Iraq at a crossroads of development and crises

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Iraq faces a large-scale humanitarian crisis. Alarming development gaps and security risks directly affect 5 million iraqi. Between December 2013 and May 2015, nearly 3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) have fled their homes in central and northern Iraq, seeking security in Kurdistan, and other governorates such as Karbala, Diyala, Najaf and Basra.

In 2014-2015, UNDP Iraq helped:

  • create jobs and businesses for 14,000 people
  • provide basic services in camps for 4,000 people in Dohuk and 900 in Sulaymaniyah
  • prevent gender-based violence for 10,000 women and girls
  • reach to 91,000 people on mine risks

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq itself hosts 970,000 IDPs and 245,000 Syrian refugees (as of first quarter 2015). These numbers may increase even further as counter-insurgency efforts continue. 

The impact of this unprecedented humanitarian crisis extends beyond populations to all institutions, systems and political processes.

With the UN  Refugee Agency (UNHCR), UNDP is spearheading resilience approaches to help Syrian refugees and IDPs rebuild their livelihoods and become more self-reliant in the medium-term.

This incorporates the broader issue of social cohesion, which is at the heart of any form of stabilization, and sits at the centre of the United Nations strategic planning in Iraq.

Income generation and basic social infrastructure

Infrastructure Barznja campSupport to local authorities to equip camps with water, sanitation and electricity systems. Photo: Barznja camp, Sulaymaniyah © UNDP/Ann J. Ward

UNDP leads the UN support to employment and income generation, so that people are able to take care of themselves and become less dependent on handouts. 

UNDP supports central and local authorities in leading the crisis response, and in the rehabilitation of basic social infrastructure, particularly in those areas where the return of displaced people is possible.  

UNDP seeks to pre-empt gross human rights violations, reduce risks of gender-based violence, and to foster dialogue among diverse communities in developing tools to mediate and resolve conflicts.

Amongst other critical activities, UNDP funds a mine action programme, which reached to some 90,000 displaced people and refugees in Kurdistan in 2014.

Finally, UNDP steps-up its support to strengthening legal, judicial and security sector reforms. This includes capacity building to help the Iraqi government implement its 4-year development programme and timely address potential setbacks in the country's socio-economic development.

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