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 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 2019 and 2020, the IHF promoted 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.
Throughout 2021 - despite significant achievements in reducing the humanitarian needs resulting from the 2014-2017 military operations against ISIL - a range of protracted needs remained for a number of highly vulnerable people in Iraq, due to limited recovery, reconstruction and reconciliation activities. Under the 2021 HRP, humanitarian organizations focused on providing highly targeted assistance to 1.5 million IDPs and returnees with complex and overlapping needs.
In 2021, the IHF allocated $25.4 million through a Standard Allocation in April and a Reserve Allocation in November. Both allocations aimed to address critical unmet humanitarian needs among out-of-camp IDPs and vulnerable returnees in underserved locations. Together, these allocations supported priority HRP interventions in protection, essential health and WASH services, and emergency cash and livelihoods assistance.
In line with the Fund’s continued commitment to localization, both allocations promoted the participation and capacity-building of national partners through multi-NGO consortia. As a result, 33 per cent of the net funding through 2021 allocations were channelled to national NGOs, the highest in the Fund’s history. In addition, particular consideration was given to projects that mainstreamed gender (especially women and girls), worked to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, and addressed the specific needs of persons with disabilities. These allocations supported 24 projects being implemented by 46 partners (including 19 national NGOs), targeting at least 642,000 people across nine governorates of Iraq.