Five years after a large-scale military operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the humanitarian situation in Iraq has improved considerably. The number of people who require humanitarian assistance, because of this conflict, had declined from 11 million people in 2017 to 2.5 million in 2022. These included 1.7 million returnees, 180,000 internally displaced people living in camps and 550,000 people living outside camps.
Residual humanitarian needs
Despite the significant progress made in humanitarian response, about 991,000 people still faced multiple vulnerabilities, underscoring a high need for assistance to survive. The barriers to their ability to attain stability in their lives were closely interlinked. Chief among these were poor and insecure living conditions that increased their vulnerability to protection violations, a lack of critical civil documentation that adversely affected their access to essential government services, and challenges in meeting their basic needs because of limited livelihood opportunities that led to reliance on harmful coping mechanisms. Of particular concern were female-headed households, people with disability, and children.
Given the accelerated efforts towards durable solutions, and conscious that many of the remaining challenges required long-term structural solutions beyond the humanitarian response, the humanitarian community in Iraq revised its approach to needs analysis for the 2022 Iraq Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) to better identify the people most in need.
The 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) aimed to reach 991,000 people, to be supported by humanitarian programming with a total funding requirement of $400 million. Under the HRP Strategic Objectives, humanitarian agencies aimed to provide 180,000 displaced people in camps, 234,000 living in out-of-camp areas, and 577,000 returnees with assistance to: (i) live in safety and dignity; (ii) access essential services; and (iii) meet their basic needs.
Between late 2021 and early 2022, the Iraq Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) begun discussions to prepare for the transition from a humanitarian-only response plan to a development-focused approach, as this would better serve the needs of all citizens in Iraq, and not just those affected by the ISIL crisis.
With the deactivation of the cluster system in Iraq by 31 December 2022, the HCT decided not to develop an HRP for 2023. However, in an effort to ensure continuity of support to the Government of Iraq (GoI), and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), to respond to the remaining humanitarian needs during 2023, the Iraq Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) agreed to develop a Humanitarian Transition Overview (HTO). The overview describes the critical residual humanitarian needs that the government and development partners are not in a position to fully cover in 2023, defines the HCT’s priorities for programming and fundraising, and helps donors and agencies prioritize humanitarian support in 2023.