal conflict have additionally increased the focus on issues such as documentation, with knock on effects for access to safety, raising concerns over adherence to international standards in some cases.
Iraq, and in particular the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), has shown great generosity since the refugee crisis began in 2012 in granting residency permits to Syrian refugees, facilitating their right to work and their freedom of movement. Despite serious budget constraints the authorities and people of the KRI remain committed partners in the refugee response. Among other activities, the KRG has funded infrastructure costs in many refugee camps including the extension of electricity networks; the KRG has also funded the cost of the electricity supply and contributed to costs related to health and education. Refugees who live out of camps benefit from services available to the local community, which, in densely populated displacement areas, are supported by the complementary interventions of the international community in the form of Quick Impact Projects and other forms of support.
The response to the Syrian refugee emergency is coordinated with relevant ministries, and other governmental structures at both national and KRI levels, UN agencies and international and national NGOs. The Ministry of Migration and Displacement is a key government partner and the Ministry of Interior of the KRG is the main partner for the refugee response specific to the KRI, while the Ministry of Planning is playing an increasingly important and dynamic role in the design and monitoring of the refugee response programme.
Partnerships between responding authorities and agencies has resulted in the complementary implementation of activities.