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NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq (NCCI) Operating in High Risk Environment NGOs intervention adapted to insecurity in Iraq: Overview & Challenges July.

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Presentation on theme: "NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq (NCCI) Operating in High Risk Environment NGOs intervention adapted to insecurity in Iraq: Overview & Challenges July."— Presentation transcript:

1 NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq (NCCI) Operating in High Risk Environment NGOs intervention adapted to insecurity in Iraq: Overview & Challenges July 2010 / ECOSOC New York

2 Operating context for NGOs in Iraq Ongoing Instability and Insecurity Despite the important increase in security over the past few years when compared to the levels of 2006 and 2007, violence still affects the country and has a considerable impact on civilian lives. High political instability which does not allow the Iraqi government to address crucial challenges, necessary for the country stabilization, such as: - The formation of a new government - The ongoing withdrawal of foreign troops - The political disagreement over the disputed territories - The administration and ownership of oil resources - The disarmament of armed groups and militias -The integrations of some of those groups into the Iraqi security forces Without addressing seriously those concerns, stability & security would not be guaranteed

3 Operating context for NGOs in Iraq Risk of confusion: humanitarian/militaries roles Most of the NGOs in Iraq regard the combination of military and humanitarian roles within the US forces as a serious operational constraint bringing confusion in people minds. The misperception of being affiliated with the US Forces in Iraq undermines their acceptance by local communities and limits their ability to respond to humanitarian needs NGOs are careful to keep their distance from the military forces so as not to appear affiliated with, or co-opted by, an unpopular party to the conflict. However the perception of many Iraqis is that western aid agencies are affiliated with what they regard as the occupation.

4 Operating context for NGOs in Iraq Limited UN operations in the field The international communitys efforts to address humanitarian needs & improve the situation in Iraq have also been hindered by the limited presence & involvement of the UN in the country 7 years after Canal Hotel bombing, UN OCHA Iraq main office is still based in Amman & lack viable presence in Iraq - especially at community level. This has critical implications for its ability to accurately assess humanitarian needs, coordinate & monitor projects on the ground For many NGOs, the UN still have serious difficulties today to ensure humanitarian coordination in Iraq because of security challenges and major restrictions.

5 Modus operandi of NGOs in Iraq NGOs situation in Iraq 1.Today, there are around 70 INGOs working in Iraq directly or indirectly (through Iraqi NGO partners) 2. In 2010, it is believed that there are between 10,000 and 12,000 NNGOs of whom 6000 are registered at the NGO Directorate.

6 Modus operandi of NGOs in Iraq International NGOs INGOs have been playing a significant role in providing humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people (some have been working in Iraq since the mid-1990s) Their engagement in Iraq is absolutely necessary for several reasons: -There are still huge humanitarian and development needs in Iraq that the government does not yet have the capacity to effectively address. - They build the capacity of the Iraqi NGOs through partnership in the field. - They involve community members in a way that promotes their ownership over decision making. This is fundamental to ensure an adequate and sustainable recovery process. Most INGOs do not use armed protection, preferring to utilize a security model that relies on seeking acceptance & support of the communities where they work.

7 Modus operandi of NGOs in Iraq The Iraqi NGO community Iraqi NGOs made a significant contribution to delivering humanitarian and development assistance. Most Iraqi NGOs were established when International NGOs withdraw from Iraq as security conditions began to deteriorate (2003-2005)

8 Modus operandi of NGOs in Iraq The Iraqi NGO community With little or no prior experience, Iraqi NGOs accepted high levels of risk and adapted to deteriorating conditions and changing needs. Most programs addressed needs related both to post-2003 conflict and long-term deprivation from basic services dating back to the Iran-Iraq War. However, as the Iraqi NGOs still lack capacity and experience, the supportive role of INGOs remains essential to empower the Iraqi civil society to effectively respond to the needs of their communities.

9 Modus operandi of NGOs in Iraq How do NGOs Operate in Iraq Over the past years, NGOs had learned how to adapt and re-adapt their operations to the changing context and were providing effective assistance and protection even in areas where insecurity had persisted or worsened. Like all key stakeholders involved in aid delivery in Iraq, NGOs also face multiple obstacles in responding to the needs. However the key comparative advantages that they have are their streamlined approaches, and their ability to react quickly to respond to the needs, to develop strategies and ensure sustainability by: - Adapting their modus operandi and activities to the volatile context; - Building trust and acceptance with the communities they serve; - Involving communities in the processes of deciding upon, investing in, implementing and maintaining projects that meet their most pressing needs.

10 Modus operandi of NGOs in Iraq NGOs perception of security Staff security without access achieve little or no humanitarian impact Several large, well guarded humanitarian agencies have maintained a presence in security bubbles due to continuing security risks. Agencies operating from enclosed compounds or those that move under armed protection lose meaningful access to communities in need because of the way their affiliations with such security actors are perceived by the population in much of Iraq. Access without safety is unsustainable Some organizations have succeeded in gaining temporary access to volatile crisis areas then have lost it suddenly sometimes tragically to the point where they have been forced to cease operations, release their staff, and close programs.

11 Key elements of success for operating in Iraq Neutrality, Clarify roles between NGOs & Military, Impartiality Do no Harm, Experienced Staff, Flexibility, Mobility, Keeping Reasonable size Networking and Community Participation, Capacity Building, Local Ownership Networks, Needs Assessments, Needs based Programs and Field Presence

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