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UN to slash emergency funding in Iraq by year's end

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As humanitarian aid is prioritised elsewhere, the UN says it is shifting its role in Iraq from individual assistance to system building by the end of the year. In Iraq, authorities are being asked to take greater responsibility for the remaining camps - leaving many residents concerned. (My report for TRT World)

DISCLAIMER: this 2.5 mins barely touches on the complex details or nuance of the UN's move to step away from direct humanitarian assistance in Iraq - bear in mind, next month marks FIVE years since ISIS was declared defeated in the country, and also most of the Syrians in Kawergosk and the dozens of other camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have been there for 8+ years... Unable to return home for entirely different reasons. In addition, federal Iraq policy has BEEN to close to all but one camp (although in reality this has seen an influx of the most desperate and vulnerable to the KRI). In turn, KRG officials say they are unable to plug the funding gap and are calling on international NGOs to stay - many of whom have already left and/or had significant funding cuts, and because of the UN transition will be prioritising development programmes and projects outside of camps.

All sides have a point, except perhaps those still living in shabby camps, who are seeing their funding, support and living conditions decrease year on year. Is it too simplistic to hope the "government" (both federal & local) step up? I had assumed not - but if the structures are not in place already, and the country does not have a humanitarian plan for a long-term response (and issues of state-building in Iraq is a whole other topic...) then what will happen? Has the international community done enough to make a localised response viable in Iraq? Frankly, is protracted displacement so normalised now that it is difficult to imagine an alternative? Is there any political will in the country to fund the very active humanitarian crisis, even if the numbers have stagnated? As the UN scales back its funding for camp services, let's hope governments step up. But currently, those on the ground are seeing little evidence of this.

(More to come...)