Stabilizing Iraq

UNDP and the Government of Iraq are making the recovery of cities liberated from ISIL a priority, focusing on restoring public infrastructure. More than 1.5 million displaced Iraqis have already returned to their homes. Photo: Ivor Prickett/UNHCR/2016


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) and the operations to retake this territory have resulted in the displacement of almost five million Iraqis.

The condition of host communities is also deteriorating rapidly. After more than 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 eleven million Iraqis currently require some form of humanitarian assistance.

UNDP’s response

At the request of the Prime Minister of Iraq, and with strong support from leading members of the Coalition to Degrade and Defeat ISIL, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization (FFIS) in June 2015 to help rapidly stabilize newly retaken areas.  

The Facility has been endorsed to operate in 28 areas selected by the Stabilization Steering Committee, which is co-chaired by the Secretary General of the Cabinet.

The aim is to help restore confidence in the leading role of the Government in newly retaken areas and give populations a sense of progress and forward momentum. The approach is swift. Within days of a city being declared safe, teams conduct damage assessments and agree on priorities with local authorities. These include: a) repairing essential public infrastructure including water systems and electricity grids; b) employing youth on work brigades to remove rubble, open transport routes and revitalize the city; c) providing cash grants to small businesses to reopen, and d) rehabilitating schools, health centres and municipal buildings.

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.

In Mosul, the largest stabilization project to date, more than 300 projects are already underway, including the rehabilitation of key water treatment plants, electrical substations, schools and health care facilities.


The impact of the Facility has been significant. Since the start of the conflict in 2014, more than 1.8 million displaced Iraqis have returned to their homes.

The Facility is currently implementing more than 1,100 projects valuing over US$600 million. UNDP, which 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, helped jump-start social and economic recovery in 21 areas. These efforts have:

  • Improved water supply 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
  • Rebuilt schools for more than 120,000 boys and girls, who are now back in classrooms.

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