Iraq: Humanitarian Bulletin, September 2021

Situation Report
Originally published
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• Gaps and Challenges in the 2021 Response

• Establishment of the Mosul ABC group

• Latest Findings from Protection Monitoring System

• General Assembly Side-Event on Durable Solutions

Gaps and Challenges in the 2021 Response

As humanitarian partners in Iraq prepare for the 2022 Humanitarian Programme Cycle, understanding the current gaps in the 2021 humanitarian response will better inform planning for the year ahead. To this end, the Iraq Inter-Cluster Coordination Group undertook a mid-year response gap analysis, evaluating the activities of humanitarian actors in Iraq between January – July 2021. In the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), humanitarian partners set out to cover the critical needs of 1.5 million people living in 63 districts out of Iraq’s total 101 districts. Despite the continuation of the COVID19 pandemic, humanitarian partners provided at least one form of assistance, at least one time, to 641,000 people (43 per cent of the target) from January to July 2021. 1 At the intersectoral level, all internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in camps were reached with some kind of assistance, while 58 per cent of out-of-camp IDPs and 28 per cent of returnees were reached with some kind of assistance.

As in previous response gap analyses, the shortfalls were found to be more pronounced among certain population groups and in certain locations of the country. In the first seven months of 2021, all clusters experienced some gaps in their planned response. The largest gaps were experienced by Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance (MPCA), with only 2 per cent of targeted families assisted; Education, with 11 per cent assisted; Child Protection, with 21 per cent assisted; WASH with 24 per cent assisted; and Shelter/NFI with 25 per cent assisted. At the intersectoral level, all IDPs living in camps were reached with some kind of assistance, while 58 per cent of out-of-camp IDPs and 28 per cent of returnees were reached with some kind of assistance. For out-of-camp IDPs, the highest response gaps were observed in Ninewa, Erbil and Duhok Governorates, while for returnees the highest response gaps were in Ninewa, Al-Anbar and Salah Al-Din Governorates. Notably, these are also the governorates with the highest targets, and the same governorates where the largest gaps in the humanitarian response were observed in 2020.

Lack of funding is reported as the main reason for gaps in both out-of-camp IDP and returnee response in 2021, with lack of partners as the second most cited reason for the gaps. COVID-19 restrictions, and reprioritization due to population movements, also continue to be cited as reasons for the response gaps by some clusters. Access challenges are the least reported reasons for response gaps, though a number of clusters have pointed to particular access challenges in certain districts in Al-Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, and Salah Al-Din districts. In 2020, specific COVID-19 related movement restrictions contributed to access constraints for many clusters, but these are no longer applicable.

Many clusters have reported that in some out-of-camp locations, populations are too small or too scattered for partners to prioritize those areas, while in other cases, population movements have led to reprioritization of programming. With regard to returnees, there are consistent reports of lack of humanitarian donor interest for funding in return areas; in parallel, several clusters noted that in some districts, the vulnerable returnee population was lower than anticipated when the target was set, due to fewer people having returned than expected.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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