In 2020, the number of IDPs returning to their area of origin (AoO) or being re-displaced increased, coupled with persisting challenges in relation to social cohesion, lack of services, infrastructure and - in some cases - insecurity in AoO. Increased returns were driven in part by the ongoing closure and consolidation of IDP camps. Between October 2020 and mid-January 2021, 14 formal IDP camps closed or were reclassified into informal sites by the Government of Iraq (GoI), in addition two informal sites – Al-Ishaqi and Al-Shams – were also closed. Ongoing planning continues surrounding the future of the remaining camps across Iraq. A total of 4.86 million returnees have been recorded in Iraq, with 1.2 million IDPs still in displacement.
In light of these dynamics, the need to better understand the factors influencing the sustainability of returns, conditions for the (re)integration of IDPs and returnees, and the impact of their presence on access to services and social cohesion has been identified in the context of humanitarian and development planning. In response, since June 2020, REACH assessed 10 sub-districts of return in Ninewa Governorate (Markaz Al-Baaj, Markaz Mosul, Al-Qairawan, and Markaz Sinjar subdistricts), Salah Al-Din Governorate (Markaz Tooz Khurmato and Yathreb sub-districts), Diyala Governorate (Markaz Al-Muqdadiyah Sub-district), Kirkuk Governorate (Markaz Daquq Sub-district) and Al-Anbar Governorate (Al-Rummaneh and Markaz Al-Garma sub-districts) in coordination with the RWG.
The need to cover information gaps still being considered a priority as reported in the different Area-Based Coordination groups (ABCs) established across Iraq under the Durable Solutions Technical Working Group (DSTWG). To address this gap, REACH will continue conducting rapid assessments to profile priority sub-districts of return and/or secondary displacement where there was identified a risk to the sustainable (re)integration of populations, and therefore durable solutions. The sub-districts will be identified in coordination with the RWG, and aligned with the ABCs areas of interest classified as ‘hotspots’ where conditions may threaten the viability and sustainability of return or (re)integration.
The profiles – called Return and Durable Solutions profiles (ReDS) – aimed to provide evidence base to support humanitarian and development actors to promote durable solutions for returnees and IDPs in situations of protracted displacement on multiple levels, including:
1) Development of strategic dialogue, policy development, and resource mobilization efforts,
2) Development of localized interventions, and
3) Advocacy with government actors around camp closures, consolidation, premature returns, and conditions in areas of origin to allow sustainable returns.
As indicated by the information need within the context, six factsheets will be released before 31 December 2021. Key findings for each location will be compiled in a PowerPoint presentation, in addition to the factsheet, to be disseminated through relevant coordination platforms in order to inform prioritization and effectiveness of ongoing and future programming, such as through the RWG, the Durable Solutions Technical Working Group’s (DSTWG) Area-Based Coordination Groups (ABCs), and relevant general coordination meeting (GCM). As relevant, findings can also be presented in the non-coordination group meetings for learning and informing response, including through thematic groups (such as the Emergency Livelihoods Cluster and/or national Peace and Reconciliation Working Group) and other subnational coordination mechanisms relevant in the assessed locations. In addition, a dissemination letter will be share via email through the RWG, and by uploading the outputs in Relief Web and REACH Resource Centre. As indicated by the information need within the context, six factsheets will be released before 31 December 2021.