UNDP Around the world

Stabilizing Iraq

Iraqi refugees
UNDP and the Government of Iraq are making the recovery of cities liberated from ISIL a priority, focusing on restoring public infrastructure. More than 1.6 million displaced Iraqis have already returned to their homes. Photo: UNDP/Holly Pickett


The humanitarian, security and development crisis in Iraq is amongst the most volatile and severe in the region. The occupation of approximately one-third of Iraq’s territory by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) resulted in the displacement of 3.3 million Iraqis. In addition, some 250,000 Syrians fled conflict at home and sought refuge in Iraq.

The condition of host communities is also deteriorating rapidly. After three years of crisis and economic stagnation, more people are vulnerable now than at any time during the recent conflict. Families that generously opened their homes and shared resources with displaced relatives and neighbours are plunging into poverty. At least ten million Iraqis currently require some form of humanitarian assistance.

UNDP’s response

In mid-2015, UNDP and the Government of Iraq agreed to make the recovery of towns and cities liberated from ISIL a priority, focusing on swift actions to help restore public infrastructure, put people to work, jump-start local economies, boost Government capacity, and accelerate reconciliation. 

The Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization (FFIS) was formally established by UNDP in June of 2015. While the Government of Iraq sets the Stabilization priorities,  as  the manager of the Facility, UNDP ensures the rapid implementation of cost-effective projects that local authorities identify as crucial for the first stages of stabilization. This initiative works closely with UNDP’s Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP) and with the Local Area Development Programme (LADP). By the end of 2016, more than 350 projects valuing over US$300 million were restarting critical infrastructure, public services, and stimulating the local economy.

The Facility is now active in over 20 newly-liberated areas designated “high priority” by the government of Iraq. 

Thousands of people are being put to work to upgrade public buildings, open roads, repair infrastructure and renovate parks. Businesses are receiving cash grants to reopen their doors, and schools and clinics are being rehabilitated. Destitute families are receiving help to rebuild damaged houses. 

The impact of the Facility has been clear and has had a strong impact on returns. Since the start of the conflict in 2014, more than 1.5 million displaced Iraqis have returned to their homes. In Ramadi, nearly 350,000 have returned to the city. In Fallujah, 170,000 people are home, and every day, hundreds more are coming. Almost all of the pre-conflict population of Tikrit and Al Dour have returned home. 

In March 2016 UNDP established a second intervention, the Funding Facility for Expanded Stabilization (FFES), geared at supporting medium-scale projects that generate large numbers of jobs and consolidate corridors between liberated cities and districts.

The results

UNDP, under the leadership of the Iraqi government, the provincial authorities, and in coordination with international partners, has helped jump-start social and economic recovery in over 20 areas with a number of concrete results to date: 

  • Improved water for more than 800,000 people
  • Restored electricity for more than 500,000 people
  • Rehabilitated 52 health clinics serving more than 1.4 million people
  • More than 120,000 boys and girls returned to school in rehabilitated classrooms
  • Helped nearly 1.5 million displaced Iraqis return home

UNDP has been present in Iraq since 1976, and is committed to supporting the Government and people of Iraq during their transition towards reconciliation, reform and stability. 

Our stories

Getting back on track in Iraq
UNDP global
Getting back on track in Iraq

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better future iraq
UNDP in Iraq
“I can see a better future ahead...” Improving women’s livelihoods in Ninewah, Iraq

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Young Iraqi painter Rami al-Tamimi: “I draw energy from my disability”
UNDP in Iraq
Young Iraqi painter Rami al-Tamimi: “I draw energy from my disability”

Disabled at birth and born to an art loving family in Basra Southern Iraq, Rami al-Tamimi, now 23, has grown into a fine artist. A spinal birth defect has affected his ability to walk. Yet, to Rami, the ancient city of Basra located on the Shatt al-Arab waterway. more 

Tikrit: A stabilization success following liberation from ISIL
UNDP in Iraq
Tikrit: A stabilization success following liberation from ISIL

Tikrit was the first city where the Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization (FFIS) was field-tested. Abandoned by its residents, the city was liberated in April 2015 after heavy fighting. more 

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