Investing in a people-centered approach to ‘reconstruction’
At the Iraq Reconstruction Conference hosted by Kuwait in 2018, participants should pledge to build back more than just buildings and roads— supporting the Iraqi people and ensuring that national institutions are effective and accountable will be critical for promoting a peaceful and resilient Iraq.
- While 3.2 million people have returned to their areas of origin and many more may desire to do, returns must be voluntary and informed. Donors should prioritize funding for clearance of explosive remnants of war, discourage Iraqi authorities against forced, premature, or blocked returns, and promote alternative solutions to displacement for those who are unwilling or unable to return.
- For those displaced by the conflict in Iraq, the ability to work and generate income is consistently reported as one of the highest needs. Donors should invest in longer-term market-based livelihoods interventions across Iraq, particularly for young male and female entrepreneurs who can harness this potential to support their families and revitalize communities.
- In February 2017, nearly 50% of IDP families were estimated to be missing some form of civil documentation, which are needed to register for humanitarian and governmental assistance, and access education and employment opportunities. Donors should encourage the Iraqi government to expedite judicial processes to issue or replace civil documentation and ensure that national social protection systems are accessible.
- Throughout the conflict, many people have been injured or had their property destroyed, and have been unable to attain compensation from Iraqi or Coalition authorities. The Iraqi government should strengthen judicial mechanisms on accountability for conflict-related crimes and allocate adequate resources for formal compensation mechanisms. Members of the Coalition should provide compensation to Iraqi civilians for injuries, loss of life or property resulting from Coalition actions during the conflict.
- 50% of public schools in Iraq require rehabilitation. By June 2017, more than 3 million children did not attend school regularly and more than 1.2 million children (including 90% of children in conflict-affected areas) were out of school. Donors should invest in school reconstruction and rehabilitation, as well as clearance of explosive remnants of war from schools. To improve the accessibility and quality of education, the Government of Iraq should ease barriers that inhibit children from re-integrating into formal education and donors should support the Iraqi Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Education to ensure teachers are paid their salaries.
- After years of exposure to war, insecurity, and risk, millions of Iraqis need to heal from the individual and collective trauma they endured. Donors should invest in family and community-based psychosocial support approaches, encourage the Iraqi government to reduce barriers that inhibit GBV case referrals and sexual assault care in Department of Health facilities, and invest in expanding the mental health and psychosocial support practitioner workforce.
- To ensure that collective efforts are sustainable, the donor community must invest in the structures and people who are best placed to champion a peaceful and inclusive Iraq: communities, local civil society, and government institutions. Donors should support INGOs to continue and scale ongoing capacity strengthening efforts with communities and government institutions, and complement our investments by channelling at least 25% of funding for Iraq to local CSOs and by removing barriers that prevent INGOs from partnering with local organizations, in line with commitments made in the Grand Bargain.
- Ensure the Iraqi people are kept at the heart of policies and resources. As undertaken by DFID and the EU, all donor governments should clearly define a comprehensive strategy for their activities in Iraq moving forward, underpinned by a people-centered approach which is developed in close consultation with civil society. The expertise and role of civil society and the Iraqi people should be integrated into the conference through comprehensive pre-consultations, representative participation at the event, and speaking roles for international and local civil society actors and affected communities. Finally, any funding mechanisms developed for the conference should be directly accessible by civil society and in order to meet the ongoing humanitarian and protection needs, the 2018 HRP should be fully resourced alongside any additional funds pledged at the conference.