Iraq: Survey on National Access Authorizations, As of September 2020

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Humanitarian activities and movement in Federal Iraq have been restricted since late November 2019, when the Federal government suspended the national-level access authorization mechanism for non-government organisations (NGOs). The national access letter is essential for humanitarian actors to reach and provide assistance to vulnerable people in federal Iraq, and the impact of the suspension of the national-level access authorization letters for humanitarian partners (NGOs) has accrued over time. Since the beginning of the year, the government has been working to establish a national mechanism for access authorization for NGOs working in Federal Iraq governorates.

On 25 July, the Office of the Prime Minister issued a circular instructing Operations Commands that only the access letters issued by the National Operations Center were required to facilitate movement of humanitarian organizations.
On 21 September, OCHA conducted a rapid survey to determine the impact of the lack of national access authorization for nongovernmental organizations working in Iraq. Of 55 humanitarian organizations that submitted responses, 70 per cent are UN implementing partners. Of those who responded, roughly 88 per cent indicated that the lack of access letters had had a significant impact on their operations. Roughly 43 per cent of respondents indicated that their most recent applications were submitted through the pilot process from March to June 2020, while 34 per cent had submitted requests to the NGO Directorate (DNGO) through email (25 per cent) or through DNGO’s new online system (9 per cent) from 1 July - 21 September. From 25 September through 1 October, there were increased reports of NGOs receiving NOC access letter authorizations through applications submitted to the DNGO, as an ad hoc approach while waiting for formal communication from the PMO on the Government system.

On 24 September, OCHA and NGO representatives met with the national government to discuss the challenges NGOs are facing in delivering humanitarian assistance in Iraq. The government reaffirmed the importance of the work of the international humanitarian organizations in Iraq and its commitment to establishing an effective mechanism for authorizing access to people in need in Iraq

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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