Iraq at a crossroads of development and crises
Iraq faces a large-scale humanitarian crisis. Alarming development gaps and security risks affect 5 million people, of which nearly 2.5 million have fled their homes in the central and northern regions, in addition to 245,000 Syrians seeking refuge in Kurdistan.
In 2014, UNDP Iraq helped:
- create jobs and businesses for 14,000 people
- spearhead resilience approaches for 245,000 Syrian refugees
- foster social cohesion among 2,000 people in 11 communities
- provide basic services in camps for 5,000 people
- prevent gender-based violence for 10,000 women and girls
- reach to 91,000 people on mine risks
Between December 2013 and end 2014, nearly 2.5 million of 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.
The Kurdistan Region of Iraq itself hosts 970,000 IDPs and 245,000 Syrian refugees (as of March 2015).
Waves of instability and violence have directly affected more than 5 million people in Iraq. This number 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
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.
Inclusive dialogue to promote social cohesion
UNDP has engaged US$ 3 million over two years through its Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (2014-2015), to develop dialogue platforms for mediating and resolving conflicts; group sessions have started in 11 host communities in Kurdistan with 2,000 refugees and displaced persons. Some 70 local volunteers from host communities facilitate dialogue and arrange community activities. We will build upon inclusive dialogue among youth groups, women’s organizations, religious and community leaders, and media to lift up social cohesion as part of any form of stabilization for Iraq. The Kurdish TV channel Rudaw responded in producing a video clip in three languages (English, Kurdish and Arabic) calling for working together. See top centre of the page.