Support for Integrated Reconciliation Programme
Since 2003, Iraq has undertaken at several major national reconciliation programmes: the first was the Arab League’s attempt in 2005; the second was launched in 2006 as the Reconciliation and National Dialogue Plan; and the third is the process associated with the Baghdad Document after 2014. For different reasons, these initiatives have not yet seen the goal of national unity and stability realized. Instead, Iraq has been subjected to a burgeoning insurgency, rising sectarian tensions, increasing political alienation amongst some sections of the population, the victimization of minorities, and of course, the unprecedented rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Reasons for these challenges and setbacks are complex. Yet, it is clear that, too often, previous attempts at reconciliation fundamentally targeted specific elite and thus weakened the civic participation. Also, the much-neglected relationship between reconciliation on the one hand, and the demand for accountability and transitional justice on the other has resulted in the reconciliation not receiving the careful and systematic attention it deserves and requires.
The current moment in Iraq’s national life offers an unprecedented chance for progress towards national reconciliation. The unity of purpose which has developed in the fight against ISIL provided the hope to enhance the national reconciliation which, for the first time, is led by the real concerns of citizens across the country; and at the same time, be responsibly balanced with the inalienable right of victims to accountability and redress.
At the onset of 2017, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) established the Reconciliation Unit. Through this Unit, UNDP intends to develop a nuanced, systematic approach to transitional justice and reconciliation that would resonate with Iraqi citizens’ most pressing concerns, in partnership with the Implementation and Follow Up National Reconciliation Committee (IFNRC) and its respective partners. This project comes under the new Support for Integrated Reconciliation Programme, and works in close partnership with, and complementary to UNAMI’s historical settlement process with Iraq’s political leadership.
This project is neither simply a “community-level”, nor a “national-level” reconciliation process, but an approach to develop, support and sustain civic participation in reconciliation and transitional justice processes at every level of society, from communities to the highest corridors of power.
This approach can be characterized as:
• Locally-owned, not imposed,
• Victim-centred, rather than predominantly perpetrator-focused,
• Inclusive, not sectarian, and
• Civic-led not only top-down.
To achieve this, UNDP is working to support the development of a three-fold mechanism, each of which will build on, and expand, existing initiatives, and be conducted under the leadership of Iraqi stakeholders. These are:
1. A National Network of Civic Platforms dedicated to reconciliation at all levels in society;
2. Public awareness campaigns focused on reconciliation and transitional justice; and
3. Preparatory work towards the establishment of a Citizens Archive and eventually, a comprehensive transitional justice programme for Iraq.
This project has a total budget of US$4.2 million funded by generous donors as illustrated in the following table.
Germany's Federal Foreign Office (FFO)
The United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)