Consolidated Appeal for Iraq 2008

12 February 2008

Humanitarian needs in Iraq have risen sharply over the last two years, exacerbating chronic problems that stem from the past two decades.  Millions of Iraqis now face widespread suffering and deprivation. 

In many areas, social services are failing and rule of law is absent.  Fear prevents some families from accessing services such as schools and hospitals and professionals from providing them - despite Iraq¡'s significant capacity to provide for its people.  Conflict and criminality have killed an estimated 151,000 civilians, created tens of thousands of widows and orphans, cut 60% of the population off from least one essential social service, forced 1.26 million people to flee their homes since 2006 (adding to previous internal displacement levels of 1.2 million), and left more than 4 million Iraqis food-insecure. 

There has been an improvement in the security situation and fall in the number of violent incidents in since July 2007, particularly in Baghdad.  Nevertheless, Iraqi families continue to face daily challenges to their lives and livelihoods.  In recognition of the urgency of addressing this situation, Security Council Resolution 1770 called on all actors to address Iraq¡'s humanitarian needs rapidly, comprehensively and within the broader frame of Iraq¡'s longer-term recovery goals. 

The 2008 Iraq Consolidated Appeal (CAP) is an action plan to fulfill this mandate.  It aims to meet immediate, priority needs of the most vulnerable Iraqis and other residents regardless of status (including but not limited to internally displaced people in most need) through independent and impartial action. 

The $265 million requested in this CAP reflects the portion of current humanitarian needs that agencies and NGOs can meet over the coming 12 months in the areas of water and sanitation, food security, essential health services, protection, shelter and education.  It targets those unmet needs until Government resources and capacities come into effect.  Approximately 22% of those displaced, for example, cannot access the nationwide Public Distribution System for food.  The actions planned in the CAP will assist those people until national services can occur. 

The CAP mobilizes the considerable operational capacity of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as equitable partners in Iraq.  There are 15 NGO projects in the CAP (comprising 23% of all projects).  This does not reflect the enormous contribution of NGOs in the CAP process itself, which resulted in a more realistic evaluation of needs and potential responses.  A stand-by Expanded Humanitarian Response Fund (ERF), also included in the CAP, will further support NGOs as well as UN agencies by providing rapid funding in the event of sudden, unforeseen emergencies.

Humanitarian action in Iraq has increased steadily over the last two years.  This CAP brings together these interventions into an overall framework so that agencies respond together in a more strategic and effective way.  It will also enable closer linkages to the ongoing rehabilitation and recovery efforts that agencies have been actively pursuing particularly through the ITF. 

This CAP signals the beginning of a process bringing together United Nations Agencies and NGOs to adopt a shared strategic direction and maximize operational capacity on the ground.  Working in Iraq remains extremely hazardous.  This CAP aims to mobilize the enormous will and capacity to assist families in Iraq: from Iraqis themselves, who continue to brave enormous risks; from NGOs, who work closely and discreetly with the trust of local communities; and from UN Agencies who can mobilize significant national resources and capacities. 

However, there are still gaps in coordination and information to be filled.  Data collection mechanisms are still limited, and assistance not always feasible.  Coordinated mechanisms for analysis, monitoring and evaluation are built into this CAP, recognizing the need for a stronger evidence base.  These steps will increase our accountability to beneficiaries and donors and bolster the effectiveness of humanitarian action.  Iraqis deserve no less.

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12 February 2008

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