Iraq: Inter-Cluster Coordination Group - Terms of reference – 2020

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The Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG) in Iraq is a country-specific supplement to the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) global standard ICCG ToRs of 2015. The ToR was agreed by the ICCG on 13 February 2020 and endorsed by the HC and HCT on 5 April 2020. The ToRs seek to ensure that the humanitarian coordination architecture in Iraq is fit for purpose, enabling clusters and other relevant partners to achieve principled, predictable, timely, effective, concerted and efficient humanitarian action.


I. Promote a coordinated response to humanitarian operations across sectors to ensure that the humanitarian response is delivered in line with humanitarian principles and international standards, joint strategic planning, priorities and targets through the Humanitarian Programme Cycle;

II. Share operational information on challenges, gaps, capacities and response and adapt activities accordingly, with a view to ensuring effective and efficient delivery of humanitarian assistance;

III. Provide the HCT with operational and strategic analysis of the humanitarian situation in order to inform their decision-making process.


  1. Humanitarian Programme Cycle: Joint planning and implementation of the Humanitarian Programme Cycle through joint needs assessment, joint analysis, joint prioritization and joint response planning, including:

a. Development of Periodic Monitoring Review (PMR), Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO), Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and Lessons Learnt/Evaluations;

b. Support development and implementation of allocation strategies for the Iraq Humanitarian Fund (IHF);

c. Facilitating joint analysis, planning, response and reporting on cross-cutting issues, including Centrality of Protection, Population Movements, Accountability to Affected People/Communicating with Communities (AAP/CwC), Durable Solutions/Nexus as applicable to HRP, Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA), Gender-Based Violence (GBV), Gender/Age and Disability;

d. Regular follow up on implementation status of the joint response plan, including on cross-cutting issues.

e. Support IHF allocation processes as outlined in the CBPF Global Guidelines and IHF Operational Manual.

  1. Operational coordination between clusters:

a. Ensure cluster HRP response plans, as well as contingency and transitions plans, are mutually reinforcing, without gaps or overlaps, in order to support service delivery

across clusters and eventually a responsible system-wide transition and scale down of services;

b. Maintain an overview of the humanitarian response and gap analysis through various inter-cluster information products (Operational Dashboards, Funding Snapshots) as well as coordination of individual cluster gap analyses;

c. Promote coherence by clusters and among clusters in line with humanitarian principles and IASC guidelines as well as HCT policies and strategies, including through application of standards, guidelines and good practices across all areas of responsibility (e.g. assessments, response, monitoring etc.);

d. Integrate cross-sectoral issues into the response as/when relevant, including promoting the use of CVA when feasible and advocating for inclusive and gender and age sensitive programming;

e. Support development of the IHF Allocation Strategy and related follow-up actions as outlined in the IHF Operational Manual.

f. Provide operational direction and support to sub-national coordination groups and strategic guidance/direction to the technical working groups set up under the ICCG.

  1. Ensure that coordination structures are fit-for-purpose and in line with international standards:

a. Maintain effective coordination structures, including through proper ICCG work planning, engagement at meetings, workshops, regular reviews of the coordination architecture and ICCG performance;

b. Ensure adequate transition planning, followed by coherent exit strategies to support moving from emergency phase to recovery and development;

c. Ensure that global guidance and good practices, including from IASC, are consulted and included as needed, with individual clusters responsible for incorporating views and guidance from Global Clusters and Lead Agency Headquarters.

  1. Support the HCT/HC in effective decision-making:

a. Inform and make recommendations to the HCT/HC on operational matters for decision-points, including on key issues, gaps, challenges, capacities and opportunities.

b. Identify core advocacy concerns and prepare joint positions/messaging for HCT follow-up (high-level advocacy or strategic guidance), including on resource mobilization.


The ICCG is chaired by the OCHA Head of Office/Deputy Head of Office, with OCHA’s Inter-Cluster Coordination Unit serving as its secretariat.
Permanent members of the ICCG are the national-level Cluster Coordinators and Cocoordinators of the officially established clusters in Iraq (CCCM, Education, Emergency Livelihoods, Food Security, Health, Protection, Shelter/NFI and WASH); the officially established Protection sub-clusters (Child Protection; Gender-Based Violence; Housing, Land and Properties; and Mine Action); as well as the Coordinator and Co-Coordinator of the Common Coordination Services Sector. The NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq (NCCI) is also a member of the ICCG, representing international and national NGOs.
To ensure proper linkages to other fora, standing invitations will be extended to the working groups established under the ICCG (AAP/CwC Working Group, Cash Working Group,
Assessment Working Group and IM Working Group). Standing invitations will also be extended to the Returns Working Group, Iraq Information Center (IIC), the IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) and key development/transition actors (including the Durable Solutions Advisor to the RC/HC, the Development Coordination Office (DCO) and the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS)).
In addition, ad-hoc invitations to be extended depending on the agenda for the meetings to other actors, including, but not limited to: ICRC, PSEA Network Coordinator, Access Working Group Coordinator, REACH Initiative, Logistics Sector, and the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM).


The ICCG is based in Erbil, with a standing VTC connection to Baghdad. As needed, and when possible, participants may call in from other locations.


• The modus operandi is governed by the Principles of Partnership.

• ICCG meetings are held every two weeks, with ad-hoc meetings convened as necessary.
Cross-cutting issues will be integrated into the agenda, at least once a month. To improve coordination, all ICCG members will be using the events calendar in https://HumanitarianResponse.Info to schedule meetings and other key events.

• The agenda for ICCG meetingsis established based on the ICCG workplan and in consultation with members, who are invited to suggest agenda items by email up until two days before the meeting. The agenda for each meeting should include the following standing items: operational updates, programmatic updates, protection updates and HCT feedback. The agenda is circulated by email two days before the meeting.

• Minutes of the ICCG meetings and follow-up actions are circulated by OCHA within two working days of each meeting. Clusters are asked to review and provide comments, if any, within two working days from circulation. Once finalized, these are shared with the HCT and are part of the public record. Cluster Coordinators and Co-Coordinators are responsible for following up on the action points in a timely manner.

• Should both the Cluster Coordinator and Co-Coordinator be unable to attend a meeting, the cluster should designate a cluster representative, who is fully authorized to act on behalf of the cluster and communicate the designation to OCHA in advance of the meeting. The same applies to other meetings/activities taken on behalf of the ICCG e.g. inter-cluster field visits / assessment missions. The ICCG Chair presents to the HCT key ICCG actions that require strategic and policy guidance and decisions on a regular basis. The ICCG Chair also ensures that feedback and guidance from HCT meetings is provided to the ICCG. Cluster lead agencies are nonetheless responsible for representing their clusters in the HCT. Cluster Coordinators and Co-Coordinators ensure regular briefings with their Cluster Lead agencies on key issues in the clusters that require the attention of the HCT.


• Purpose: The role of sub-national coordination is to help operational agencies work collaboratively together to meet needs and achieve outcomes in a designated geographic area through the cluster coordination structures. Proximity to areas of operation ensures that actors are supported through more detailed operational coordination, and that decisions of the national ICCG and HCT can be translated into action at the operational level. Protection is central to all aspects of a sub-national coordination group’s work in accordance with the IASC Protection Policy.

• Composition: membership will depend on the clusters/sectors established in the area and the specificities of the area (e.g. in a more advanced transition stage, humanitarian or postconflict). National level clusters are responsible for nominating dedicated sub-national coordinators, cluster focal points or have cluster lead agencies represent their sector and ensure linkages with national platforms. Clear roles, responsibilities, delegation of authority and accountability will be established in all cases through written agreements, MoUs or cluster-specific TORs.

• Responsibilities: The sub-national ICCGs will work in line with the priorities and commitments set by the national ICCG, specifically in the four areas noted above (HPC, operational coordination, maintain a presence fit-for-purpose, and to inform decisionmaking). Specific responsibilities include: o Inform and operationalize the main HPC documents, including HNO, HRP, PMR and lessons learnt exercises/evaluations. o Monitor and report on gaps in response, access constraints, capacity gaps (incl. of local authorities and partners) in the area of responsibility, with the reports submitted to national level for action in timely manner. o Identify and coordinate multi-sectoral or joint programming in a specific area or for a specific population group. o Plan for, and respond to, new and localized emergencies, including through emergency response preparedness, conducting joint needs assessments and activating rapid response mechanisms, as required. o Input into national level transition and durable solutions plans and frameworks. o Provide a consolidated voice and representation to local government (in line with global and national guidance), particularly when the number of agencies becomes voluminous and when joint advocacy is required. o Strengthen or maintain linkages between the field and national ICCGs, as well as the other coordination mechanisms in the area of responsibility.


The ToRs should be reviewed or amended on an annual basis or as needed, based on recommendations from the HC/HCT and the ICCG.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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