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Inadequate and inequitable: water scarcity and displacement in Iraq

November 26, 2023

Iraq's climate is changing faster than people can adapt. With each passing summer, new records are logged: record high temperatures, record low water levels. Between May and October, the heat scorches all that is dead and sears everything that lives. During the day, the sun forces people inside; in the evening, the heat lingers in cities that feel like the inside of a hair dryer.All this is happening in a country rebuilding from 20 years of conflict; to 45 million people looking to find a way to move forward with their lives. While all in Iraq are affected, some face the summer with much less support than others. An estimated 1.2 million Iraqis are still displaced, in addition to the almost 300,000 Syrian refugees hosted in Federal and Kurdistan Region of Iraq. While some internally displaced people live in homes, most live in makeshift shelters, often in airless tents at the mercy of the extreme weather. Across the country, year after year, the heat compounds their suffering, threatens to undo painstaking gains in livelihoods and food security, and makes climate change impossible to ignore in policy and action around displacement. Starting in 2021, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has issued a yearly report on the impact of drought in Iraq across four broad themes: water security and governance, income and food insecurity, social tension, and drought and displacement. Increasingly, our analysis indicates that extreme weather is, among other things, negatively impacting crop yields, access and functionality of market systems, exacerbating social schisms, and precipitating risks of secondary displacement. Analysis by our partners reinforce many of these findings: the United Nations estimates upwards of 130,000 Iraqis have been displaced by effects of climate change; and Mercy Corps estimates up to 40 percent of arable land might be lost in the next few years in the southern parts of the country due to desertification.

Inadequate and inequitable: water scarcity and displacement in Iraq (Arabic Version)

November 26, 2023

 Iraq's climate is changing faster than people can adapt. With each passing summer, new records are logged: record high temperatures, record low water levels. Between May and October, the heat scorches all that is dead and sears everything that lives. During the day, the sun forces people inside; in the evening, the heat lingers in cities that feel like the inside of a hair dryer.All this is happening in a country rebuilding from 20 years of conflict; to 45 million people looking to find a way to move forward with their lives. While all in Iraq are affected, some face the summer with much less support than others. An estimated 1.2 million Iraqis are still displaced, in addition to the almost 300,000 Syrian refugees hosted in Federal and Kurdistan Region of Iraq. While some internally displaced people live in homes, most live in makeshift shelters, often in airless tents at the mercy of the extreme weather. Across the country, year after year, the heat compounds their suffering, threatens to undo painstaking gains in livelihoods and food security, and makes climate change impossible to ignore in policy and action around displacement. Starting in 2021, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has issued a yearly report on the impact of drought in Iraq across four broad themes: water security and governance, income and food insecurity, social tension, and drought and displacement. Increasingly, our analysis indicates that extreme weather is, among other things, negatively impacting crop yields, access and functionality of market systems, exacerbating social schisms, and precipitating risks of secondary displacement. Analysis by our partners reinforce many of these findings: the United Nations estimates upwards of 130,000 Iraqis have been displaced by effects of climate change; and Mercy Corps estimates up to 40 percent of arable land might be lost in the next few years in the southern parts of the country due to desertification.

Ready to Learn, Eager to Earn: A youth-led market and wellbeing assessment in Rohingya camps

July 28, 2023

Without access to quality, relevant education, or dignified work, Rohingya refugee youth face bleak and limited futures. Within the camp setting, they are unable to meet their immediate basic needs and are at high risk of violations of their rights, wellbeing, and security.The Rohingya community is about to mark six years since its exodus from Myanmar. The state of Rohingya youth remains a blur: what are the barriers related to livelihood opportunities and social engagement? What are the skill-development needs for Rohingya youth residing in the refugee camps of Cox's Bazar?

Housing, land and property in the context of climate change, disasters and displacement

July 10, 2023

This brief presents the Norwegian Refugee Council's knowledge and experience in addressing housing, land and property (HLP) issues associated with climate change, disasters and displacement, including those often aggravated by conflict. It is not a comprehensive catalogue of HLP issues, nor does it present the full breadth of NRC's operations. Rather, it reflects the organisation's experience in delivering information counselling and legal assistance (ICLA), shelter and settlements and other programmes, and draws on its role as lead and co-lead of inter-agency coordination. The brief documents examples of NRC's operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mozambique, Somalia and South Sudan, countries also identified for the work of the Special Adviser.

Use of Money or Value Transfer Services by Non-Governmental Organisations: A legitimate tool of last resort in response to bank derisking

June 9, 2023

The worsening phenomenon of bank derisking is decreasing the number of banking channels available for humanitarian financial transfers into some countries. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) now rely on value transfer services as a tool of last resort to make financial transfers into countries suffering from bank derisking but challenges exist using these mechanisms.This report is the second in a series examining potential solutions to bank derisking. It is based on the outcome of an expert dialogue held in December 2022 on the use of value transfer services by NGOs as a legitimate tool of last resort to make payments in countries suffering from bank derisking.

The World's Most Neglected Displacement Crises 2022

June 1, 2023

Each year, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) publishes a report of the ten most neglected displacement crises in the world. The purpose is to focus on the plight of people whose suffering rarely makes international headlines, who receive little or no assistance, and who never become the centre of attention for international diplomacy efforts. This is the list for 2022.

GRID 2023: Internal displacement and food security

May 11, 2023

IDMC's Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID) is the world's leading source of data and analysis on internal displacement. This year's edition includes a special focus on the complex relationships between disasters, conflict and violence, food security and internal displacement.

Hope and uncertainty: A needs assessment of Ukrainian youth refugees in Romania and Moldova

May 4, 2023

Youth are a significant proportion of refugees fleeing from Ukraine, particularly female youth. In Romania and Moldova, more than half of the refugees there are between the ages of 18 and 59.The findings we discovered together show great needs amid strong hope for a secure future. Language was found to be an overarching need that affects every aspect of youth's lives. Economic support, through secure jobs and stable integration, are the most cited need. Ukrainian youth appreciated the safety of their host communities but still live with anxiety over their futures. Feelings of isolation and distance from family and friends displaced by the conflict contribute to the mental strain youth feel. Youth also have practical suggestions for how to serve their needs, calling for language support and community centers where they can connect meaningfully with their peers and communities.

Barriers to Afghanistan’s critical private sector recovery

April 5, 2023

Afghanistan has undergone a series of complex political, economic and social changes since the return to power of the Taliban in August 2021, whereby the plight of the Afghan people has deteriorated into an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. The Taliban's stance towards women, including restrictions on female education and bans on female aid workers, have posed additional challenges to the Afghan people and the country's economic prospects, as well as to international donors and aid organisations. Since the Taliban's resumption of power, international actors have pursued policies of political and economic isolation towards Afghanistan that have contributed to the current economic crisis and the populations' reliance on humaniatrian assistance. To date, most research and policy efforts have centred on the humanitarian catastrophe and the plight of women and girls. Less attention has been placed on constraints facing trade with Afghanistan, including those negatively impacting supply chains of essential goods that are neceassry to address the basic needs of Afghan people. This report seeks to fill a knowledge gap on some of the key challenges facing Afghan trade, especially relating to food and essential goods needed for basic survival. It is based on 25 anonymised interviews carried out in mid-2022 with a range of private sector, development and banking actors operating in, or with, Afghanistan. It explores challenges associated with international targeted sanctions; financial sector derisking; shifts in domestic regulations; implications of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022; and wider trade and economic constraints. It also aims to showcase best-practice and coping strategies employed by the private sector operating in Afghanistan and generate a series of policy recommendations based on input from Afghan companies and those operating in the wider region.

Ensuring access to water for crisis-affected populations

March 21, 2023

When the world committed to achieving universal and equitable access to water as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the promise to Leave No One Behind was recognised as both an ethical responsibility and a key criteria for success.Five years later, however, individuals living in fragile and conflict-affected areas remained less than half as likely to have access to safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene services than those living in stable settings. Taking action to improve access to water and sanitation in fragile contexts is vitally important. It is essential in reducing the prevalence of water-borne illnesses, which continue to result in millions of preventable deaths each year. It helps prevent the emergence of conflict arising from water shortages and associated disputes, and enables populations to maintain agricultural livelihoods that may provide an alternative to joining armed groups.

Hidden Hardship: 1 Year Living in Forced Displacement for Refugees from Ukraine

February 21, 2023

One year after the escalation of the international armed conflict in Ukraine, more than 8 million refugees from Ukraine reside in Europe, the largest single displacement in the region since the Second World War. The majority of people who fled Ukraine and were able to cross into the EU and other parts of Europe are women, children and older persons, largely due to Ukrainian legislation restricting men eligible for military conscription from leaving the country. For many people it has been nearly 12 months since they left behind their homes, lives, family and friends, although people have been leaving Ukraine throughout the last year and continue to do so. The three neighbouring countries Poland, Romania and Republic of Moldova, have been at the forefront of receiving refugees fleeing Ukraine. Forced displacement is likely to continue as the war shows no sign of waning. This raises the question of how people are coping and what kind of support is required.In order to answer these questions, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Upinion conducted an online survey in January 2023 with refugees from Ukraine living in Poland, Romania and the Republic of Moldova to hear what experiences they have had, what challenges they have faced and what their return intentions are.

Israel Tightens Gaza Blockade, Civilians Bear the Brunt

July 27, 2018

In July 2018, the Government of Israel tightened restrictions on goods and materials entering and leaving Gaza, noting that the measures were in response to Hamas sending incendiary kites and balloons into Israel. All goods were banned from exiting and many vital materials banned from entering. These restrictions further tighten the blockade – in place for 12 years – which severely limits or prevents the entry and exit of materials to Gaza. Over half the population of Gaza lives under the poverty line, and one million Palestinians in Gaza don't have enough food to feed their families.This joint agency briefing calls for:An immediate end to the blockade and opening crossings into and out of GazaAll parties to refrain from using civilians in Gaza as leverage for political gainThe UN and the international community to support the lifting of restrictions and a long-term strategy for economic development in Gaza.