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 2020, the Fund allocated $32.1 million to support 41 projects of 34 direct recipient partners, largely through multi-NGO consortia. Together, these allocations supported 65 partners including UN agencies, international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Red Cross/Crescent Movement, and government counterparts, channeling 94 per cent of funds to NGO partners including 23 per cent to national NGOs.
In 2021, the Fund is pursuing the following strategic objectives:
- Prioritize returnees (with a focus on those with critical shelter needs) and out-of-camp IDPs in underserved locations utilizing local NGO capacity to the furthest extent possible.
- Fund underfunded global humanitarian priorities through thematic allocation strategies to promote: support to women and girls (including GBV); programmes targeting disabled people; and other aspects of protection.
In April 2021, The Fund launched the year’s first Standard Allocation of $13.5 million, aimed at providing vulnerable returnees and out-of-camp IDPs in underserved locations with targeted protection assistance, improved access to essential health and WASH services, and agricultural and emergency livelihood support prioritized under the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). The allocation has an overall objective to address issues driving an increase in severity of humanitarian needs in Iraq over the past year, and to jumpstart the implementation of key recommendations from the recently completed 2020 HRP gap analysis.
The allocation also supports the IHF’s continued pursuit of the Grand Bargain commitment on localization through promoting multi-NGO consortia as a preferred funding modality, aimed at enhancing the participation and capacity of national partners. Finally, in line with the Fund’s strategic objective for 2021, the allocation aims to channel funds to underfunded areas of humanitarian response, through prioritizing projects which mainstream gender (especially women and girls), specific needs of persons with disabilities, and gender-based violence (see the allocation strategy for details).