In early March the Director of Operations of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) John Ging visited Iraq. In preparation for John Ging’s visit, NCCI’s Advocacy Working Group (AWG) prepared a letter, pulling together key issues identified by the NGO community operating in Iraq. The main points presented in the letter included the need for a strengthened cluster system and humanitarian coordination in general, the importance of civil-military coordination, adherence to humanitarian principles and finally alternative ways to sustainably fund humanitarian operations in Iraq.
Grasping the opportunity to further stress the issues brought forward in the letter NCCI then hosted a meeting with John Ging and NGOs operating in Iraq. The meeting took place at NCCI’s Erbil office on the 15th of March and was attended by representatives from 23 local and international NGOs. Besides the issues mentioned in the letter, the attendants also discussed the move of the UN coordination system to Baghdad and its implications on NGO operations and humanitarian coordination in the country. Another important point of concern was access to IDPs in contested or hard to reach areas like Kirkuk, Anbar and Ninewa. The meeting concluded with a review of how humanitarian operations in Iraq are currently funded, highlighting shortcomings and identifying possible solutions.