Mid-Year Review of the Regional Response Plan for Iraqi Refugees 2011
The 2011 Regional Response Plan for Iraqi Refugees (RRP) provides a comprehensive and strategic framework for responding to the immediate needs of Iraqi refugees in twelve countries: Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. It follows the principles of joint planning of the consolidated appeal process (CAP) and represents a strategic response to the situation of the Iraqi refugees in the region. It is coordinated by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in view of the particular nature of the operation and UNHCR’s refugee mandate.
Participating agencies and partners have agreed to common objectives, to enhance coordination to avoid duplication of activities, and to ensure complementarity in responding to the needs of Iraqi refugees in the region. The RRP also looks to the future and focuses the efforts of the humanitarian community on paving the way for durable solutions for Iraqis displaced in the region.
In the first six months of 2011, host countries across the region have continued to offer their hospitality and protection to Iraqi refugees. All countries have experienced new arrivals, and registrations in each country are continuing (including of Iraqis who had not approached UNHCR before), especially in the three countries hosting the largest numbers of Iraqi refugees – Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. The humanitarian community continued to provide assistance and protection, and to focus on finding durable solutions. Working with host governments, donors, national frameworks and development agencies, solutions are sought to ensure continued protection and enhance self-reliance amongst refugee communities.
The Iraqi refugees’ situation is becoming increasingly protracted. The overall conditions have not significantly improved in the first six months of 2011, while the needs and vulnerabilities have heightened. With the situation in Iraq still precarious, the humanitarian community does not expect the number of refugees to decrease significantly in the second half of 2011. Indeed, the number of families that have approached humanitarian agencies for assistance to return to Iraq remains extremely low.
The majority of refugees who do decide to return are doing so without taking advantage of UNHCR’s help, preferring to maintain a link in a country of asylum while assessing the conditions in Iraq. Refugees also continue to depart to resettlement countries, albeit by lower rates than initially anticipated.
The civil unrest that has swept the Middle East in the first six months of 2011 has not significantly affected countries hosting majority of refugees from Iraq – with the notable exception of Syria. In some cases this situation contributed to delays and disruption of the smooth implementation of projects, while the most evident consequence is a suspension of interviewing missions by several resettlement countries, which will delay the resettlement process.
During the mid-year review process, agencies agreed that the strategic objectives and targets for 2011 remain valid. Progress towards achieving the country’s specific strategic objectives is presented in the tables in each country chapter.
The total funding received for the RRP in the first five months of 2011 stands at 35% of the overall RRP requirements. While this percentage is low compared to overall needs, it represents an increase of 18% compared to the same period in 2010. This can be seen as recognition of efforts by humanitarian partners in presenting a strategic and coordinated response to address the needs of Iraqi refugees in the region. Nevertheless, despite this increase, the funding available is still far from what is needed to ensure proper implementation of activities as foreseen in the plan. While some projects are relatively well-funded, there is a plethora of organizations who have not received any funding, and as a result several agencies have had to adjust their requirements.