The Iraq Humanitarian Fund (IHF, formerly known as the Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund) is a pooled fund led by the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) and managed by OCHA. Established in June 2015, the IHF quickly became one of the world’s largest country-based pooled funds (CBPFs). The fund supports humanitarian partners responding to the complex and dynamic crisis in Iraq, including through direct funding to national front-line responders.
The objectives of the IHF are to:
- Support life-saving and life-sustaining activities while filling critical funding gaps.
- Promote needs-based assistance in accordance with humanitarian principles.
- Strengthen coordination and leadership primarily through the HC function and by leveraging the cluster system.
- Improve the relevance and coherence of humanitarian response by strategically funding priorities as identified under the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP).
- Expand the delivery of assistance in hard-to-reach areas by partnering with national and international NGOs.
The IHF facilitates timely resource mobilization for the most critical humanitarian needs as defined by the HRP, while retaining flexibility to allocate funds to unforeseen emergency needs and critical gaps as they emerge.
From 2016 to 2017, the Fund has addressed escalating humanitarian needs in the wake of military offensives to retake areas controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) including Fallujah and Mosul. For the Mosul response, the IHF was among the first, fastest and largest funding mechanisms available for humanitarian partners, contributing over 15 per cent of the US$284 million Mosul Flash Appeal.
In 2018 and 2019, the IHF remained pivotal in addressing shifting needs of vulnerable population amid the transition from a rapid response to massive displacement to a protracted crisis in search for durable solutions.
Throughout 2019, the Fund allocated $77.9 million to support 66 projects of 38 direct recipient partners, largely through NGO-led consortia aimed at strengthening the capacity of national actors. Together, these allocations supported 80 partners including UN agencies, international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Red Cross/Crescent Movement, and government counterparts, channeling 79 per cent of funds to NGO partners including 17 per cent to national NGOs.
In 2020, the IHF continually promotes NGO-led consortia to reinforce and further cultivate the role of reliable national actors in the humanitarian coordination architecture to deliver more cost-effective, culturally appropriate and sustainable humanitarian assistance. In support of the 2020 HRP, the IHF aims to:
- Prioritize out of camp and other underserved locations utilizing as much as possible local NGO capacity.
- Fund specific gaps and global priorities through thematic allocation strategies in the areas of protection from sexual exploitation and abuse and accountability to affected populations.
In May, the Fund launched the year’s first Standard Allocation to support prioritized 2020 HRP activities in eight sectors that also contribute to the rapidly scaled-up COVID19 prevention and response in Iraq, mainly in out-of-camp and other underserved locations. The IHF through this allocation utilized the consortium approach aimed at enhancing the participation and response capacity of national partners; a net funding of $3.6 million (30 per cent of the total allocation) was disbursed to national NGOs. The allocation funds 20 projects implemented by 42 partners including 20 international NGOs, 16 national NGOs, 5 UN agencies and 1 Red Cross/Red Crescent organization. At least 1.2 million people are targeted with humanitarian assistance.
In October, the Humanitarian Cooridnator approved a Cost Extension Strategy to top up cluster-recommended projects funded through the 2020 1st Standard Allocation and 2019 2nd Standard Allocation, with a combined cost extension amount of up to $12.3 million. These cost extensions will allow for quick disbursement of funds with minimum processing time and extra work for clusters and partners to support the expanded operation of already-formed consortia, addressing critical operational and funding gaps in the 2020 HRP.
In view of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Iraq and the need to scale up support to the Government in managing a larger number of cases in displacement camps, the IHF launched a Reserve Allocation in November to support COVID-19 quarantine and isolation (Q/I) area set up in IDP camps. The $2.4 million allocation will support Q/I area installation and running costs in prioritized camps that are least likely to close immediately, through shelter/NFI, health and WASH interventions.