Following the high number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq that returned to their area of origin (AoO) from 2016 to mid-2018, the rate of return slowed and remained comparatively low from mid-2018 onwards. In 2019, the Iraqi government initiated a plan to close IDP camps in order to facilitate returns.2 While the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily slowed this process down, the camp closures continued through 2020. As of September 2020, 1.3 million IDPs remained in protracted displacement throughout the country. This included almost 251,765 individuals who resided in 43 formal IDP camps, or 67 camps when including sub-camps in composite camp areas.
The Iraq Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster strategy has shifted to consider and support safe camp consolidations and closures in order to adapt to the shifting trend of IDP returns and to ensure minimum CCCM standards are being met across ageing camps. The primary aim of this situation overview is to examine trends in IDP camp conditions over a three year period (2018-2020). It compares the changes in key indicators in each camp to better assess how the situation in camps has evolved and where further improvements might be needed. The overview also seeks to monitor camp compliance with the minimum standards established by the CCCM Cluster during this period and reinforce the accountability of camp management.
The rounds included for the comparative overview are:
- August-September 2020 (round XIV)
- July-August 2019 (round XII)
- July-August 2018 (round X)
The selection of camps included in the assessment was based on the following criteria:
- Open during the period of data collection;
- Contained a minimum of 100 households; and
- No security or accessibility constraints were present.
A mixed methodology approach to data collection was employed for this assessment, consisting of: a household survey with a representative sample of households from each camp; key informant interviews with the camp manager of each camp; and mapping of camp infrastructure using satellite imagery analysis and physical surveillance of infrastructure by enumerators on the ground.
For rounds X and XII, the household survey employed a random probability sampling technique. The sample drawn for each camp was calculated to achieve a 95% confidence level and a 10% margin of error at the camp level. When aggregated to the national level, findings are representative with the same confidence level and margin of error. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions, data was collected through phone-based interviews for round XIV and purposive sampling was used. The sample size was calculated to make it as consistent as possible with previous rounds. However, the purposive strategy used means that round XIV’s sample may not be representative and the results should be considered as indicative only. For each round, population figures for each camp were drawn from the most recent Iraq CCCM Camp Master List and Population Flow database, maintained by the CCCM Cluster.
In partnership, the CCCM Cluster and REACH have conducted 12 rounds of the camp profiling and mapping assessment throughout formal camps in Iraq. These profiling exercises initially took place on a quarterly basis, but as the situation in many of the IDP camps stabilised over time, the assessment has been conducted twice a year since 2016.