On the 13th of June NCCI convened a Country Directors meeting at its office in Erbil. Country director meetings are meant to be an open forum for NGOs to discuss current issues related to humanitarian operations in country at a decision-maker level.
The meeting started with an introduction by UN OCHA’s new Erbil head of office Susan Le Roux, who briefed the attendees on the submitted application for Central Emergency Response funding (CERF) to support the Fallujah relief effort, the next steps towards the disbursement of the dedicated national NGO allocation component of the Iraqi Humanitarian Pooled Fund (IHPF) and senior staff changes within OCHA.
A representative from WFP then presented information on WFP’s contingency planning exercise for a potential failure of the Mosul dam and talked about the Logistics Capacity Assessment which is currently being led by the Logistics Cluster.
Following these information updates the attending NGOs discussed visa and registration issues faced by NGOs operating in central and southern Iraq. It was mentioned that the procedure for visa applications for NGO staff had become more difficult, adding another layer of bureaucracy to an already difficult lengthy process. NGOs discussed the best way forward involving the need for increased advocacy with donors, UN officials including the Humanitarian Coordinator and government officials.
The attendees then moved on to discuss challenges faced with the humanitarian coordination structure in Iraq, highlighting issues with the functioning of the cluster system split between increasing needs in Anbar and a comparative lack of actors to respond there compared to the situation in the northern parts of the country.
NCCI then presented updates from the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), including the situation of people displaced from Fallujah and the shortfall in funding for humanitarian operations in Iraq. Finally, NCCI introduced the Ninewa Information Sharing Forum (NISF), an initiative co-chaired by NCCI and the Rise Foundation, which aims to improve information sharing and coordination among NGOs operating in Ninewa.