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The Decade of Defiance & Resistance: Reflections On Arab Revolutionary Uprisings And Responses From 2010 – 2020

May 26, 2021

The dynamics fostered by the wars and revolutions plaguing many Arab states today represent the most consequential national transformations since World War I, culminating in a period of civilian defiance and resistance that was especially distinct between 2010 – 2020. Despite being pauperized by predatory governments, citizens have challenged their heavily militarized states, emerging to fight battles that have been brewing for decades. Both the protesting citizens in the streets and the hardline governments that try to blunt their momentum are highly motivated. The outcome of these historic confrontations remains unclear. Yet, it is already possible to identify the causes, actors, motivations, and tactics on both sides that have fueled the waves of rebellion and repression over the past decade. Since the start of the 2010 – 2011 uprisings across the Arab world – the so-called "Arab Spring" – long-term transformations in the mindsets and actions of citizens have emerged that have the potential to catalyze political change across the region for decades to come, shaping political relationships between the governed and governors.

Public Sector Reform in Iraq

August 3, 2020

The intended goal of this paper is to help guide policymakers, international financial institutions and development agencies in their design and implementation of public sector reform programmes in Iraq. It is worth emphasizing that Iraq's predicament is by no means exceptional, and this paper uses specific and relevant experiences from other countries to illustrate how to overcome obstacles to reform.

The Displacement Continuum: The Relationship Between Internal Displacement and Cross-border Movement in Seven Countries

June 1, 2020

The twentieth of June is World Refugee Day, dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees. There are nearly twice as many internally displaced people (IDPs) as there are refugees, but there is no International Day of Internal Displacement.To bring attention to the invisible majority of displaced people, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) is investigating the relationship between internal displacement and cross-border movement. Based on primary research conducted with refugees, returning refugees and IDPs from Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Myanmar, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen, we arrive at the following key findings:Cross-border movements are often a symptom of the failure to protect and assist IDPs in their country of origin. More than half of the refugees and returning refugees surveyed were internally displaced before leaving their country of origin. Many suffered multiple internal displacements and were unable to find safety in their country of origin.Restrictive migration policies combine with the high cost of irregular migration to limit opportunities for IDPs seeking refuge abroad. Instead, IDPs are exposed to repeated incidents of internal displacement. Nearly 47 per cent of IDPs surveyed were displaced multiple times. Border closures resulting from COVID-19 act as a further barrier to international protection.Difficult conditions abroad can push refugees to return prematurely to their countries of origin. Family reunification is the most powerful motivation behind returns, but refugees who are unable to make ends meet in their host country may feel they have no choice but to return to insecurity in their country of origin. Under such circumstances, return assistance runs the risk of encouraging premature returns.Refugees who return prematurely to their country of origin often find themselves in situations of internal displacement. Over three-quarters of returning refugees surveyed were living outside their area of origin, often because of continued insecurity and housing destruction. Returning refugees and IDPs face similar challenges in terms of accessing durable solutions to their displacement.

Economic Empowerment for Women Affected by Conflict

May 1, 2019

Since 1993, Women for Women International has served more than 479,000 marginalised women affected by conflict. Through our yearlong programme marginalised women are supported to: earn and save money; influence decisions; improve their well-being; and connect to networks for support. We see promising results in our monitoring and evaluation efforts.Based on our evidence and complemented by global studies, we highlight four key, interlinked components that are necessary for effectively supporting women's economic empowerment in conflict:1. Work with men to address discriminatory gender norms. All members of society suffer from patriarchal attitudes and have a role to play in promoting gender equality – these are not just "women's issues".2. Holistic and integrated programming. Women's needs and experiences in conflict are complex and interlinked. Solely economic interventions alone have not proven to yield long-term benefits.3. Build women's economic knowledge and skills. This is vital to supporting them to build agency and influence decisions, increase their income and increase their resilience to economic shocks.4. Informal and formal support networks. In the absence of government and financial services, networks are key to supporting women to access financial support, particularly for savings and income.In conclusion, this paper makes five recommendations for international governments and donors to effectively deliver on international commitments and support marginalised women's economic empowerment in conflict-affected contexts:1. Urgently increase funding for women's rights organisations.2. Support economic empowerment programmes that include men in their programme design.3. Target the most marginalised women.4. Support holistic and integrated programming.5. Listen to the needs of marginalised women and actively include them in the design, implementation and review of economic empowerment programmes.

Wastewater Treatment Plants in Rapid Mass Displacement Situations

November 7, 2017

This rapid review report has identified the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) options used in emergency settings, with decentralised wastewater treatment systems (DEWATS) and mobile wastewater treatment units performing most effectively and with minimal costs. Examples are taken from refugee camps and internally displaced people (IDP) settlements due to the Iraq war, the Israeli-Palestine conflict, and the civil wars in Syria and Sudan. WWTP options used in Finland, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Sudan and Turkey are discussed. Lessons learned from China and suggestions for the Rohingya crisis are also included.

Innovative WASH Options in Situations of Severe Overcrowding

October 20, 2017

A rapid review of the literature has found a selection of innovative WASH options available for situations of severe population overcrowding and limited spaces. Case study information was collated from African, Middle Eastern, South Asian and Caribbean countries. As requested, a number of experts were consulted for their opinion where there was a lack of project evaluations or grey literature.

The Case for Improved Water Resource Management in Kirkuk Governorate, Iraq

August 11, 2017

Iraq faces severe pressures on its water resources following years of conflict and under-investment in infrastructure. This research focuses on the state of water resources in Kirkuk governorate in the north of the country and identifies the main challenges that need to be addressed. The research report and accompanying briefing note recommend a collaborative approach to water management between government, INGOs in the WASH sector and local communities and water users (including those involved in agriculture, industry and electricity generation). It is hoped that the recommendations will inform approaches to water management across the country as a whole and in the wider Middle East region. 

Gender and Conflict Analysis in ISIS Affected Communities of Iraq

May 30, 2017

This gender and conflict analysis of ISIS-affected communities of Iraq aims to improve understanding of gender dynamics in the context of conflict and displacement. The report sets out to identify the differential impact of ISIS occupation on women, girls, men and boys in order to explore shifts in prevailing gender norms held by study participants in Anbar, Salah Al Din and Nineveh governorates of Iraq. The objective is to enhance the understanding of the social pressures women and men experience when aiming to conform to context-specific gendered expectations of masculinity and femininity, in order to derive concrete recommendations for gender-responsive and conflict-sensitive humanitarian and recovery programming. 

Women's Participation and Leadership in Lebanon, Jordan and Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Moving from individual to collective change

March 31, 2016

This report sets out the findings of a seven-month qualitative study commissioned by Oxfam and conducted in Lebanon, Jordan and Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) by researchers from the American University of Beirut. The aim of the study was to explore the role customary institutions play in maintaining gender inequality, and how changes in individual perceptions and attitudes on gender equality can lead to changes in the social and political spheres. Stakeholders and focus group participants discussed their views on a range of issues including women's economic participation; the role of media and education in driving change; religious interpretation; and what gender equality means in practice.

Pre-Crisis Market Analysis: Credit, drinking water and wheat flour market systems in Tilkaif and Shikhan districts, Ninewa Plains, Northern Iraq

March 29, 2016

Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, was captured by ISIS in June 2014 and remains under their control. The Iraqi army has vowed to recapture Mosul and the speculation is that a counter-offensive is imminent - a military operation which could have dramatic humanitarian implications. A large influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing towards the Ninewa plains would have an impact on markets in the area.All humanitarian interventions have an impact on markets, and understanding market dynamics is fundamental to (1) doing no harm, (2) increasing efficiency and effectiveness and (3) strengthening both emergency response and livelihoods promotion interventions.This report describes an exercise carried out in February 2016 by Oxfam and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) using Pre-Crisis Market Analysis (PCMA) to inform preparedness and emergency response interventions by understanding the market systems that are critical to supporting the basic needs and livelihoods recovery needs of populations affected by displacement in the Ninewa plains. The full report is available at

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Global Concern

February 3, 2016

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a human rights issue that affects girls and women worldwide. As such, its elimination is a global concern. In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a milestone resolution calling on the international community to intensify efforts to end the practice. More recently, in September 2015, the global community agreed to a new set of development goals -- the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) -- which includes a target under Goal 5 to eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and FGM/C, by the year 2030. Both the resolution and the SDG framework signify the political will of the international community and national partners to work together to accelerate action towards a total, and final, end to the practice in all continents of the world. More and better data are needed to measure progress towards this common goal.

Choosing to Return? Prospects for durable solutions in Iraq

December 22, 2015

In the aftermath of the rapid advance of Daesh through central parts of Iraq, a humanitarian crisis of significant proportion remains. Since March 2015, over 458,000 people have returned to their places of origin. Many have been driven by government guarantees of improved security coupled with a lack of access to land, food and income generating activities in displacement sites. They have returned under precarious conditions, without the support required to ensure progress towards durable solutions, and they rely on assistance to recover and rebuild. Efforts must be made to ensure that returns are safe, dignified and sustainable. This paper outlines the current situation and provides recommendations for the Government of Iraq, UN agencies, donors and NGOs.