Iraq: Humanitarian Bulletin, June 2019
• Global Country-Based Pooled Fund evaluation comes to Iraq
• Plans to close and consolidate IDP camps
• OCHA facilitates joint mission to Tooz
• United Nations Security Council makes its first visit to Iraq
Mission Evaluating Iraq Humanitarian Fund
The interim findings of the Evaluation Mission of the Iraq Humanitarian Fund (IHF) have been released.
Evaluators visited Iraq from 10-21 June and conducted interviews with donors, UN agencies,
NGOs (local, national and international) and community member focus groups. Key findings included that the IHF had made an important contribution to ensuring a timely and effective response, and that there were improvements in strategic use of funds from 2017 onwards, although there was pressure on the fund to respond to a range of priorities. Overall, evaluators found there was broad support for increased efforts to detect and identify fraud, but noted that such efforts would have implications for IHF implementation and wider humanitarian system in Iraq. The evaluation highlighted implicit tensions in IHF support for Grand Bargain commitments around localization with accountability and risk management considerations.
At the IHF Advisory Board meeting on 20 June, members endorsed the use of the Fund’s Reserve Modality to support the continued work of the NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq (NCCI)’s Bureaucratic Liaison Unit. The Unit supports NGOs in Iraq on registration, visas, tax and importation issues, as well as governmental administrative requirements limiting NGO access and ability to work. Under a reserve allocation in January 2018 the IHF funded the establishment of the unit, and now seeks to ensure greater complementarity between NCCI’s work and OCHA’s broader access work.
Camp Closures and Consolidation
IDP camp closures and consolidations in Iraq have continued in 2019, as humanitarian partners and government authorities collaborate to enable greater delivery of services and ensure that camps meeting minimum humanitarian standards. Thirty camps were closed or consolidated in 2018; during the first six months of 2019, 11 camps were closed and five were partially consolidated, by shuttering unused and under-utilized sections or sub-camps.
Many camps remain substantially occupied, and some camps continue to receive new arrivals. For those who remain in camps, the latest IDP intention survey conducted by CCCM (data released June 2019) indicated that just five per cent of IDPs intend to return to their areas of origin within the coming 12 months.
Verification of household and population figures is occurring in tandem with the closure and consolidation plans. Humanitarian agencies have identified discrepancies in population figures for reasons including unrecorded returns and movements out of camps, as well as suspected intentional inflation of numbers in order to maximize assistance distributed.
In parallel, reports of forced relocations and returns of IDPs are increasing, particularly in Anbar, where some families in Ameriyat at Fallujah (AAF) camp have been given less than 24 hours’ notice to leave by security actors. Protection partners are concerned about threats and intimidation of IDPs, the presence of military actors in the IDP camps, severe restrictions of movement and access to services, such as food and healthcare.
Humanitarian partners agree that camp consolidation and closures may be necessary to ensure minimum standards are met, but that any returns must be safe, voluntary, informed, dignified and sustainable.